PLEASE NOTE: Here are quotations from The Alchemist that you possibly could use in an essay. However, they are not the only quotations that you should use. Make intelligent decisions as a writer. I copied these quotes down with no particular essay question in mind. They were simply from my notes on the book. I make no promises that these excerpts are proofread, accurate, punctuated, or cited correctly. I tried, but there are twelve pages of them! It is your responsibility to double check them in your book. Because I am providing a generous amount of quotations here, it is expected that your essay include a substantial amount of convincing evidence. Use at least one quotation per body paragraph, and do not simply aim for three body paragraphs. Three is not a magic number, and it often takes more discussion to be convincing.
Africa ▪ Al-Fayoum ▪ Allah ▪ Andalusia ▪ Arab ▪ Bedouin ▪ Ceuta ▪ Coptic ▪ Egypt ▪ El Cairum ▪ Esperanto ▪ Fatima ▪ Giza ▪ Gypsy ▪ Koran ▪ Levant ▪ Maktub ▪ Mecca ▪ Mediterranean ▪ Melchizedek ▪ Moors ▪ Narcissus ▪ Persian ▪ Pyramids ▪ Ramadan ▪ Rome ▪ Salem ▪ Santiago ▪ Spain ▪ Tarifa ▪ Thummim ▪ Tiberius ▪ Urim
“What a lovely story,” the alchemist thought” (Coelho x).
“The boy’s name was Santiago. Dusk was falling as the boy arrived with his herd at an abandoned church” (Coelho 3).
“‘I didn’t know shepherds knew how to read,’ said a girl’s voice behind him.” (Coelho 5).
“‘Well, if you know how to read, why are you just a shepherd?” (Coelho 6). Emphasis on the word “just” implies that the girl is talking down to Santiago, which could allude to Jesus being born in a lowly stable and placed in “just” a manger. The girl’s condescending statement is also a bit ironic, considering that readers find out on p. 17 that she herself cannot read.
“He recognized that he was feeling something he had never experienced before: the desire to live in one place forever” (Coelho 6).
“They [the sheep] never have to make any decisions, he thought. Maybe that’s why they always stay close to me” (Coelho 7).
“They [the sheep] trust me, and they’ve forgotten how to rely on their own instincts, because I lead them to nourishment” (Coelho 7).
“But when he thought to complain about the burden of its [the jacket’s] weight, he remembered that, because he had the jacket, he had withstood the cold of the dawn” (Coelho 8).
Santiago’s father says, “Take to the fields, and someday you’ll learn that our countryside is best, and our women the most beautiful” (Coelho 9).
“When someone sees the same people every day, as had happened with him in the seminary, they wind up becoming a part of that person’s life. And then they want the person so change. If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own” (Coelho 15-16).
“Most of them [stories] he had read in books, but he would tell them as if they were from his own personal experience. She would never know the difference, because she didn’t know how to read” (Coelho 17).
“‘It’s this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie’” (Coelho 18).
“He knew what I was thinking!” (Coelho 18)
“Something bright reflected from his chest with such intensity that the boy was momentarily blinded. With a movement that was too quick for someone his age, the man covered whatever it was with his cape” (Coelho 20).
“There, in the sand of the plaza of that small city, the boy read the names of his father and his mother and the name of the seminary he had attended. He read the name of the merchant’s daughter, which he hadn’t even known, and he read things he had never told anyone” (Coelho 21).
“But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their Personal Legend” (Coelho 21).
“It’s a force that appears to be negative, but actually shows you have to realize your Personal Legend. It prepares your spirit and your will, because there is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on earth” (Coelho 22).
“‘Parents would rather see their children marry bakers than shepherds…In the long run, what people think about shepherds and bakers becomes more important for them than their own Personal Legends’” (Coelho 23).
“‘If you start out by promising what you don’t even have yet, you’ll lose your desire to work toward getting it’” (Coelho 25).
“‘Everything in life has its price’” (Coelho 25).
“the religion” p. 35
p. 42 “Victim” “adventurer”
“There was also the merchant’s daughter, but she wasn’t as important as his flock, because she didn’t depend on him (Coelho 27).
“‘God has prepared a path for everyone to follow. You just have to read the omens that he left for you’” (Coelho 29).
Melchizedek tells Santiago a story: “’Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you,’ said the wisest of wise men, ‘The secret to happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon’” (Coelho 32).
“Melchizedek watched a small ship that was plowing its way out of the port. He would never again see the boy, just as he had never seen Abraham again after having charged him his one-tenth fee. That was his work” (Coelho 33).
“He [Melchizedek] looked to the skies, feeling a bit abashed, and said, ‘I know it’s the vanity of vanities, as you said, my Lord. But an old king sometimes has to take some pride in himself’” (Coelho 33).
“The old man had spoken about signs and omens, and, as the boy was crossing the strait, he had thought about the omens. Yes, the old man had known what he was talking about: during the time the boy had spent in the fields of Andalusia, he had become used to learning which path he should take by observing the ground and the sky. He had discovered that the presence of a certain bird meant that a snake was nearby, and that a certain shrub was a sign that there was water in the area. The sheep had taught him that. If God leads the sheep so well, he will also lead a man, he thought, and that made him feel better. The tea seemed less bitter” (Coelho 35).
“‘Tangier is not like the rest of Africa. This is a port, and every port has its thieves.’ The boy trusted his new friend” (Coelho 37).
“But the boy never took his eye off his new friend. After all, he had his money” (Coelho 37).
“The boy promised himself that, when he returned from Egypt, he would buy that sword” (Coelho 37).
“He recalled that when the sun had risen that morning, he was on another continent, still a shepherd with sixty sheep, and looking forward to meeting with a girl. That morning he had known everything that was going to happen to him as he walked through the familiar fields. But now, as the sun began to set, he was in a different country, a stranger in a strange land, where he couldn’t even speak the language. He was no longer a shepherd, and he had nothing, not even the money to return and start everything over” (Coelho 38-39).
“He wept because God was unfair, and because this was the way God repaid those who believed in their dreams” (Coelho 39).
“As he looked at the stones, he felt relieved for some reason” (Coelho 39).
“Now her understood why the owner of the bar had been so upset; he was trying to tell him not to trust that man. ‘I’m like everyone else—I see the world in terms of what I would like to see happen, not what actually does.’ He ran his fingers over the stones, sensing their temperature and feeling their surfaces. They were his treasure. Just handling them made him feel better. They reminded him of the old man” (Coelho 40).
“The boy had never noticed that there was a hole in his pouch” (Coelho 41).
“As he mused these things, he realized that he had to choose between thinking of himself as the poor victim of a thief and as an adventurer in quest of his treasure. ‘I’m an adventurer, looking for treasure, he said to himself’” (Coelho 42).?
“He had not a cent in his pocket, but he had faith” (Coelho 42).
“The candy seller had a smile on his face: he was happy, aware of what his life was about, and ready to begin a day’s work. His smile reminded the boy of the old man—the mysterious old king he had met” (Coelho 43).
“There must be a language that doesn’t depend on words, the boy thought. I’ve already had that experience with my sheep, and now it’s happening with people” (Coelho 43).
“Now it was too late to change anything” (Coelho 44).
“But the crystal merchant had no choice. He had lived thirty years of his life buying and selling crystal pieces, and now it was too late to do anything else” (Coelho 45).
Part Two pp. 51-79 “The boy was being paid more money than he deserved, because the merchant, thinking that sales wouldn’t amount to much, had offered the boy a high commission rate. He had assumed he would return soon to his sheep” (Coelho 53).
“‘Well, why don’t you go to Mecca now?’ asked the boy. ‘Because it’s the thought of Mecca that keeps me alive. That’s what helps me face these days that are all the same, these mute crystals on the shelves, and lunch and dinner at the same horrible safe. I’m afraid that if my dream is realized, I’ll have no reason to go on living’” (Coelho 55).
The crystal merchant says, “‘But I’m afraid that it would all be a disappointment, so I prefer just to dream about it’” (Coelho 55).
“‘You must always know what it is that you want,’ the old king had said’” (Coelho 56).
The crystal merchant says, “‘I don’t want to change anything, because I don’t know how to deal with change. I’m used to the way I am’” (Coelho).
“Maktub” means “It is written” (59).
“Sometimes, there’s just no way to hold back the river” (Coelho 59).
“Tangier was no longer a strange city, and he felt that, just as he had conquered this place, he could conquer the world” (Coelho 62).
“‘When you want something, all the universe conspires to help you achieve it,’ the old king had said. But the old king hadn’t said anything about being robbed, or about endless deserts, or about people who know what their dreams are but don’t want to realize them. The old king hadn’t told him that the Pyramids were just a pile of stones, or that anyone could build one in his backyard. And he had forgotten to mention that, when you have enough money to buy a flock larger than the one you had before, you should buy it” (Coelho 63).
“From where he stood, he saw for the first time that the old merchant’s hair was very much like the hair of the old king. He remembered the smile of the candy seller, on his first day in Tangier, when he had nothing to eat and nowhere to go—that smile had also been like the old king’s smile” (Coelho 63).
“I know why I want to get back to my flock, he thought. I understand sheep; they’re no longer a problem, and they can be good friends. On the other hand, I don’t know if the desert can be a friend, and it’s in the desert that I have to search for my treasure. If I don’t find it, I can always go home. I finally have enough money, and all the time I need. Why not? He suddenly felt tremendously happy” (Coelho 65).
“First he had studied Esperanto, then the world’s religions, and now it was alchemy. He knew how to speak Esperanto, he understood all the major religions well, but he wasn’t yet an alchemist/ He had unraveled the truths behind important questions, but his studies had taken him to a point beyond which he could not seem to go. He had tried in vain to establish a relationship with an alchemist” (Coelho 66).
“‘He [the alchemist] lives at Al-Fayoum oasis,’ his friend had said. ‘And people say that he is two hundred years old, and is able to transform any metal into gold’” (Coelho 67).
“‘Not at all. It was shepherds who were the first to recognize a king that the rest of the world refused to acknowledge. So, it’s not surprising that kings would talk to shepherds’” (Coelho 69).
“‘I’m the leader of the caravan,’ said a dark-eyed bearded man. ‘I hold the power of life and death for every person I take with me. The desert is a capricious lady, and sometimes she drives men crazy’” (Coelho 71).
“‘In the desert, disobedience means death’” (Coelho 71).
“The boy swore to Jesus Christ” (Coelho 71-72).
“But the caravan began to move, and it was impossible to hear what the Englishman was saying. The boy knew what he was about to describe, though: the mysterious chain that links one thing to another, the same chain that had caused him to become a shepherd, that caused his recurring dream, that had brought him to a city near Africa, to find a king, and to be robbed in order to meet a crystal merchant, and…” (Coelho 72).
“‘I’ve crossed these sands many times,’ said one of the camel drivers one night. ‘But the desert is so huge, and the horizons so distant, that they make a person feel small, and as if he should remain silent.’ The boy understood intuitively what he meant, even without ever having set foot in the desert before. Whenever he saw the sea, or a fire, he fell silent, impressed by their elemental force” (Coelho 73).
“…the caravan moved toward the same compass point. Once obstacles were overcome, it returned to its course, sighting on a star that indicated the location of the oasis” (Coelho 75).
“The travelers adopted the practice of arranging the animals in a circle at night, sleeping together in the center as protection against the nocturnal cold. And the leader posted armed sentinels at the fringes of the group” (Coelho 78).
“The Englishman was fascinated with the part about the progress achieved at the crystal shop after the boy began working there. ‘That’s the principle that governs all things,’ he said. ‘In alchemy, it’s called the Soul of the World. When you want something with all your heart, that’s when you are closest to the Soul of the World. It’s always a positive force.’ He also said that this was not just a human gift. That everything on the face of the earth had a soul, whether mineral, vegetable, or animal—or even just a simple thought” (Coelho 78-79).
“The Englishman said, ‘I’d better pay more attention to the caravan.’
‘And I’d better read your books,’ said the boy” (Coelho 79).
pp. 80- 104
Emerald Tablet is “the most important text in the literature of alchemy contained only a few lines, and had been inscribed on the surface on an emerald” (Coelho 80).
The “Master Work”
The Elixir of Life “cured all illnesses; it also kept the alchemist from growing old” (Coelho 81).
The Englishman says, “A small sliver of the stone can transform large quantities of metal into gold” (Coelho 81).
“The book that most interested the boy told the stories of the famous alchemists. They were men who had dedicated their entire lives to the purification of metals in their laboratories; they believed that, if a metal were heated for many years, it would free itself of all its individual properties, and what was left would be the Soul of the World. This Soul of the World allowed them to understand anything on the face of the earth, because it was the language with which all things communicated. They called that discovery the Master Work—it was part liquid and part solid” (Coelho 80).
“They spent so much time close to the fire that gradually they gave up the vanities of the world. They discovered that the purification of the metals had led to purification of themselves” (Coelho 81).
“‘Why do they have to make things so complicated?’ he asked the Englishman one night. The boy had noticed that the Englishman was irritable, and missed his books.
‘So that those who have the responsibility for understanding can understand.’ He said. ‘Imagine if everyone went around transforming lead into gold. Gold would lose its value’” (Coelho 82).
“‘But we’re both in search of our Personal Legends, and I respect him [the Englishman] for that’” (Coelho 84).
The camel driver says, “‘If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. You’ll see that there is life in the desert, that there are stars in the heavens, and that tribesmen fight because they are part of the human race. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living right now’” (Coelho 85).
“He [the alchemist] always enjoyed seeing the happiness that the travelers experienced when, after weeks of yellow sand and blue sky, they first saw the green of the date palms. Maybe God created the desert so that man could appreciate the date trees, he thought” (Coelho 86-87).
“He [the alchemist] knew that in the caravan there was a man to whom he was to teach some of his secrets” (Coelho 87).
“They had been taking precautions in the desert, but the camel driver explained to the boy that the oases were always considered to be neural territories, because the majority of the inhabitants were women and children. There were oases throughout the desert, but the tribesmen fought in the desert, leaving the oases as places of refuge” (88).
“‘Those are the rules of war,’ the leader explained. ‘The oases may not shelter armies or troops’” (Coelho 89).
“‘Don’t be impatient,’ he [Santiago] repeated to himself. ‘It’s like the camel driver said: ‘Eat when it’s time to eat. And move along when it’s time to move along’” (Coelho 89).
“The woman said she had never heard of such as person [an alchemist], and hurried away. But before she fled, she advised the boy that he had better not try to converse with women who were dressed in black, because they were married women. He should respect tradition” (91).
“‘Allah cures our illnesses,’ said the man, clearly frightened of the strangers, ‘You’re looking for witch doctors.’ He spoke some verses from the Koran, and moved on” (91).
“Finally, a young woman approached who was not dressed in black. She had a vessel on her shoulder, and her head was covered by a veil, but her face was uncovered. The boy approached her about the alchemist. At that moment, it seemed to him that time stood still, and the Soul of the World surged within him. When he looked into her dark eyes, and saw that her lips were poised between a laugh and silence, he learned that the most important part of the language that all the world spoke—the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love. Something older than humanity, more ancient than the desert. Something that exerted the same force whenever two pairs of eyes met, as had theirs there at the well” (Coelho 92-93).
“What the boy felt at that moment was that he was in the presence of the only woman in his life, and that, with no need for words, she recognized the same thing” (Coelho 93).
“And the boy sat there by the well for a long time, remembering that one day in Tarifa the levanter had brought to him the perfume of that woman, and realizing that he had loved her before he even knew she existed” (Coelho 94).
“‘I [the Englishman] told him [the alchemist] what I was seeking, and he asked me if I had ever transformed lead into gold. I told him that was what I had come here to learn. He told me I should tray to do so. That’s all he said: ‘Go and try’” (Coelho 95).
“‘I came to tell you just one thing,’ the boy said. ‘I want you to be my wife. I love you.’ The girl dropped the container, and the water spilled” (Coelho 95).
“The boy looked around him at the date palms. He reminded himself that he had been a shepherd, and that he could be a shepherd again. Fatima was more important than his treasure” (Coelho 95).
“‘You have told me [Fatima] about your dreams, about the old king and your treasure. And you’ve told me about omens. So now, I fear nothing, because it was those dreams that brought you to me. And I am a part of your dream, a part of your Personal Legend, as you call it. That’s why I want you to continue toward your goal. If you have to wait until the war is over, then wait. But if you have to go before then, go on in pursuit of your dream. The dunes are changed by the wind, but the desert never changes. That’s the way it will be with our love for each other. ‘Maktub,’ she said. ‘If I am really a part of your dream, you’ll come back one day’” (Coelho 97).
“Here and there, he found a shell, and realized that the desert, in remote times, had been a sea” (Coelho 99).
“Maybe these desert birds [hawks] could explain to him the meaning of love without ownership” (Coelho 99).
“When you are in love, things make even more sense, he thought. Suddenly, one of the hawks made a flashing dive through the sky, attacking the other. As it did so, a sudden, fleeting image came to the boy: an army, with its swords at the ready, riding into the oasis. The vision vanished immediately, but it had shaken him. He had heard people speak of mirages, and had already seen some himself: they were desires that, because of their intensity, materialized over the sands of the desert. But her certainly didn’t desire that an army invade the oasis” (Coelho 100).
“Once again, he perceived many languages in the things about him: this time, the desert was safe, and it was the oasis that had become dangerous” (Coelho 100).
"They were known as seers, and they were held in fear by women and the elderly. Tribesmen were also way of consulting them, because it would be impossible to be effective in battle if one knew that he was fated to die” (Coelho 101).
“‘If good things are coming, they will be a pleasant surprise,’ said the seer. ‘If bad things are, and you know in advance, you will suffer greatly before they even occur’” (Coelho 102).
“‘When people consult me [the seer], it’s not that I’m reading the future; I am guessing at the future. The future belongs to God, and it is only he who reveals it, under extraordinary circumstances. How do I guess at the future? Based on omens of the present. The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve upon the present, what comes later will also be better. Forget about the future, and live each day according to the teachings, confident that God loves his children. Each day, in itself, brings with it an eternity’” (Coelho 103).
The horseman (alchemist) asks:
“‘Who dares to read the meaning of the flight of the hawks?’” (Coelho 109).
“‘Why did you read the flight of the birds?’” (Coelho 110).
“‘Who are you to change what Allah has willed?’” (Coelho 110).
“‘What is a stranger doing in a strange land?’” (Coelho 111).
“‘I want to see the chieftains. I’ve brought some omens from the desert’” (Coelho 104).
“Suddenly, the elder at the center smiled almost imperceptibly, and the boy felt better” (Coelho 106).
“‘We always observe the tradition. The Tradition saved Egypt from famine in those days, and made the Egyptians the wealthiest of peoples. The Tradition teaches men how to cross the desert, and how their children should marry. The Tradition says that an oasis is neutral territory, because both sides have oases, and so both are vulnerable’ No one said a word as the old man continued. ‘But the tradition also says that we should believe the messages of the desert. Everything we know was taught to us by the desert….Tomorrow, we are going to break the agreement that says that no one at the oasis may carry arms. Throughout the entire day we will be on the lookout for our enemies. When the sun sets, the men will once again surrender their arms to me. For every ten dead men among our enemies, you will receive a piece of gold. But arms cannot be drawn unless they also go into battle. Arms are as capricious as the desert, and, it they are not used, the next time they might not function. If at least one of them hasn’t been used by the end of the day tomorrow, one will be used on you’” (Coelho 107-108).
“He was alarmed by what had happened. He has succeeded in reaching through to the Soul of the World, and now the price for having done so might be his life. It was a frightening bet. But he had been making risky bets ever since the day he had sold his sheep to pursue his Personal Legend. And, as the camel driver had said, to die tomorrow was no worse than dying on any other day. Every day was there to be lived or to mark one’s departure from this world. Everything depended on one word: ‘Maktub.’” (Coelho 108).
“Before him was an enormous white horse, rearing over him with a frightening scream…Astride the animal was a horseman dressed completely in black, with a falcon perched on his left shoulder. He wore a turban and his entire face, except for his eyes, was covered with a black kerchief. He appeared to be a messenger from the desert, but his presence was much more powerful than that of a mere messenger. The strange horseman drew an enormous, curved sword fr4om a scabbard mounted on his saddle. The steel of its blade glittered in the light of the moon. ‘Who dares to read the meaning of the flight of the hawks?’ he demanded, so loudly that his words seemed to echo through the fifty thousand palm trees of Al-Fayoum” (Coelho 109).
“‘Allah created the armies, and he also created the hawks. Allah taught me the language of the birds. Everything has been written by the same hand,’ said the boy, remembering the camel driver’s words” (Coelho 110).
“‘I had to test your courage,’ the stranger said. ‘Courage is the quality most essential to understand the Language of the World.’ The boy was surprised. The stranger was speaking of things that very few people knew about. ‘You must not let up, even after having come so far,’ he continued, ‘You must love the desert, but never trust it completely. Because the desert tests all men: it challenges every step, and kills those who become distracted.’ What he said reminded the boy of the old king. ‘If the warriors come here, and your head is still on your shoulders at sunset, come and find me,’ said the stranger…The boy had met the alchemist” (Coelho 111-112).
“The tribal chieftain called for the boy, and presented him with fifty pieces of gold. He repeated his story about Joseph of Egypt, and asked the boy to become the counselor of the oasis” (Coelho 113).
“Not until the moon was high did the alchemist ride into view. He carried two dead hawks over his shoulder” (Coelho 113).
“‘When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream,’ said the alchemist, echoing the words of the old king. The boy understood. Another person was there to help him toward his Personal Legend” (Coelho 114).
When the boy asks if wine is prohibited there, the alchemist replies, “‘It’s not what enters men’s mouths that is evil…It’s what comes out of their mouths that is’” (Coelho 115).
The alchemist tells Santiago, “‘Tomorrow, sell your camel and buy a horse. Camels are traitorous: they walk thousands of paces and never seem to tire. Then suddenly, they kneel and die. But horses tire bit by bit. You always know how much you can ask of them, and when it is that they are about to die’” (Coelho 116).
The alchemist says, “‘Show me where there is life out there in the desert’” (Coelho 116).
“‘Life attracts life,’ the alchemist answered” (Coelho 117).
“‘I’m going to guide you across the desert,’ the alchemist said” (Coelho 118).
When Santiago tells the alchemist that he wants to stay at the oasis instead of pursuing the treasure, the alchemist leads him through the story of what will happen to him, year by year, if he were to stay. pp. 119-120 Are all important, especially the end:
“‘…what kept you at the oasis was your own fear that you might never come back. At that point, the omens will tell you that your treasure is buried forever. Then sometime during the fourth year, the omens will abandon you, because you’ve stopped listening to them. The tribal chieftains will see that, and you’ll be dismissed from your position as counselor. Bu, by then, you’ll be a rich merchant, with many camels and a great deal of merchandise. You’ll spend the rest of your days knowing that you didn’t pursue your Personal Legend, and that now it’s too late’” (Coelho 119-120).
“‘Don’t say anything,’ Fatima interrupted. ‘One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving’” (Coelho 122).
“‘There is only one way to learn,’ the alchemist answered. ‘It’s through action’” (Coelho 125).
“‘They were only looking for gold,’ his companion answered. ‘They were seeking the treasure of their Personal Legend, without wanting to actually live out the Personal Legend’” (Coelho 125).
“‘I [the alchemist] learned the science from my grandfather, who learned it from his father, and so on. Back to the creation of the world’” (Coelho 126).
“‘The Emerald Tablet is a direct passage to the Soul of the World. The wise men understood that this natural world is only an image and copy of paradise. The existence of this world is simply a guarantee that there exists a world that is perfect….Perhaps, if you [Santiago] were in a laboratory of alchemy, this would be there right time to study the best way to understand the Emerald Tablet. But you are in the desert. So immerse yourself in it. The desert will give you understanding of the world; in fact, anything on the face of the earth will do that. You don’t even have to understand that desert: all you have to do is contemplate a simple grain of sand, and you will see in it all the marvels of creation” (Coelho 127).
“‘What you still need to know is this: before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one ‘dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon’’. ‘Every search begins with beginner’s luck. And every search ends with the victor’s being severely tested.’ The boy remembered an old proverb from his country. It said that the darkest hour of the night came just before the dawn” (Coelho 132).
“The tribesman who was searching the alchemist’s belongings found a small crystal flash filled with a liquid, and a yellow glass egg that was slightly larger than a chicken’s egg. ‘What are these things?’ he asked. ‘That’s the Philosopher’s Stone and the Elixir of Life. It’s the Master Work of the alchemists. Whoever swallows that elixir will never be sick again, and a fragment from that stone turns any metal into gold.’ The Arabs laughed at him, and the alchemist laughed along. They thought his answer was amusing, and they allowed the boy and the alchemist to proceed with all of their belongings” (Coelho 133).
The alchemist says, “‘When you possess great treasures within you, and try to tell others of them, seldom are you believed’” (Coelho 134).
“And his heart told him something else that the boy had never noticed: it told the boy of dangers that had threatened him, but that he had never perceived. His heart said that one time it had hidden the rifle the boy had taken from this father, because of the possibility that the boy might wound himself. And it reminded the boy of the day when he had been ill and vomiting out in the fields, after which he had fallen into a deep sleep. There had been two thieves farther ahead who were planning to steal the boy’s sheep and murder him. But, since the boy hadn’t passed by, they had decided to move on, thinking that had had changed his route” (Coelho 134-35).
“The alchemist sounded angry: ‘Trust in your heart, but never forget that you’re in the desert. When men are at war with one another, the Soul of the World can hear the screams of battle. No one fails to suffer the consequences of everything under the sun.’ All things are one, the boy thought. And then, as if the desert wanted to demonstrate that the alchemist was right, two horsemen appeared from behind the travelers” (Coelho 135).
“Even from a distance, their eyes conveyed the strength of their souls. And their eyes spoke of death” (Coelho 139).
“‘It’s [an alchemist is] a man who understands nature and the world. If he wanted to, he could destroy this camp just with the force of the wind.’ The men laughed. They were used to the ravages of war, and knew that the wind could not deliver them a fatal blow. Yet each felt his heart beat a little bit faster. They were men of the desert, and they were fearful of sorcerers. ‘I want to see him do it,’ said the chief. ‘He [the boy] needs three days,’ answered the alchemist. ‘He is going to transform himself into the wind, just to demonstrate his powers. If he can’t do so, we humbly offer you our lives, for the honor of your tribe’” (Coelho 140).
“‘I’m not afraid of failing. It’s just that I don’t know how to turn myself into the wind.’ ‘Well, you’ll have to learn; your life depends on it.’ ‘But what if I can’t?’ ‘Then you’ll die in the midst of trying to realize your Personal Legend. That’s a lot better than dying like million of other people, who never even knew what their Personal Legends were. But don’t worry,’ the alchemist continued. ‘Usually the threat of death makes people a lot more aware of their lives’” (Coelho 141-42)
“‘Remember what I told you: the world is only the visible aspect of God. And that what alchemy does is to bring spiritual perfection into contact with the material plane’” (Coelho 142).
“‘You’re the one who may die,’ the alchemist added. ‘I already know how to turn myself into the wind’” (Coelho 143).
“‘When you area loved, you can do anything in creation. When you are loved, there’s no need at all to understand what’s happening, because everything happens within you, and even men can turn themselves into the wind. As long as the wind helps, of course’” (Coelho 147).
‘Maybe it’s better to ask heaven.’ ‘Well then, help me do that,’ the boy said. ‘Fill this place with a sandstorm so strong that it blots out of the sun. Then I can look to heaven without blinding myself’” (Coelho 148).
“‘Speak to the hand that wrote all,’ said the sun. The wind screamed with delight, and blew harder than ever. The tents were being blown from their ties to the earth, and the animals were being freed from their tethers. On the cliff, the men clutched at each other as they sought to keep from being blown away. The boy turned to the hand that wrote all. As he did so, he sensed that the universe had fallen silent, and he decided not to speak” (Coelho 151).
“…he could see that not the deserts, nor the winds, nor the sun, nor people knew why they had been created. But that the hand had a reason for all of this, and that only the hand could perform miracles, or transform the sea into a desert…or a man into the wind. Because only the hand understood that it was a larger design that moved the universe to the point at which six days of creation had evolved into a Master Work” (Coelho 152).
“The simum blew that day as it had never blown before. For generations thereafter, the Arabs recounted the legend of a boy who had turned himself into the wind, almost destroying a military camp, in defiance of the most powerful chief in the desert” (Coelho 153).
“The men were terrified at his sorcery. But there were two people who were smiling: the alchemist, because he had found his perfect disciple, and the chief, because that disciple had understood the glory of God. The following day, the general bade the boy and the alchemist farewell, and provided them with an escort party to accompany them as far as they chose” (Coelho 153).
“Toward the end of the afternoon, they came upon a Coptic monastery” (Coelho153).
“There, the alchemist separated the disk [of gold] into four parts” (Coelho 155).
“I’m an old, superstitious Arab, and I believe in our proverbs. There’s one that says, ‘Everything that happens once can happen again. But everything that happens twice will surely happen a third time’” (Coelho 156).
“‘Your son had heard of a rabbi who was able to cure illnesses, and he rode out for days and days in search of this man. Along the way, he learned that the man he was seeking was the Son of God. He met others who had been cured by him, and they instructed your son in the man’s teachings. And so, despite the fact that he was a Roman centurion, he converted to their faith” (Coelho 158).
“‘My Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof. But only speak a word and my servant will be healed’” (Coelho 158).
“You’re not going to die. You’ll live, and you’ll learn that a man shouldn’t be so stupid. Two years ago, right here on this spot, I had a recurrent dream, too. I dreamed that I should travel to the fields of Spain and look for a ruined church where shepherds and their sheep slept. In my dream, there was a sycamore growing out of the ruins of the sacristy, and I was told that, if I dug at the roots of the sycamore, I would find a hidden treasure. But I’m not so stupid as to cross an entire desert just because of a recurrent dream.’ And they disappeared. The boy stood up shakily, and looked once more at the Pyramids. They seemed to be laughing at him, and he laughed back, his heart bursting with joy. Because now he knew where his treasure was” (Coelho 163).