Fetch Another Sort of Doctor

A powerful monarch called a holy father – everyone said he had healing powers – to help him with his back ache.

“God will help us,” said the holy man. “But first let us understand the reason for these pains. I suggest Your Majesty confesses now, for confession makes men face up to their problems, and liberates much guilt.”

Annoyed at having to think about so many problems, the king said:

“I do not wish to speak of these matters; I need someone who heals without asking questions.”

The priest went off and returned half an hour later with another man.

“I believe that words can relieve pain, and help me to discover the right path to a cure,” he said. But you do not wish to talk, and I cannot help you. This is the man you need:

My friend here is a veterinarian, and does not generally speak to his patients.”

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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