Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

In the Tokyo subway

Author: Paulo Coelho

Illustration by Ken Crane

Terry Dobson was traveling on the Tokyo subway when a drunk got on and began to insult all the passengers.

Dobson, who had studied martial arts for some years, challenged the man.

"What do you want?" asked the drunk.

Dobson got ready to attack him. Just then, an old man sitting on one of the seats shouted: "Hey!"

"I’ll beat the foreigner, then I’ll beat you!" said the drunk.

"I like to drink, too," said the old man. "I sit every afternoon with my wife, and we drink sake. Are you married?"

The drunk was confused, and replied: "I have no wife, I have no one. I’m just so terribly ashamed."

The old man asked the drunk to sit beside him. By the time Dobson got off, the man was in tears.

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