Novel Title: The Alchemist
Author: Paulo Coelho
Page: 192 pages
A young shepherd named Santiago, he was from Andalusia. He loves reading book and wandering across pastures in Andalusia and foreign regions with a flock of sheep.
Before he became shepherd, he had attended a seminary until he was sixteen, because his parents had wanted him to become a priest, and thereby a source of pride for a simple farm family. But ever since he had been a child, he had wanted to know the world and wanted to travel. His father said, just for people who have a lot of money to spend that can afford to travel. Amongst the poor, the only ones who travel are the shepherds. So, Santiago made decision, he would be a shepherd.
Santiago had had the same dream twice. He dreamed that he was in a field with his sheep, when a child appeared and began to play with the animals. The child went on playing with his sheep for quite a while and suddenly, the child took him by both hands and transported him to the Egyptian pyramids. The child said to him, “If you come here, you will find a hidden treasure.” And, just as she was about to show him the exact location he had awakened before it ended.
Addition of the dream, Santiago always thinking about a girl, the daughter of a merchant, the place where he sold some wool. He loves the girl.
One day, when Santiago stopped in the town square while reading, on the way towards a dry goods shop where the merchant’s daughter stay, an old man sat down at his side and tried to strike up a conversation. Turns out the old man who was initially a bit annoying it was a king from Salem, named Malchizedek. The king asked Santiago to give him one-tenth of his sheep and he will tell how to find the hidden treasure. Assuredly, the boy was surprised how the old man knew about the dream.
Santiago had suspected that the man was the husband of the forecasters who had he came to interpret the meaning of dreams. He was going to find a way to get much more money in exchange for information about something that didn’t even exist. But, after the old man wrote in the sand of the plaza and the boy read the names of his parents, the name of the seminary he had attended and the things he had never told anyone, Santiago believes in the old man.
The king told about a person’s destiny. It’s what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their destiny is. But, as time passes, a mysterious force like the problems begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their destiny.
Eventually, after the king vanished around the corner of the plaza, Santiago started thinking what the king said and wanted to find his treasure. He also decided to accept the king’s offer to find the hidden treasure.
The next day, the boy met the king with six sheep. Before he went to Pyramids, The king gave him a white stone dan a black stone that called Urim and Thummim from the center of the king’s breastplate. The stone will help him to read the omens during Santiago’s adventure.
And then Santiago arrived in Africa. He was sitting in a bar in the narrow streets of Tangier and met a new friends who stole his money.
In Tangier, he worked at the old crystal shop. A shop at the top of a hilly street where few customers passed. But since Santiago worked there, many customers into the crystal shop. He had been working for the crystal merchant for eleven months. His commission enough to buy himself a hundred and twenty sheep, a return ticket and a license to import products from Africa into his own country.
Santiago asked for the crystal merchant’s blessing to return to his country. But when he said goodbye to the man, he said that Santiago would never buy a sheep. When the boy asked why the man said like that, the man replied, “It’s maktub (it is written).”
On the way home, Santiago kept thinking. Almost a year he worked at the crystal shop to make a dream come true, now he was going back to the fields and to take care of a flock of sheep again? He held Urim and Thummim in his hand, they had transmitted to him the strength and will of the old king. He thought, he could always go back to being a shepherd anytime and he haven’t forgotten how to care for sheep. But, perhaps if not today, he would not get a chance to find his treasure.
In the caravan to the Egypt, he has a friend, the Englishman, who’s very interested in the world of chemistry with the Philosopher’s stone (stone that can make a person live forever). His goal is to the desert to find an alchemist who supposedly had discovered the Philosopher’s Stone and was able to turn any metal into gold.
Santiago learned many lessons from all that he observed during the trip. They are also concerned about a tribal war is going on. So caravan had stopped at the nearest oasis. The oases were always considered to be neutral territories, because the majority of the inhabitants were women and children. The oases as places of refuge.
In this oasis, Al-Fayoum, Santiago met a girl who made him fall in love. Her name is Fatima. They met while Fatima wants to take water from the well, while Santiago was helping the Englishman to find the alchemist.
One night he saw a sign in the sky of the dangers lurking the oasis. The chieftains didn’t believe what his said. Even he would be killed if his words were not proven. It was a frightening bet. But he had no regrets. In a way he was surprised by the arrival of one veiled with a large white horse. He warned Santiago to be careful with his prognostications. He also questioned Santiago about the destiny. After that, he asked Santiago to see him again in his place.
The next day, what Santiago said proved. Five hundreds tribesman attacked the oasis. But all soldiers could be defeated. So, the tribal chieftain presented him with fifty pieces of gold and asked the boy to become the counselor of the oasis.
Santiago went to see the veiled man. He is an alchemist. The alchemist willing to guide Santiago go to Pyramids. Santiago said goodbye to Fatima. She nodded and hope for his return.
They crossed the desert for days. They also briefly detained by one tribe for being a spy. The boy’s money taken without rest. Worse yet, the alchemist said that Santiago is an alchemist and was able to destroy the camp just with the force of the wind.
They wanted to show an alchemist’s power. The alchemist asked for three days to made Santiago transform into wind. If they failed, they’re ready to be killed. But finally helped the desert, the wind and the sun, Santiago could make a miracle. He transformed into the wind and destroyed the camp. So, the following day, they were free.
a long day of riding, they came upon a Coptic monastery. They have parted ways there. The alchemist said that from there Santiago just only three hours from the Pyramids.
Before leaving the alchemist showed Santiago how to transform metal into gold. Then the gold was separated into four parts. One of the parts he gave to Santiago to exchange for the money that was taken when they were detained general.
At the Pyramids, the boy climbed the dune slowly. He cried remembering all the events he has experienced. He was happy the Lord has shown his destiny. He began to dig into the dune appropriate his conscience.
Throughout the night, the boy dug at the place he had chosen, but founf nothing. As he was attempting to pull out the rocks he encountered, he heard footsteps. The people robbed the gold and then beat the boy until he felt that death was near.
Before they left, the leader came back to the boy and said, “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 chruch 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 disapperaed. The boy stood up shakily, and looked once more at the Pyramids seemed to laugh at him. But, Santiago heart burstling with joy because now he knew where his treasure was.
Santiago returned to abandoned church with a shovel. He began to dig at the base of the sycamore until his shovel hit something solid. There was Spanish gold coins, the precious stones etc.
Santiago smiled. He didn’t regret all the adventures. If he didn’t follow those dreams, he wouldn’t have seen the Pyramids. He also wouldn’t have met the girl who he loves, Fatima.
“I’m coming, Fatima,” said Santiago when the wind blows and bring the scent of a perfume he knew well.