Reflections In a Lake

Cain and Abel came to the banks of an enormous lake. They had never seen anything like it.

“There’s something inside it,” said Abel, looking into the water, not knowing that it was his reflection. Cain noticed the same thing, and raised his staff.

The image did the same thing. Cain stood waiting for the blow; his image did the same. Abel studied the surface of the water. He smiled, and the image smiled. He laughed out loud, and saw the other imitating him. As they walked away, Cain thought:

“How aggressive those creatures are who live in there.”

And Abel told himself:

“I’d like to return, for I met someone both handsome and in good humor.”

Paulo Coelho is a Brazilian author who has sold more than 100 million books, which include 14 short story collections and the novel “The Alchemist.” He has been a fan of the Internet since the early 1990s. He spends at least three hours a day online, writing e-mails back and forth with his readers and posting photos on Flickr, MySpace and a blog.

Coelho’s online activities also include promoting pirated copies of his own books. Since 2005 he’s been directing his readers to an online site where they can download his books, in languages from German to Japanese, for free. “I always thought that when, at the beginning of your career, you strive to be read, you can’t change your mind later and become greedy about it.”

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