Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

Stories of kings and wise men

Author: Paulo Coelho



Drawing by A. Durer

The kingdom of this world

An old hermit was once invited to visit the court of the most powerful king of those times.

– I envy such a saintly man, who is content with so little – said the ruler.

– I envy Your Majesty, who is content with even less that I – responded the hermit.

– How can you say such a thing, if this entire country belongs to me? – said the offended king.

– For precisely that reason. I have the music of the celestial spheres, I have the rivers and mountains of the whole world, I have the moon and the sun, because I have God in my soul. Your Majesty, on the other hand, has only this kingdom.

The ancestor’s bones

There was a king of Spain who was very proud of his ancestors, and who was known for his cruelty to the weak.

One time, he was walking with his advisers across a field in Aragon, where – years before – he had lost his father during a battle, when he found a holy man searching a large pile of bones.

– What are you doing there? – asked the king.

– Honored greetings, Your Majesty – said the holy man. – When I heard that the king of Spain was coming this way, I resolved to recover the bones of your late father and present them to you. But however hard I search, I cannot find them: they are exactly the same as the bones of country folk, the poor, beggars and slaves.

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