After Santiago’s time with the crystal merchant he learns lots of skills; but most importantly, he learns how to read omens. Santiago, after he gets robbed needs to find work in Tarfia so he can pursue his personal legend. He decides to work for an old crystal merchant. Santiago cleans the crystal to make them more appealing to customers. The merchant has run the business the same way for 30 years, because he doesn’t like change; yet, Santiago teaches him to accept change. Santiago learns to read omens while working, so he improves the business and it becomes very popular. “One afternoon he had seen a man at the top of the hill, complaining that it was impossible to find a decent place to get something to drink after such a climb. The boy, accustomed to recognizing omens, told the merchant” (58). Santiago wants to sell tea in the crystal. The merchant approves of his idea and the shop’s business starts to explode. Santiago finally makes enough money to buy 120 sheep or go to Egypt. If he hadn’t read this omen he might not have enough money to go on the caravan to Egypt. The experience of working with the merchant teaches Santiago to look closely at life. This new skill leads him to be able to read omens. This skill of reading omens will help Santiago on this journey to the pyramids.
What we learn from the journey
No matter where we go, we always learn. In The Alchemist by Paulo Cohelo we follow a Shepard named Santiago from Andalusia on his journey to find treasure at the Egyptian pyramids. He is trying to realize his Personal Legend. On his way he meets a king, an Englishman, a woman of the desert and an alchemist. They all mentor him and help him find his treasure, but it turns out the real treasure is back where he started. The Alchemist teaches readers lessons about life and how to make sense of it. Specifically, The most important lessons taught by the book, are the lessons taught to Santiago.
During his voyage, Santiago learns about what true love is, and how to talk to his heart. In the Al-Fayoum Oasis, Santiago searches for The Alchemist with the Englishman. On his travels Santiago meets Fatima, a woman of the desert. When they first meet, they lock eyes and communicate with the language of the world. Santiago figures, “the language everyone on earth is capable of understanding in their heart. It was love” (95). With this knowledge Santiago attains, he now knows that just having a crush on someone or even being in a relationship with someone is not what love truly is. Santiago liked the merchant's daughter when he was just a shepard, but it was not true love; However, Fatima is different. She and Santiago connect with the language of the world. They both know that they are destined to be together. Santiago now has a devotion to Fatima, and does not want to leave the oasis; yet, Fatima urges him to pursue his Personal Legend because he can't let love get in the way of his Personal Legend, not even true love should get in his way. Because of Fatima, Santiago learns what true love is, and what extent to pursue it. Along with Santiago understanding what true love is from Fatima, The Alchemist teaches Santiago how to listen to his heart.
While Santiago is traveling with The Alchemist, he is taught how to listen to his heart. On their horses, The Alchemist and Santiago converse, and The Alchemist tells Santiago to listen to his heart because “it knows all things, because it came from the Soul of the world” (132). At first Santiago though his heart was treasonous, but it actually was Santiago that did not trust his heart. When he makes peace with his heart, His heart tells him about himself, about itself, and on the long days of traveling, his heart would talk to him to give him strength and stimulus. Santiago’s heart has always been on his side, no matter what was happening to him. When he was a shepard, his heart had saved him from being murdered by forcing him to stop. Also, when he was a young kid, his heart hid his father's rifle so the boy wouldn’t hurt himself. Santiago masters trusting his heart, and it helps him on the journey. The Alchemist teaches Santiago about his heart; because of Santiago now listening to his heart, his heart mentors him along his journey, and helps him find his treasure.
Experiencing true love and listening to his heart are valuable lessons that help Santiago achieve his Personal Legend and develop his character. Meeting Fatima and developing an understanding of true love grows Santiago’s character and teaches him even when he has true love, it should never get in the way of his personal legend. Furthermore, during Santiago’s trip with The Alchemist, he is taught to listen to his heart; once Santiago achieves companionship with his heart, he is mentored and given strength to realize his personal legend. When one decides to be open to new experiences and lessons, they get an understanding of the world that they never could have achieved beforehand. What people gain from the end of the journey can be valuable; yet, what they gain on the journey likely is more valuable.