The Alchemist (Coelho)

In what ways is Santiago being tested as a result of his division to trust his intuition and tell the tribal chieftains what he has seen?

Disturbed by the omen, Santiago decides to tell the chief of the desert tribes about it

Asked by
Last updated by jill d #170087
Answers 1
Add Yours

Santiago tells the chiefs and, after some deliberation, they decide to ready themselves for war - even though this is against the tradition of the oasis, which is usually considered neutral ground. The chiefs make a stipulation: if the enemy arrives, the chief will give Santiago a piece of gold for every 10 enemies slain; if Santiago's vision is wrong, he will be killed. Walking home from his meeting with the chiefs Santiago is pensive but sure that he has made the right decision. Suddenly, he is assailed by a man with a falcon on his shoulder, dressed all in black, riding a white horse. The man holds a sword to Santiago's head and demands to know how he knew of the coming of the army. Santiago, frightened, explains to the man about the omens of the desert and his Personal Legend, concluding that he had no choice. The man understands completely, to Santiago's surprise, and takes his leave, telling Santiago to come see him if he survives the coming days. As the horseman rides away, Santiago realizes that he has just met the alchemist.

The next day, 500 armed tribesmen enter the oasis as Santiago has predicted. The men of the oasis, duly warned, kill all of the intruders and the chieftain of the oasis awards Santiago 50 pieces of gold and asks him to become the oasis's counselor.

That night, Santiago seeks out the alchemist and finds his tent. The alchemist tells Santiago to prove that he can read the language of omens by finding life in the desert. Santiago trusts his horse to guide him to life, and they find a snake which the alchemist neutralizes with a spell. Satisfied, the alchemist offers to lead Santiago across the desert to the treasure. Santiago is conflicted because he wants to stay at the oasis with Fatima. The alchemist responds that "love never keeps a man from pursuing his personal legend. If he abandons that pursuit, it's because it wasn't true love...the love speaks the Language of the World." (120) Santiago decides to leave the next day with the alchemist.