From his workshop, located in two rooms hollowed out under the ground, master Paracelsus asked God to send him a disciple.
In the stove, a pale fire projects irregular shadows.
To get up to light the iron lamp would have required far too much effort. Paracelsus, melted by fatigue, forgets about the prayer formulated. At night, the athanor and the almbic dusts were swallowed, when someone knocked on the door.
Half asleep, Paracelsus rises, climbs the few steps of the snail-shaped ladder and opens one of the door sashes.
An unknown man crossed the threshold. He seemed, too, out of the way-out of the weary.
Paracelsus shows him a lavite; the other sits in silence.
At first he did not utter a word, and then the magister curma, the first, the silence.
- I remember the faces from the West as well as those from the East, he said without a certain emphases. But I don't remember your face.
Who are you and what do you want from me?
My name has no meaning, the other one replied. I wandered for three days and three nights to get here.
I want to be your disciple. I brought you, lo and behold, my entire had.
A leather bag was revealed and, with his right hand, he overturned it on the table: a stream of yellows had been overturned.
Paracelsus, in order to turn on his lamp, had to turn his back on him.
When he turned to the newcomer again, he noticed that he was holding a rose in his left hand. Roza makes him anxious.
He leaned over, he put together the tips of his fingers and said:
- You believe me able to make the stone that transforms the elements into gold.
But I'm not looking for gold, and if gold concerns you, you'll never be my disciple.
" Gold doesn't concern me with the kind," said the other guy.
These yellows are nothing but a testimony of my desire to learn. I would like you to show me the Philosopher's Stone.
I want to accompany you on the road that leads to Piatra.
Paracelsus rarely utter :
- The road is stone. The stone is the starting point.
If you don't understand that, you haven't started to understand yet.
Because the goal is in each of your steps.
The other one looked at him incredulously. He asks him in a changed voice:
- But is there a goal?
Paracelsus burst into laughter.
- My detractors, which are not as numerous as they are stupid,
I argue the opposite and I blame myself for imposture.
I don't give them justice, but it wouldn't be impossible for everything to be an illusion.
What I do know is that the road exists.
There was a silence and then the other said :
- I'm ready to cross it with you,
even if we were to roam for a long time.
Allow me to pass the dessert. Let me see,
even from afar, the promised land, even if the stars
I would then forbid to touch it. But before you start
this trip, I want proof.
- When ? ask Paracelsus, with anxiety.
" At this moment, replied the disciple, suddenly showing a sudden obstination.
They had started conversing in Latin, now they were speaking in German.
The young man lifts the rose above his head.
- It is said, he said, that you can burn a rose in flames, to make it reborn then from its own ashes, with the help of your art and your skill. Allow me, therefore, to witness this miracle. Here's what I'm asking you to do, and then I give you my whole life.
"You're very gullible, " said the magister.
And I have nothing to do with credulity: I need faith.
The other insists:
- Precisely because I am not the gullible I want to see with my own eyes the perishing and rebirth of this rose.
Paracelsus had taken her in his hand and was playing, talking, with her petals.
- You're gullible, keep going. You say I'd be able to destroy it?
"Whoever is able to destroy it, " said the disciple.
- You are wrong. Do you think that it is possible to send something into nothingness?
Do you think that the first Adam succeeded, in Paradise,
to destroy at least one flower, at least a single blade of grass?
"We are not in Paradise, " said the stubborn young man;
here, under the rays of the moon, everything is perishing.
Paracelsus had risen.
- And where else are we then? Do you believe that divinity could they create a space that is not Paradise?
Do you think that the collapse consists of something other than ignoring the very fact that we are in Paradise?
"A rose can burn," said the disciple provocatively.
"There is still fire in the hearth," said Paracelsus.
If you azvarli this rose in the jaratec, you might think that the flames have consumed it and that the ashes are the one that is real.
I'm telling you that the rose is eternal and that only the appearance can change.
I would have enough of a saying for you, then, to have it again in front of your eyes.
- A word ? said the disciple, surprised.
The athanor is extinguished, the almicins are covered by the colb.
What could you do for her to be reborn?
Paracelsus looked at him with sadness.
- The athanor is extinguished, he repeats, and the almicins are covered by the colb.
Throughout the day, however, I use completely different tools.
- I do not dare to ask you which exactly,
said the other, with malice and humiliation.
- I speak of the one that the divinity used
to create heaven and earth, and which the original sin hides from us.
I speak of the Word revealed by Kabbala (a working method similar to the use of mantras in yoga n.r.).
The disciple then said in a cold tone:
- I humbly ask you to agree to show me the destruction and return of the rose.
Little do I care if you operate with the Verb or with the athanor.
Paracelsus remained on the thoughts. Finally said :
- If I did, you would say it's about an imposed appearance
the magic of your eyes. The miracle would not give you the confidence you are looking for.
So, leave the rose.
Always incredulous, suspicious, the young man looked at him.
The magister raised his voice and said:
- After all, who are you, to navali thus in the house of a master and ask for a miracle from him? What have you done to deserve such a gift?
The other replied, trembling:
- I know well that I did nothing. I ask you, on behalf of all years which I will spend toiling in your shadow, to allow me to see the ashes, then the pink. I'm not going to ask you for anything else. I will believe in the testimony of my eyes.
With a sudden movement, take the red rose that Paracelsus
he had left the desktop and azvarli in flames. The rose changes its color and, after a few moments, only a handful of ashes remain of it.
Moments in a row, the disciple was waiting for the word and the miracle.
Paracelsus was left by the ice. Said with a strange simplicity :
- All the doctors and all the people in Basilea say that I would be an imposter.
Maybe they're right. Here rests the ashes that were once pink
and it will never be again.
The young man felt engulfed in shame. The magister Paracelsus was a sarlatan
or a simple visionary, and he, an intruder, had stumbled into his house
and now he forced him to admit that his famous magical powers are nothing but gaunous formulas.
Ingenunche and utter :
- I am unforgivable. I missed the fervor that the Almighty it requires it from believers. Let me look at the ashes once more.
I will return when I am stronger, then I will be your disciple,
and at the end of the road I will see the rose.
He spoke with an authentic passion, which was, however, nothing but mercy for the old master, so revered, so cornered, so illustrious and, at the end of his life, so empty on the inside.
Who he was, Johannes Grisebach, to discover,
cu sacrilega-i mana, ca indaratul mask nu se afla nimeni ?
To leave the yellows would have seemed like a humiliation. And so he would take them away.
Paracelsus accompanied him to the end of the ladder and told him that he would always be welcome. They both knew they would never see each other again.
Paracelsus remained alone.
Before turning off the lamp and sitting in the scaly armchair,
overturning the pile of ashes in his concave hand
and utter a word with a low voice.
after by Jorge Luis Borges