"Story of the Pencil" (by Paulo Coehlo)

The child watched his grandmother who was writing a letter.  After a moment, the child asked, "Are you writing a story about us?  And, by chance, are writing about me?"

The grandmother stopped writing, smiled and said to her grandson, "I am writing about you, it's true.  But, you know, more important than what I'm writing is the pencil I'm using.  I hope that you will be like this pencil when you grow up.

The child looked at the pencil, intrigued, and saw nothing special about it.  "But, it's just like every other pencil I've seen in my life!"

"It all depends on how you see things," replied the grandmother. "This pencil has five qualities that, if you strive to have in your life, will make you a peaceful person in this world."

"The first quality: You can do great things, but must never forget that there exists a Hand that guides your steps.  This Hand we call God and this Hand will always guide you in the direction of His will.

"The second quality: From time to time you need to stop writing and apply the pencil-sharpener.  In this process the pencil suffers a bit, but in the end it's sharper.  So, you need to know that you have to endure some pains in life because it will make you a better person."

"The third quality: This pencil allows us to use an eraser to remove the errors.  You need to understand that correcting something we've done isn't necessarily a bad thing: rather, it's important if we're going to stay in the path of righteousness and justice."

"The fourth quality: The thing that's most important about the pencil is not the wood nor its external form but the graphite within.  So, always care for what is going on inside yourself.

"Finally, the fifth quality of the pencil: It always leaves a mark.  In the same way, you must remember that everything you do in life will leave a mark and you need to be conscious of all your actions."

(...my translation...from Paulo Coehlo's book, Ser Como el Río Que Fluye, Grijalbo, 2006.)


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