Trying To Cheat Destiny

On his way to Galicia during the religious wars that ended with the Spanish expelling the Arabs from the Iberian peninsula, the Emperor Charlemagne’s troops face a traitor. Before the battle, he prayed to Santiago, who revealed to him the names of 140 soldiers who would die in the fight. Charlemagne left these men in the camp, and went to fight.

Later that afternoon, victorious and without a single casualty in his army, he returned to discover that the camp had been set on fire and 140 men were dead.

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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