The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho: book summary. The Alchemist is a novel written by Paulo Coelho, a Brazilian writer. The book is first written in Portuguese. And later translated into various languages.
The Alchemist ( someone who transforms things for the better or who changes lead into gold) is a story of a young shepherd boy Santiago.
His journey from Spain to Egypt in search of treasure. After recurring dreams of finding treasure there. When he was sleeping in the room of the old church.
This story is about the lesson. He read during the journey. How does he know about himself? About his love and destiny. And in the end, he experienced the strength of God. And how the alchemist of his life guides him to find his destiny.
According to me, this story is not only full of adventure, excitement, and surprises. But also teach us the philosophy of life.
How to tackle the problems and come out from the confusion? How to save yourself from distraction and continue your journey, until you do not find your goal?
About the author.
Paulo Coelho is a Brazilian writer. He wrote the alchemist novel in two weeks in 1987. The main book theme was to find one’s destiny. According to the New York Times, this book is more related to self-help than literature. He is a lyricist and novelist and a member of the Brazilian Academy of letters since 2002. He had published more than 28 books since then.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho: book summary.
In the Alchemist part I
This story is about a shepherd boy. Who’s name was Santiago. He lived in the Andalusian region of Spain. He traveled to several places to feed his sheep. In the search for grass and water, he was going to the hinterland area. For better feeding of his sheep. In that area the day was warm and the night was cold.
So he kept a jacket to protect him from the cold at night. But because the day was warm, he carried the jacket in his bag. Which is a very boring task for him.
But he always said, ” we have to always be ready to face all the challenges, maybe it’s day or night”
His family wanted Santiago to pursue his career as a priest. But he wanted to be a traveler. So he traveled with his sheep to different parts of the country.
One day he was sleeping in an old church broken room. Under a big sycamore tree. He had a dream two times.
So he went to meet a Gipsy lady in the town of Tarifa. To understand the meaning of his dream. She told him that he had to go to the pyramid of Egypt. Where he found treasure. But for this, he has to give her 10% of the treasure as a fee.
Santiago takes it lightly and walks around the city. Where he met an old man. First, he did not want to talk with him. But after talking with him for a few minutes. His wisdom inspired him.
He told Santiago that he helped the people to find their destiny. Because Santiago accepts his defeat before searching for the treasure. He came to help Santiago to find his destiny.
He told Santiago that he was the king of Salem, and he helped him to find treasure. But for this, he wanted a 10% share of his sheep.
That night was very hard for Santiago. On one side his destiny was waiting and on the other side, he had fear of losing everything for making a dream right.
The next day Santiago was ready to mate with the old man. Santiago gave him 10% of the share of his sheep. In the replacement of his share.
The old man gave him two stones, one was white and another was black. He told Santiago that the stone helped him to choose the right alternative. When he was confused.
And advised her that if he saw a good omen. It gave him help to find his destiny.
Suddenly, a butterfly flies over her face of Santiago. That was a good omen.
So, he started his journey and reached a place in Africa named tangier. Where he sits in a bar and thinks about his journey. Suddenly a stranger comes and starts talking to him in Spanish. What he did here.
This was a good omen. He told him all his story and asked him to guide him on his journey to the pyramid.
The stranger agreed and told Santiago that for his service he takes money. Santiago agreed and handed over some gold coins. But he was a fraud. After taking the money. He vanished into the crowded street of the city.
This incident broke their back of Santiago and pushed him to take his step back. He was now standing on a two-way road. One goes to his native place and the other goes towards his destiny.
He was very sad. Then suddenly, he remembered those two stones. When he took those stones out of his pocket, he remembered the old man.
That old man said, “If you want something with your heart, all this universe helps you to get it.”
Seeing those two stones, Santiago felt that the old man was with him as a spirit and guided him. And inspired them to move forward in his quest.
Despite losing his money, Santiago didn’t give up. And somehow managed to survive in that strange city with the experience of his shepherdess.
Now his self-belief and confidence became even stronger. One day in search of a job. He met with a crystal seller.
Santiago told the crystal seller. What if he feeds him, he can do some work for him in return? So the crystal seller made him lunch. And then in return. He cleaned the glassware kept in his shop.
When he was cleaning the glassware. At the same time, two customers came to the shop and bought some items. Because the shop owner also believed in Omen, he hired Santiago forever.
But He didn’t want to work, he needed money to go to the pyramids. When he told about his dream and what he wanted to the crystal seller.
Hearing this, the crystal seller laughed and said, The pyramids are thousands of kilometers from there. So he needed a lot of money to go there.
After hearing the words of the crystal seller. Santiago’s intentions started changing, he thought. Why not work and earn so much money that he can go back to his native place?
But one thing which was in his favour. Maybe to return to his native place or continue his journey towards his destiny. For both, he had needed money.
So he started work in the crystal seller shop. For earning more money. He wanted to make a separate counter for the crystal. So he asked the seller for his permission. Because the crystal seller was also sympathetic to him. He gave the idea that. He can start serving the tea in crystal glass.
So he accepted his advice and started working on it. The startup was hit, in a few months. Santiago earns a lot of money.
Now he has earned enough money that he can easily go back to his native place. But before he returns. He wanted to mate with the crystal seller and took his blessing.
So, he met with the seller and took his blessing. When he returned. The seller told him that. He could not reach his home.
The Alchemist part II
The word of the seller put Santiago in confusion. That’s what he did. So he put the two stones out of his pocket. And remember all the past incidents.
He thinks he could return to his native place anytime. But if he does not follow his dream or destiny today. He could never do it.
So, he changed his mind and continued his journey toward the pyramid. He reached a warehouse. Where he met with an Englishman. Who was the same as Santiago in many things?
The man also recognized the two stones that Santiago had. This was another omen for Santiago. Then both of them started walking together with a convoy going to Egypt. Whose leader was a man with a big beard?
That convoy was passing through a desert. There was a lot of movement in the convoy at first. But then everyone started walking silently.
During the journey, Santiago became friends with his camel driver. And both of them started telling each other about their respective lives. Both realized a philosophical truth.
They felt that Destiny had planned everything. Because everything in life is related to something else.
In the middle of the journey, he also used to meet Bedouins. Who were the Mysterious Protector Tribe of the Desert? They would disappear again after alarming them about the desert bandits and impending dangers.
Once he also got the information that there was going to be a war between the tribes. To hear the news, all the people were scared. But it was no longer possible to return. The only possible way is to keep moving forward.
As the convoy progressed. The Englishman started taking interest in the desert and Santiago in his book. But after a lot of reading Santiago gets confused. Because of the symbols in the book.
He did not easily understand it. So he wanted someone to easily understand the meaning of the symbol to him. He asked the Englishman for this.
But the Englishman said that Higher knowledge comes to those who give it a lot of time and effort.
Slowly-slowly the convoy progressed. Without stopping day or night. Finally, they reach the oasis. Where the head of Oasis agreed to shelter them.
The next day the Englishman and Santiago went to the town to search for the alchemist. When they came near a well. They saw three or four women in black cloth having a conversation.
Someone told Santiago that in an oasis. Talking with a married woman was prohibited. So they waited there for someone. Who gave them some clue about the alchemist?
After some time he saw an unmarried woman coming towards the well. She was so beautiful that Santiago kept looking at her. And then for the first time, he understood the language of love. Which is spoken in the same way all over the world.
His heart was witnessing that both of them were made for each other. When asked by Santiago, the girl gave her name as Fatima.
Now every day he used to visit her at the well for fifteen minutes. Which had become his essential part of life. Then soon the news also started to come. That the Tribal War is going to go on for a long time. And till it does not end, they cannot leave the oasis.
Now he had no choice but to stay in the oasis. And he might have to spend many more years there. On the other side, the love between Santiago and Fatima was rising. Both had come very close now.
Santiago had told him everything about his life, even about the treasure. Fatima told him not to stop looking for the treasure. There were two roads in front of him.
Either he stays in the oasis and finds answers to their questions or they take the path of the desert. But once again he set out in search of this treasure.
By this time it was quite dark. Then he saw another omen. Two hawks were flying over him when one attacked the other. At that time, he had entered the soul of this world, due to which the interpretation of that omen was that Oasis would be attacked.
He told this to his camel driver. Who asked him to go and tell this to the chief of the Oasis. So Santiago went and told this to the chief. The chief consulted his colleagues and thought of testing the truth of this news. The chief told Santiago that the next day.
Everyone would be ready for the war. If the attack came true. Then Santiago would be rewarded. And if his word turns out to be a lie. Then Santiago will have to lose his life in return.
Santiago accepted this decision as his Destiny. Then when he started going back. He found a horseman who was very surprised.
When he asked Santiago about the secret of the omen. Santiago told him everything very bravely. And also told him that he did not know the prediction. It is only his voice of the soul.
The horseman seemed satisfied with this answer. He let him go and told everyone. That the courage of this boy is the key. By which the language of this world can be understood.
Hearing such deep words of that horseman, Santiago remembered the old king. From this small gesture of that horseman. He came to know that he was the alchemist.
If he survived the attack, then Santiago had to meet him. Five Hundred Horsemen surrounded the Oasis the next day.
But the residents of Oasis were also fully prepared and in just half an hour all the attackers except their leader were killed. The leader was brought to the chief for questioning and hanged.
Santiago was given 50 coins of gold and offered the post of counselor in battles. The battle was over. Santiago went to meet the horseman (the alchemist). In his tent, where he was invited for dinner.
While during the conversation Santiago told that. He found Fatima as a treasure. By interrupting him the alchemist (the horseman) told that. He did not find Fatima from the pyramid. So she was not a treasure.
He also advised that he buy a horse. Which is more dependable than camels. The next night they started their journey. The alchemist ( the horseman) told him to lead in the desert.
In the beginning, he was facing difficulty. But after some time he knew the reality. Wherever you find your way, go ahead. After a lot of travel, his horse reached a spot. where they found a life frame in the form of a snake. That was the sign the alchemist wanted to see.
The alchemist was committed to guiding Santiago to his destination or treasure. But Santiago was engulfed in the love of Fatima.
The alchemist advises him that, for some time, his life was going well. But if he did not find the treasure, after some time in his life. He will face different types of miseries.
Because it was written in his destiny that. He should search for the treasure. So they once again come to the oasis to spend the night.
The full night, Santiago was thinking about it. What he did. But finally, he decides to follow his dream and inform the alchemist about it.
In the morning before the sun was rising they started their journey. And thus walking with great care. And protect themselves from the tribe war.
They came very close to his journey. Where a large stretch of desert was spread over. where a great battle was going on.
During the entire journey, Santiago had many conflicting moments in front of him. Sometimes he was happy. When he was lost in the dream of Fatima. And sometimes he was dismal. When his dream was broken. He told this to the Alchemist.
The alchemist used to listen to him very carefully and had good counseling. So that Santiago would talk to him openly and feel good.
The alchemist told him that if Fatima is his destiny, he will find him. Because he was moving toward his destiny. And every moment of it mattered to him. The alchemist always motivated him.
Till now he had learned many things from his experience. Whatever he was today, wherever he was, it was because of his learning.
All this was also a part of the bigger planning of life, this planning was written by unseen hands. Who writes the planning of everyone’s life? He learned that the fear of traveling and failure is greater than actual traveling and failure.
Knowing all this, now Santiago’s mind was calm. When he shared all this with the Alchemist, she said that now she is fully prepared for her destiny.
But he still had to give Santiago one last lesson. And this lesson was “He had to be prepared to test what he’s learned so far”.
So whatever lessons we have learned. Should be completely absorbed in us for the rest of our life. And then soon, the day of the test came near.
They were surrounded by a tribe. The tribes took them to their chief and started interrogation. To save their lives, the alchemist gave all the gold of Santiago to those people.
And also said that Santiago has such power that he will show to become air. And if this does not happen. Then those people can kill him in three days. Now, this thing has become too much for Santiago. He was very afraid of what would happen next.
At the end of the first day, Santiago told the alchemist that. He did not know how to become air. The alchemist replied that. It is his problem because he knows this magic.
On the second day, Santiago sat on top of a mountain all day long. And kept talking to the desert. When the time came to show his magic on the third day. He requested Desert for help.
Desert asked him some questions, which Santiago answered with great courage. Desert agreed to give him his sand. And asked him to request air. When Santiago asked air for help, air also asked some questions. And Santiago answered those questions in the same way.
He convinced the air that it would move so fast. That he could take help from the sky. The air obeyed and started blowing loudly.
Santiago again talked to Sun and convinced him to shine brighter too. Sun asked him to talk to the hands who wrote all this. Now that boy started making prayers.
His prayer was silent, but his heart was connected to God. He realized the power of the Soul of God. And also realized that the Soul of God is present in him too.
He understood the secret that no one individually knows. What to do, because the whole plan is written by the hands of those Supreme Powers.
And he has written a plan for everyone. Some people understand this. And those who do not understand become fuzzy.
When Santiago came to know about this secret. He understood that there is no difference between him and the hands. That wrote his destiny. After realization, they have become one.
And as soon as it was indicated to him, he showed himself by hanging himself in the air with the help of the above. Everyone was surprised and Santiago won the bet.
He and the Alchemist were released and given guards to accompany them. Who they could carry as far as they could.
On the way, they reached a Montessori. Where they said goodbye to the guards and went ahead.
The Alchemist showed him a path. And Both got separated from there. The Alchemist returned to the Oasis and Santiago continued in search of the treasure.
He was listening to his heart and kept moving forward. And finally, he reached the pyramids. Seeing his destination, he cried, and where his tears fell.
He saw a beetle. which was considered a symbol of God in that area. Santiago felt this was another omen and started digging there. And started to dig deep but nothing came out.
Then some tribesmen came there. Who was returning after saving their lives from the war? They looted all the gold. The Alchemist had given him as a parting gift. They also beat up Santiago. And asked him to dig deeper.
When Santiago told them that. He had seen the treasure buried here in the dream. Then those people felt that. They would not get anything here. Because dreams never come true.
On his way, the chief of the tribesmen told him that. He too had a dream that treasure was hidden inside a Spanish church. Where a sycamore tree had grown in a broken room.
Saying this, the Chief and his companions left from there. The boy started laughing with joy. Because it was the place where he had dreamed of the treasure of Egypt.
So he dreams about the treasure sleeping on it. But the way to get it was so long, he had to first reach the pyramids and then find out about it through someone else.
If he had not followed his destiny, he probably would never have found the treasure that was hidden in his own country. And also the treasure of learning from his experience.
Santiago went to the Church of Spain and dug up the treasure. Then he went to the gypsy lady. From that, he had promised to give 10%. After that, he felt that fragrance in the air.
Which he knew very well and which was just sitting on his lips as a memory. This fragrance belonged to Fatima. He cried out to his love very loudly “I am coming, Fatima!”.
Best of luck.