I am willing to give up everything, said the prince to the master. Please accept me as your disciple.
How does a man choose his path? asked the master.
Through sacrifice, answered the prince. A path which demands sacrifice, is a true path.
The master bumped into some shelves. A precious vase fell, and the prince threw himself down in order to grab hold of it. He fell badly and broke his arm, but managed to save the vase.
What is the greater sacrifice: to watch the vase smash, or break one’s arm in order to save it? asked the master.
I do not know, said the prince.
Then how can you guide your choice for sacrifice? The true path is chosen by our ability to love it, not to suffer for it.
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.”