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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)
 

And now it was only four days...

And now it was only four days before he would be back in that same village. He was excited, and at the same time uneasy: maybe the girl had already forgotten him. Lots of shepherds passed through, selling their wool.

It doesnt matter, he said to his sheep. I know other girls in other places.

But in his heart he knew that it did matter. And he knew that shepherds, like seamen and like traveling salesmen, always found a town where there was someone who could make them forget the joys of carefree wandering.

The day was dawning, and the shepherd urged his sheep in the direction of the sun. They never have to make any decisions, he thought. Maybe thats why they always stay close to me.

The only things that concerned the sheep were food and water. As long as the boy knew how to find the best pastures in Andalusia, they would be his friends. Yes, their days were all the same, with the seemingly endless hours between sunrise and dusk; and they had never read a book in their young lives, and didnt understand when the boy told them about the sights of the cities. They were content with just food and water, and, in exchange, they generously gave of their wool, their company, andonce in a whiletheir meat.

If I became a monster today, and decided to kill them, one by one, they would become aware only after most of the flock had been slaughtered, thought the boy. They trust me, and theyve forgotten how to rely on their own instincts, because I lead them to nourishment.

The boy was surprised at his thoughts. Maybe the church, with the sycamore growing from within, had been haunted. It had caused him to have the same dream for a second time, and it was causing him to feel anger toward his faithful companions. He drank a bit from the wine that remained from his dinner of the night before, and he gathered his jacket closer to his body. He knew that a few hours from now, with the sun at its zenith, the heat would be so great that he would not be able to lead his flock across the fields. It was the time of day when all of Spain slept during the summer. The heat lasted until nightfall, and all that time he had to carry his jacket. But when he thought to complain about the burden of its weight, he remembered that, because he had the jacket, he had withstood the cold of the dawn.

We have to be prepared for change, he thought, and he was grateful for the jackets weight and warmth.

The jacket had a purpose, and so did the boy. His purpose in life was to travel, and, after two years of walking the Andalusian terrain, he knew all the cities of the region. He was planning, on this visit, to explain to the girl how it was that a simple shepherd knew how to read. That he had attended a seminary until he was sixteen. His parents had wanted him to become a priest, and thereby a source of pride for a simple farm family. They worked hard just to have food and water, like the sheep. He had studied Latin, Spanish, and theology. But ever since he had been a child, he had wanted to know the world, and this was much more important to him than knowing God and learning about mans sins. One afternoon, on a visit to his family, he had summoned up the courage to tell his father that he didnt want to become a priest. That he wanted to travel.

 

 


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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