After the Deluge

At the end of the forty days of deluge, Noah came out of the ark. He was filled with hope, but all he found outside was death and destruction.

Noah protested:

Almighty God, if You knew the future, why did You create man? Just for the pleasure of punishing him?

A triple perfume rose up into the sky: incense, the perfume of Noah’s tears, and the aroma of his actions. Then God replied:

The prayers of a just man are always heard. I will tell you why I did this: so that you will understand your work. You and your descendants will always be rebuilding a world which came from nothing – and in this way we share the work and the consequences. Now we are all responsible.

Paulo Coelho is a Brazilian author who has sold more than 150 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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