In the Alchemist, how does the boy meet Fatima?

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I need to give a little bit of backstory in order to explain the circumstances in which Santiago meets Fatima.  

Earlier in the novel, Santiago is pursuing his Personal Legend.  Unfortunately he got robbed.  Santiago was forced to take on work with a crystal merchant.  Both men learn from each other, but Santiago's teachings pay off financially.  The merchant and Santiago gain a large amount of wealth.  With his new financial stability, Santiago continues searching for his Personal Legend.  His next destination is the pyramids, so he joins a caravan traveling in that direction. 

Santiago meets an Englishman travelling in this caravan.  The man is studying to be an alchemist, and he wants to learn from a master alchemist, who lives at an oasis.  Unfortunately for Santiago, the caravan is forced to stop at the alchemist's oasis in order to avoid warring tribes.  The Englishman enlists Santiago to help him search the oasis.  Santiago asks a few people, but none of them know anything about an alchemist.  That is until Fatima shows up at the well.  Santiago is immediately love struck by her beauty.  

At that moment, it seemed to him that time stood still, and the Soul of the World surged within him. When he looked into her dark eyes, and saw that her lips were poised between a laugh and silence, he learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke—the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love.

At the Englishman's prodding, Santiago finally asks Fatima about the alchemist.  She tells the Englishman where to go, fills her water vessel, and walks away.