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Abstract This paper introduces an allegorical story, narrated by the Persian poet Jalal al-Din Rumi in his celebrated Masnavi, and traces the story in two apposite chronological directions. After elucidating the historical sources of the story, it moves forward to the present time to show how the Rumi’s piece traveled in space as far as Latin America to inspire Paulo Coelho in writing his novel, The alchemist. The role played in this cultural contact by Jorges Luis Borges is also considered.
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