Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

The suspicion that can transform a human being

Author: Paulo Coelho

By Paulo Coelho

There is a German folk tale about a man who woke up to find that his axe had disappeared. Furious and convinced that his neighbour had stolen it, he spent the rest of the day observing him.

He saw that he acted like a thief, that he had a thief’s furtive way of walking and that he spoke in whispers like a thief trying to conceal his crime. He was so sure that his suspicions were correct that he decided to go back into the house, change his clothes and go straight down to the police station.

As soon as he went indoors, however, he found his axe, which his wife had moved from its usual place. The man went outside again and again studied his neighbour, and he saw that he walked, spoke and behaved just like any other honest man.

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