Along the way he meets many spiritual messengers, who come in unassuming forms such as a camel driver and a well-read Englishman. In one of the Englishman's books, Santiago first learns about the alchemists--men who 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." Of course he does eventually meet an alchemist, and the ensuing student-teacher relationship clarifies much of the boy's misguided agenda, while also emboldening him to stay true to his dreams. "My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer," the boy confides to the alchemist one night as they look up at a moonless night.
"Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself," the alchemist replies. "And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second's encounter with God and with eternity."
"A touching, inspiring fable."--Indianapolis Star
"[This] Brazilian wizard makes books disappear from stores."--New York Times
"A beautiful story with a pointed message for every reader."--Joseph Girzone, author of Joshua
"A most tender and gentle story. It is a rare gem of a book."--Gerald G. Jampolsky, M.D., co-author of Change Our Mind, Change Your Life
"A remarkable tale about the most magical of all journeys: the quest to fulfill one's destiny."--Anthony Robbins, author of Awaken the Giant Within
"An adventure story full of magic and wisdom."--Rudolfo Anaya, author of Bless Me, Ultima
"A magical little volume."--San Francisco Chronicle
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"As memorable and meaningful as Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince."--Austin American-Statesman