His writing style is enchanting.
The exceptional 74-year-old Brazilian lyricist and novelist whose book, ‘The Alchemist’ (published in 1988), gave him the international recognition that he was destined for.
Although he has over 30 books to his credit, my favorite, asides from ‘The Alchemist’ is ‘The Devil and Miss Prym’ which was first published in Europe in 1992.
Just in case you’ve not read it, ‘The Devil and Miss Prym’ is a novel which tells the story of Carlos, a stranger who arrived in the small village of Viscos, a tiny Island in France carrying with him a backpack containing a notebook and eleven gold bars with a mission to see if people can make the right choice when they’re tempted to make the wrong one.
While the villagers were at a loss as to who the stranger was, Berta, an old woman with special powers who sat outside most of the time was the only person who recognized that the stranger came in with an invisible companion, the devil.
The stranger had barely settled in when he struck a strange kind of friendship with Miss Chantal Prym, a young woman who was a bartender in the village. He shared with her his mission, and how he intends to test the villagers in the bid to get the answers that he craved.
He told her to inform the villagers that he will give the gold that he brought into the village to them if only they were willing to kill one of their own, of which she was certain that they would turn down the offer as she believed they were decent, and nice creatures who wouldn’t kill anyone for money.
By the time Chantal informed the villagers about the stranger’s offer, they decided after much debate to kill Berta, after all, she was the oldest person in the village, and the gold that they will get for killing her will be used to transform the village into a new and important place. They then went ahead to drug her, after which they dragged her body into the wood to kill her.
It was at this point that Chantal intervened.
She told the villagers that if they go ahead with their plan of shooting Berta and taking the gold, it will prove to the stranger that humans are in essence evil, greedy and immoral.
Eventually, they decided to go home and refuse the gold even as the stranger had already concluded that the people are neither good nor evil, the people are just people.
Just in case you’ve not been following the event and happenings in Nigeria’s political space, protesting youths comprising of young men and women besieged the office of the former President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday, April 22, 2022.
Their demand was simple.
They want him to run for President in the 2023 general elections, as they believe he has the template to restore Nigeria’s ailing economy while giving every Nigerian a sense of belonging.
They went ahead to plead with the former President to forgive them, as they have realized their mistakes after being deceived and brainwashed by those who claimed they could do it in 2015.
After listening to all that they had to say, the former President told them that the political process is still ongoing, and he would therefore not be able to tell them if he will declare or not.
Just as the stranger came into the small village of Viscos to see if people can make the right choice when they’re tempted to make the wrong one, the former President is at a place where he has to choose between running for President in 2023, or preserving what is left of his 2015 political record by staying away from the presidential race.
Will he, like the people of Viscos be tempted to take the stranger’s gold by throwing his hat in the ring?
Indeed, the facial expression of the former President in this photo is a pointer to the battle that must be raging within him.
Monday, 25 April 2022.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John Olugbemi is a historian, creative writer and communications strategist. An avid reader with a passion for a system that works, he has consistently used his Facebook page to inform, encourage and entertain his friends and followers within and outside Nigeria.
A Google Certified Digital Business Developer, John presently heads the Marketing and Communications Unit of the Millard Fuller Foundation, an organisation with a vision to provide truly affordable homes to Nigerians who are in need.
His hobbies include writing, reading, cooking travelling, and jogging.
He is married to an adorable woman, and they are blessed with three beautiful daughters.