Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

Breaking the pact with defeat

Author: Paulo Coelho


In 1988, my wife and I spent 40 days in the Mojave desert. The result of this experience is in the book “The Valkiries”. (the book, already published in several languages, is now released in German under the title of SCHUTZENGEL

‘I’m talking about your pact with defeat.’
Paulo thought of what J. had said – about destroying what we love most.

The silence within the mine was worse than in the desert. Not a sound was heard, except Valhalla’s voice – which sounded different.

‘We have a contract, you and I: not to win when victory is possible,’ she insisted.
‘I have never made any such pact,’ Paulo said for the third time.

‘Everyone has. At some point in our lives, we all enter into such an agreement. That’s why there is an angel with a burning sword at the gates to paradise. To allow entry only to those who have broken that pact.’

Yes, she’s right, thought Chris. Everyone has made this pact.
‘Do you find me attractive?’ Valhalla asked, once again changing the tone of her voice.
‘You are a beautiful woman,’ Paulo answered.

‘One day, when I was still an adolescent, I saw my best friend crying. We were inseparable, and we loved each other completely, and I asked what had happened. When I insisted on knowing, she told me that her boyfriend was in love with me.
“I didn’t know that, and that day I made the pact. Without really knowing why, I began to gain weight, to take poor care of myself, to become unattractive. Because – unconsciously – I felt that my beauty was a curse, and had caused suffering for my best friend.
‘Before long, I had destroyed all meaning in my life because I just didn’t care about myself anymore. I reached the point that everything about my life became unbearable: I thought about dying.’

Valhalla laughed.
‘As you can see, I broke the pact.’
‘True,’ Paulo said.
‘Yes, it is true,’ Chris said. ‘You are lovely.’

‘We are in the heart of the mountain,’ the Valkyrie continued. ‘Outside, the sun is shining, and here there is only darkness. But the temperature is pleasant, we can sleep, we have nothing to worry about. This is the darkness of the pact.’
She raised her hand to the zipper of her leather jacket.
‘Break the pact,’ she said. ‘For the glory of God. For love. And for victory.’

She began to lower the zipper slowly. She wore nothing beneath the jacket.


taken from THE VALKYRIES

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