Paulo Coelho


The history of the pencil

(short stories)




The Grandchild was looking at his grandma writing for a letter.

Suddenly he asked: “Are you writing a story about us? Is it by chance a story about me?”.


The grandma stopped writing, smiled and said to her grandchild:

“Indeed I am writing about you, however more important than the words is the pencil I am using.

I would love you could be the same when you will be a man”.

The child, looked at the pencil curiously, but could not see anything special.

“But . . . it is exactly the same as every other pencil I saw in my life”.


“It is all in the way you look at things. There are five qualities in that pencil that,

if you will be able to maintain, will make you a man in peace with the whole world.



First Quality: you can make big things, but never forget that there is a hand guiding your steps. This hand we call it God, and he will always have to address you towards his will.


Second Quality: sometimes I have to stop writing an use a sharpener. This makes the pencil suffer a little, but at the end it will be sharper. So, learn to bear a little pain because it will make you a better man.


Third Quality: the pencil always allow us to use an eraser to cancel mistakes. Understand that correct something we did is not necessarily a bad thing, but something fundamental to keep us on the right path.


Fourth Quality: what is really important in the pencil is not the wood or the shape, but the lead that is inside. So, be always careful of what happens inside of yourself.


At the end, the fifth quality is: always leave a sign.

In any case, be aware that everything you do in your life will leave trails,

try to be conscious of every single action”.



Paulo Coelho – The history of the pencil (short stories)



Paulo Coelho



Paulo Coelho de Souza (born 24 August 1947) is a Brazilian lyricist and novelist and the recipient of numerous international awards. He is best known for his widely translated novel The Alchemist. A keen user of electronic media, in 2014 he uploaded his personal papers online to create a virtual Paulo Coelho Foundation.




Paulo Coelho





(Year –  Portuguese title –  English title)

1974 – Teatro da Educação – Theater For Education
1982 – Arquivos do Inferno – Hell Archives
1987 – O Diário de um Mago – The Pilgrimage
1988 – O Alquimista – The Alchemist
1990 – Brida – Brida
1991 – O Dom Supremo – The Supreme Gift
1992 – As Valkírias – The Valkyries
1994 – Maktub – Maktub
1994 – Na margem do rio Piedra eu sentei e chorei – By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept
1996 O Monte Cinco – The Fifth Mountain
1997 – Cartas de amor de um profeta – Love Letters from a Prophet
1997 – Manual do guerreiro da luz – Manual of the Warrior of Light
1998 – Veronika decide morrer – Veronika Decides to Die
1998 – Palavras essenciais – Essential Words
2000 – O Demônio e a Srta. Prym – The Devil and Miss Prym
2001 – Historias para pais, filhos e netos – Fathers, Sons and Grandsons
2003 – Onze Minutos – Eleven Minutes
2004 – O Gênio e as Rosas – The Genie and the Roses
2004 – Viagens – Journeys
2004 – Vida – Life
2005 – O Zahir – The Zahir
2005 – Caminhos Recolhidos – Revived Paths
2006 – Ser Como o Rio que Flui – Like the Flowing River
2006 – A Bruxa de Portobello – The Witch of Portobello
2008 – O vencedor está só – The Winner Stands Alone
2009 – Amor – Love
2010 – Aleph – Aleph
2011 – Fábulas
2012 – Manuscrito Encontrado em Accra – Manuscript Found in Accra
2014 – Adultério – Adultery
2016 – A Espiã – The Spy
2018 – Hippie – Hippie




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