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The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
 Rain (W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM)
 GENEALOGY OF A KISS (A Play in One Act by Scott C. Sickles)
 Three men in a boat (Jerome Klapka Jerome)
 

The caravan began to travel day and night

The caravan began to travel day and night. The hooded Bedouins reappeared more and more frequently, and the camel driverwho had become a good friend of the boysexplained that the war between the tribes had already begun. The caravan would be very lucky to reach the oasis.

The animals were exhausted, and the men talked among themselves less and less. The silence was the worst aspect of the night, when the mere groan of a camelwhich before had been nothing but the groan of a camelnow frightened everyone, because it might signal a raid.

The camel driver, though, seemed not to be very concerned with the threat of war.

Im alive, he said to the boy, as they ate a bunch of dates one night, with no fires and no moon. When Im eating, thats all I think about. If Im on the march, I just concentrate on marching. If I have to fight, it will be just as good a day to die as any other.

Because I dont live in either my past or my future. Im interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, youll be a happy man. Youll see that there is life in the desert, that there are stars in the heavens, and that tribesmen fight because they are part of the human race. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment were living right now.

Two nights later, as he was getting ready to bed down, the boy looked for the star they followed every night. He thought that the horizon was a bit lower than it had been, because he seemed to see stars on the desert itself.

Its the oasis, said the camel driver.

Well, why dont we go there right now? the boy asked.

Because we have to sleep.

* * *

The boy awoke as the sun rose. There, in front of him, where the small stars had been the night before, was an endless row of date palms, stretching across the entire desert.

Weve done it! said the Englishman, who had also awakened early.

But the boy was quiet. He was at home with the silence of the desert, and he was content just to look at the trees. He still had a long way to go to reach the pyramids, and someday this morning would just be a memory. But this was the present momentthe party the camel driver had mentionedand he wanted to live it as he did the lessons of his past and his dreams of the future. Although the vision of the date palms would someday be just a memory, right now it signified shade, water, and a refuge from the war. Yesterday, the camels groan signaled danger, and now a row of date palms could herald a miracle.

The world speaks many languages, the boy thought.

* * *

The times rush past, and so do the caravans, thought the alchemist, as he watched the hundreds of people and animals arriving at the oasis. People were shouting at the new arrivals, dust obscured the desert sun, and the children of the oasis were bursting with excitement at the arrival of the strangers. The alchemist saw the tribal chiefs greet the leader of the caravan, and converse with him at length.

But none of that mattered to the alchemist. He had already seen many people come and go, and the desert remained as it was. He had seen kings and beggars walking the desert sands. The dunes were changed constantly by the wind, yet these were the same sands he had known since he was a child. He always enjoyed seeing the happiness that the travelers experienced when, after weeks of yellow sand and blue sky, they first saw the green of the date palms. Maybe God created the desert so that man could appreciate the date trees, he thought.

He decided to concentrate on more practical matters. He knew that in the caravan there was a man to whom he was to teach some of his secrets. The omens had told him so. He didnt know the man yet, but his practiced eye would recognize him when he appeared. He hoped that it would be someone as capable as his previous apprentice.

I dont know why these things have to be transmitted by word of mouth, he thought. It wasnt exactly that they were secrets; God revealed his secrets easily to all his creatures.

He had only one explanation for this fact: things have to be transmitted this way because they were made up from the pure life, and this kind of life cannot be captured in pictures or words.

Because people become fascinated with pictures and words, and wind up forgetting the Language of the World.

 

 


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Contents

The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
 Translated by Alan R. Clarke
 - PART ONE
 - I need to sell some wool...
 - And now it was only four days...
 - People from all over...
 - The old woman led the boy to a room...
 - Im the king of Salem...
 - The boy began again to read his book
 - At the highest point in Tarifa
 - He was shaken into wakefulness by someone
 PART TWO
 - The boy had been working for the crystal...
 - Two more months passed
 - The boy went to his room and
 - The Englishman was sitting on a bench
 - Im the leader of the caravan
 - They were strange books
 The caravan began to travel day and night
 - The boy couldnt believe what he was seeing
 - The boy approached the guard
 - Next morning, there were two thousand
 - The following night, the boy appeared
 - The boy spent a sleepless night
 - They crossed the desert for another two days in silence
 - On the following day, the first clear sign
 - The sun was setting when the
 - The first day passed
 - The simum blew that day as it had never blown before
 - I want to tell you a story about dreams
 - The boy rode along through the desert
 - Epilogue