The alchemist, the horseman, tells Santiago that courage is necessary to understand the “Language of the World.”
Santiago is on a quest to find his personal legend. He is a young shepherd who had a dream that a boy brought him to the Egyptian pyramids. Along his quest, he came upon the horseman, who threatened him with a sword and demanded to know why he sought to know what the birds were saying.
When Santiago did not back down, the horseman told him he had proven himself.
"Courage is the quality most essential to understanding the Language of the World." (ch 1)
He tells Santiago that he can’t give up, and he should love the desert but “never trust it completely.” The desert will challenge him. It is not until the horseman leaves that Santiago realizes that he has met the alchemist.
The alchemist tells Santiago that his dreams are prophetic, and that he should not write down prophecies. Santiago feels that he should listen to his dreams and follow thier lead, and he is looking for his Peronsal Legend because he thinks also believes that his dreams mean something.