The Man And His Shadow
By Paulo Coelho
Many years ago, there lived a man who was capable of loving and forgiving everyone he came across. Because of this, God sent an angel to talk to him.
‘God asked me to come and visit you and tell you that he wishes to reward you for your goodness,’ said the angel. ‘You may have any gift you wish for. Would you like the gift of healing?’
‘Certainly not,’ said the man. ‘I would prefer God to choose those who should be healed.’
‘And what about leading sinners back to the path of Truth?’
‘That’s a job for angels like you. I don’t want to be venerated by anyone or to serve as a permanent example.’
‘Look, I can’t go back to Heaven without having given you a miracle. If you don’t choose, I’ll have to choose one for you.’
The man thought for a moment and then said:
‘All right, I would like good to be done through me, but without anyone noticing, not even me, in case I should commit the sin of vanity.’
So the angel arranged for the man’s shadow to have the power of healing, but only when the sun was shining on the man’s face. In this way, wherever he went, the sick were healed, the earth grew fertile again, and sad people rediscovered happiness.
The man traveled the Earth for many years, oblivious of the miracles he was working because when he was facing the sun, his shadow was always behind him. In this way, he was able to live and die unaware of his own holiness.