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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)
  2

People from all over

People from all over the world have passed through this village, son, said his father. They come in search of new things, but when they leave they are basically the same people they were when they arrived. They climb the mountain to see the castle, and they wind up thinking that the past was better than what we have now. They have blond hair, or dark skin, but basically theyre the same as the people who live right here.

But Id like to see the castles in the towns where they live, the boy explained.

Those people, when they see our land, say that they would like to live here forever, his father continued.

Well, Id like to see their land, and see how they live, said his son.

The people who come here have a lot of money to spend, so they can afford to travel, his father said. Amongst us, the only ones who travel are the shepherds.

Well, then Ill be a shepherd!

His father said no more. The next day, he gave his son a pouch that held three ancient Spanish gold coins.

I found these one day in the fields. I wanted them to be a part of your inheritance. But use them to buy your flock. Take to the fields, and someday youll learn that our countryside is the best, and our women the most beautiful.

And he gave the boy his blessing. The boy could see in his fathers gaze a desire to be able, himself, to travel the worlda desire that was still alive, despite his fathers having had to bury it, over dozens of years, under the burden of struggling for water to drink, food to eat, and the same place to sleep every night of his life.

* * *

The horizon was tinged with red, and suddenly the sun appeared. The boy thought back to that conversation with his father, and felt happy; he had already seen many castles and met many women (but none the equal of the one who awaited him several days hence). He owned a jacket, a book that he could trade for another, and a flock of sheep. But, most important, he was able every day to live out his dream. If he were to tire of the Andalusian fields, he could sell his sheep and go to sea. By the time he had had enough of the sea, he would already have known other cities, other women, and other chances to be happy. I couldnt have found God in the seminary, he thought, as he looked at the sunrise.

Whenever he could, he sought out a new road to travel. He had never been to that ruined church before, in spite of having traveled through those parts many times. The world was huge and inexhaustible; he had only to allow his sheep to set the route for a while, and he would discover other interesting things. The problem is that they dont even realize that theyre walking a new road every day. They dont see that the fields are new and the seasons change. All they think about is food and water.

Maybe were all that way, the boy mused. Even meI havent thought of other women since I met the merchants daughter. Looking at the sun, he calculated that he would reach Tarifa before midday. There, he could exchange his book for a thicker one, fill his wine bottle, shave, and have a haircut; he had to prepare himself for his meeting with the girl, and he didnt want to think about the possibility that some other shepherd, with a larger flock of sheep, had arrived there before him and asked for her hand.

Its the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting, he thought, as he looked again at the position of the sun, and hurried his pace. He had suddenly remembered that, in Tarifa, there was an old woman who interpreted dreams.

 

 


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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