The Story of the Pencil (from Paulo Coelho’s book of short stories entitled Like the Flowing River)

by - October 28, 2009

A boy was watching his grandmother write a letter. At one point, he asked:‘Are you writing a story about what we’ve done? Is it a story about me?’

His grandmother stopped writing her letter and said to her grandson:‘I am writing about you, actually , but more important than the words is the pencil I’m using. I hope you will like this pencil when you grow up.’

Intrigued, the boy looked at the pencil. It didn’t seem very special.‘But it’s just like any other pencil I’ve ever seen!’

‘That depends on how you look at things. It has five qualities which, if you manage to hang on to them, will make you a person who is always at peace with the world.

‘First quality: you are capable of great things, but you must never forget that there is a hand guiding your steps. We call that hand God, and He always guides us according to His will.

‘Second quality: now and then, I have to stop writing and use a sharpener. That makes the pencil suffer a little, but afterwards, he’s much sharper. So you, too, must learn to bear certain pains and sorrows, because they will make you a better person.

'Third quality: the pencil always allows us to use an eraser to rub out any mistakes. This means that correcting something we did is not necessarily a bad thing, it helps to keep us on the road to justice.

‘Fourth quality: what really matters in a pencil is not its wooden exterior, but the graphite inside. So always pay attention to what is happening inside you.

‘Finally, the pencil’s fifth quality: it always leaves a mark. In just the same way, you should know that everything you do in life will leave a mark, so try to be conscious of that in your every action.’

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2 comments

  1. "The Story of the Pencil" - such an interesting piece. It is so deep and inspiring, and it stands out for its universal truth and simplicity. Its so true "That depends on how you look at things." We learn something from every experience in our lives, irrespective of its outcome. The five qualities of a pencil really left a mark on me, probably gives a better perspective towards life and living. I would try and contemplate on them to become " a person who is always at peace with the world".

    Great selection Neelu! The thoughts that reflect in your writings or selections - are ever inpiring. Keep it up. :)

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  2. Really a good selection dear..I m really inspired....looking forward for more such inspirational ones...

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