Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

The cloud and the dune

Author: Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho

“Everyone knows that the lives of clouds are very active, but very short,” writes Bruno Ferrero. And that brings us to another story:

A young cloud was born in the middle of a great storm in the Mediterranean Sea. But it hardly had time to grow there; a strong wind pushed all the clouds towards Africa.

As soon as they arrived on the continent, the climate changed: a warm sun shone in the sky, and down below the golden sand of the Sahara desert spread into the distance. The wind continued to push them towards the forests in the south, since it hardly ever rains in the desert.

However, just as it is with young people, so with young clouds: this one decided to break away from its parents and older friends, to see the world.

– What are you doing? – complained the wind. – The entire desert is exactly the same! Come back to the group, and let’s go to the center of Africa, where there are beautiful mountains and trees!

But the young cloud, a rebel by nature, did not obey; little by little, it lowered its altitude, until it was able to float on a gentle, generous breeze down near the golden sands. After wandering all over the place, it noticed that one of the dunes was smiling at it.

It was because the dune was also young, recently formed by the wind which had just passed. Straight away, the cloud fell in love with its golden hair.

– Good morning – said the cloud. – What is it like living down there?

– I have the company of the other dunes, the sun, the wind, and the caravans which pass by from time to time. Sometimes it is very hot, but it is bearable. And what is living up there like?

– There is also the wind and the sun, but the advantage is, I can wander across the sky and get to know everything.

– For me life is short – said the dune. – When the wind returns from the forests, I will disappear.

– And does that make you sad?

– It gives me the impression that I am of no use to anyone.

– I feel the same way. As soon as another wind comes, I will go south and become rain; however, that’s my destiny.

The dune hesitated for a moment, before saying:

– Did you know that, down here in the desert, we call the rain Paradise?

– I didn’t know I could become something so important – said the proud cloud.

– I’ve heard several legends told by old dunes. They say that, after the rain, we are covered in herbs and flowers. But I’d never know what that is like, for in the desert it only rains very rarely.

This time it was the cloud which hesitated. But then it started to smile joyfully:

– If you like, I can cover you with rain. Although I’ve only just arrived, I am in love with you, and would like to stay here forever.

– When I first saw you up in the sky, I too fell in love – said the dune. – but if you turn your lovely white hair into rain, you will die.

– Love never dies – said the dune. – It transforms; and I want to show you Paradise.

And so it began to caress the dune with droplets; they remained together like this for a long time, until a rainbow appeared.

The next day, the small dune was covered in flowers. Other clouds passing towards central Africa, thought that must be part of the forest they were searching for, and poured down more rain. Twenty years later, the dune had become an oasis, which refreshed travelers under the shade of its trees.

And all because, one day, a loving cloud hadn’t been afraid to give up its life in the name of love.

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