Friday Quick Quote: Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’


“The alchemist picked up a book that someone in the caravan had brought. Leafing through the pages, he found a story about Narcissus.

The alchemist knew the legend of Narcissus, a youth who knelt daily beside a lake to contemplate his own beauty. He was so fascinated by himself that, one morning, he fell into the lake and drowned. At the spot where he fell, a flower was born, which was called the narcissus.

But this was not how the author of the book ended the story.

He said that when Narcissus died, the goddesses of the forest appeared and found the lake, which had been fresh water, transformed into a lake of salty tears.

‘Why do you weep?’ the goddesses asked.

‘I weep for Narcissus,” the lake replied.

‘Ah, it is no surprise that you weep for Narcissus,’ they said, ‘for though we always pursued him in the forest, you alone could contemplate his beauty close at hand.’

‘But… was Narcissus beautiful?’ the lake asked.

‘Who better than you to know that?’ the goddesses asked in wonder. ‘After all, it was by your banks that he knelt each day to contemplate himself!’

The lake was silent for some time. Finally, it said:

‘I weep for Narcissus, but I never noticed that Narcissus was beautiful. I weep because, each time he knelt beside my banks, I could see, in the depths of his eyes, my own beauty reflected.’


– Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist


10 thoughts on “Friday Quick Quote: Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’

  1. The Mayo Clinic defines narcissism as coming across as conceited, looking down on people as inferior, feeling a sense of entitlement, exaggerating one’s achievements and talents, being preoccupied with fantasies about success and power, assuming unquestioning compliance with expectations, taking advantage of others to get what is wanted, being envious of others and believing others envy you, behaving in an arrogant manner, and being unable or unwilling to recognize the needs and feelings of others. In light in ourselves recognize and are drawn to the light in others, whether that light is called beauty, kindness, or whatever. At what point do we cross over the line into narcissism, and once there, how do we not fall into the lake and drown?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a good question. I think part of it is knowing ourselves and being self-reflective. (Though I admit, I have always said that the best loves make us better people than we otherwise are. Their ‘goodness’ brings out our goodness.)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s