Who Would Like This Twenty-Dollar Bill?

Cassan Said Amer tells the story of a lecturer who began a seminar by holding up a twenty-dollar bill and asking: ‘who would like this twenty-dollar bill?’

Several hands went up, but the lecturer said: ‘Before I give this to you, I have to do something.’

He screwed it up into a ball and said: ‘Who still wants this bill?’

The hands went up again.

‘And what if I do this to it?’

He threw the crumpled bill at the wall, dropped it on the floor, insulted it, trampled on it, and once more showed them the bill – now all creased and dirty. He repeated the question, and the hands stayed up.

‘Never forget this scene,’ he said. ‘It doesn’t matter what I do to this money. It is still a twenty-dollar bill. So often in our lives, we are crumpled, trampled, ill-treated, insulted, and yet, despite all that, we are still worth the same.’

Excerpt from Paulo Coelho’s collection of short stories, Like the Flowing River.

Copyright Paulo Coelho 1998-2005


One thought on “Who Would Like This Twenty-Dollar Bill?”

  1. Last night I met a person in the church who I have not seen for several years. He has medical education, a very serious public position and has the same spiritual and healing interests and abilities as me. We talked and decided we have to meet very soon to discuss how we can cooperate in these areas. When we were about to leave, I told him that I must be aware that there has been a major campaign to stain my reputation as much as possible – probably because of my work with St. Olavs Eliksir. Oh yes, he said. That didn’t surprise him at all, and he didn’t care! I was relieved! 🙂

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