Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Alchemist

These are the closing lines of the Prologue in Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist. The goddesses of the forests have just asked why the lake is weeping for Narcissus.

The lake was silent for some time. Finally, it said:
"I weep for Narcissus, but I never noticed that Narcissus was beautiful. I weep because, each time he knelt beside my banks, I could see, in the depths of his eyes, my own beauty reflected."

"What a lovely story," the alchemist thought.

Although there are passages in The Alchemist I find more beautiful, I love how the lake's confession complicates some of the philosophical arguments we've been discussing in class.

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