The Beloved Man

A Siberian shaman asked God to show him a man that He loved. The Lord advised him to look for a certain farmer.

“What do you do to make the Lord love you so much?” the shaman asked the farmer when he found him.

“I say His name in the morning. I work all day and say His name before going to sleep. That’s all,” the farmer replied.

I think I found the wrong man, thought the shaman.

Just then the Lord appeared and said, “Fill a bowl with milk, go to town and then return. Without spilling a single drop.”

The shaman did so. On his return, the Lord wanted to know how many times he had thought of Him.

“How could I? I was worried not to spill the milk!”

“A simple bowl made you forget Me,” said the Lord, “and the farmer, with all his tasks, thinks of me twice a day.”

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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