Stories & Reflections
By Paulo Coelho
Today is the last story of this book of mine called “Fathers, Sons and Grandsons”.
As promised here’s the illustration made by Christina Oiticica for you to download.
Fathers, Sons and Grandsons ( image version)
fathers-sons-and-grandsons.pdf ( pdf version )
In a bar in Buenos Aires
I am with the Venezuelan writer Dulce Rojas, drinking coffee in Buenos Aires; we are discussing the idea of peace and how removed it has become from the human heart. Dulce then tells me the following story.
A king offered a large prize to the artist who could best represent the idea of peace. A lot of painters sent their works to the palace, depicting woods at dusk, quiet rivers, children playing on the sand, rainbows in the sky, drops of dew on a rose petal.
The king examined everything that was sent to him, but ended up choosing only two works.
The first showed a tranquil lake that perfectly mirrored the imposing mountains surrounding it and the blue sky above. The sky was dotted with small white clouds and, if you looked closely, in the left-hand corner of the lake there stood a small house with one window open and smoke rising from the chimney – the sign that a frugal but tasty supper was being prepared.
The second painting was also of mountains, but these were bleak and stony with sharp, sheer peaks. Above the mountains, the sky was implacably dark, and from the heavy clouds fell lightning, hail and torrential rain.
The painting was totally out of harmony with the other submissions. However, a closer look revealed a bird’s nest lodged in a crack in one of those inhospitable rocks. In the midst of the violent roaring of the storm, a swallow was calmly sitting on its nest.
When he gathered his court together, the king chose the second picture as the one that best expressed the idea of peace. He explained:
‘Peace is not what we find in a place that is free of noise, problems and hard work; peace is what allows us to preserve the calm in our hearts, even in the most adverse situations. That is its true and only meaning.
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