What is strange or unusual about Santiago's dream in Coelho's The Alchemist?

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Santiago goes to a gypsy woman for help with interpreting a dream that he has had twice. He learns for the first time of a couple of terms that he learns more about later: the Language of God and the Language of the Soul. She tells him that if God speaks to them in their language, she can do a better job with interpreting those than when God speaks to the soul. 

Santiago then tells her that his dream involves him watching a child play with his herd of sheep. This is strange and makes him a little anxious at first because sheep don't like strangers; but, the sheep seem to be at peace with the child. This is an omen that the child can be trusted because animals can usually sense danger with strangers. This leads the gypsy woman to say the following:

"And this is my interpretation: you must go to the Pyramids in Egypt. I have never heard of them, but, if it was a child who showed them to you, they exist. There you will find a treasure that will make you a rich man"(14).

Children can be symbols of purity and truth, so the gypsy declares that the pyramids and the treasure both exist simply from this. She also tells him that the dream is in the language of the world, so it can be understood with words, but, "It's the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary"(15). This is why the dream seems unusual and why it takes a whole book to understand it.