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1) "I'm surprised," the boy said. "My friend bought all the other sheep immediately. He said that he had
always dreamed of being a shepherd, and that it was a good omen."
2) Before the boy could reply, a butterfly appeared and fluttered between him and the old man. He remembered something his grandfather had once told him: that butterflies were a good omen. Like crickets, and like expectations; like lizards and four-leaf clovers.
"That's right," said the old man, able to read the boy's thoughts. "Just as your grandfather taught you.
These are good omens."
3) The old man had spoken about signs and omens, and, as the boy was crossing the strait, he had thought
about 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
4) The boy's very presence in the shop was an omen, and, as time passed and money was pouring into the cash drawer, he had no regrets about having hired the boy. 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 soon return to his sheep.
5) "Everything in life is an omen," said the Englishman, now closing the journal he was reading. "There is a
universal language, understood by everybody, but already forgotten. I am in search of that universal
language, among other things. That's why I'm here. I have to find a man who knows that universal
language. An alchemist."