What advice did the alchemist give Santiago in The Alchemist?

Expert Answers
Payal Khullar eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Santiago, a young Shepherd from Spain, leaves on a journey to discover his “personal legend” after recurrent prophetic dreams about finding treasure at the foot of the Egyptian pyramid. During the course of his journey into the desert, Santiago meets a horseman, who is no one else but the “alchemist” he had heard about from the Englishman and had been searching for. The alchemist first tests Santiago’s courage by threatening him with his sword. He asks him why he read the birds' omen and dared to defy Allah’s decision. But Santiago does not lose courage and proves himself. He then explains his quest for personal legend to the alchemist. The alchemist shares Santiago’s faith and vision, and tells him that courage is necessary to decode the “Language of the world”. He advises him to listen to his heart, believe in his quest and not give up. Like others, he is not skeptical about his dreams and tells him that they are prophetic and meaningful. He also advises Santiago to love the desert but not “trust it completely”. He asks him to leave his love Fatima for the time being to avoid getting distracted and continue his journey towards the pyramids.