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The Alchemist

by

The Alchemist Cover

ISBN13: 9780062502186
ISBN10: 0062502182
Condition: Standard
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Excerpt

Part One

The boy's name was Santiago. Dusk was falling as the boy arrived with his herd at an abandoned church. The roof had fallen in long ago, and an enormous sycamore had grown on the spot where the sacristy had once stood.

He decided to spend the night there. He saw to it that all the sheep entered through the ruined gate, and then laid some planks across it to prevent the flock from wandering away during the night. There were no wolves in the region, but once an animal had strayed during the night, and the boy had had to spend the entire next day searching for it.

He swept the floor with his jacket and lay down, using the book he had just finished reading as a pillow. He told himself that he would have to start reading thicker books: they lasted longer, and made more comfortable pillows.

It was still dark when he awoke, and, looking up, he could see the stars through the half-destroyed roof.

I wanted to sleep a little longer, he thought. He had the same dream that night as a week ago, and once again he had awakened before it ended.

He arose and, taking up his crook, began to awaken the sheep that still slept. He had noticed that, as soon as he awoke, most of his animals also began to stir. It was as if some mysterious energy bound his life to that of the sheep, with whom he had spent the past two years, leading them through the countryside in search of food and water. "They are so used to me that they know my schedule," he muttered. Thinking about that for a moment, he realized that it could be the other way around: that it was he who had become accustomed to "their" schedule.

But there were certain of them who took a bit longer to awaken. The boyprodded them, one by one, with his crook, calling each by name. He had always believed that the sheep were able to understand what he said. So there were times when he read them parts of his books that had made an impression on him, or when he would tell them of the loneliness or the happiness of a shepherd in the fields. Sometimes he would comment to them on the things he had seen in the villages they passed.

But for the past few days he had spoken to them about only one thing: the girl, the daughter of a merchant who lived in the village they would reach in about four days. He had been to the village only once, the year before.The merchant was the proprietor of a dry goods shop, and he always demanded that the sheep be sheared in his presence, so that he would not be cheated. A friend had told the boy about the shop, and he had taken his sheep there.

"I need to sell some wool," the boy told the merchant. The shop was busy, and the man asked the shepherd to wait until the afternoon. So the boy sat on the steps of the shop and took a book from his bag.

"I didn't know shepherds knew how to read," said a girl's voice behind him.

The girl was typical of the region of Andalusia, with flowing black hair, and eyes that vaguely recalled the Moorish conquerors.

"Well, usually I learn more from my sheep than from books," he answered. During the two hours that they talked, she told him she was the merchant's daughter, and spoke of life in the village, where each day was like all the others. The shepherd told her of the Andalusian countryside, and related the news from the other towns where he had stopped. It was a pleasant change from talking to his sheep.

"How did youlearn to read?" the girl asked at one point.

"Like everybody learns," he said. "In school."

"Well, if you know how to read, why are you just a shepherd?"

The boy mumbled an answer that allowed him to avoid responding to her question.He was sure the girl would never understand. He went on telling stories about his travels, and her bright, Moorish eyes went wide with fear and surprise. As the time passed, the boy found himself wishing that the day would never end, that her father would stay busy and keep him waiting for three days. He recognized that he was feeling something he had never experienced before: the desire to live in one place forever. With the girl with the raven hair, his days would never be the same again.

But finally the merchant appeared, and asked the boy to shear four sheep. He paid for the wool and asked the shepherd to come back the following year.

And now it was only four days before he would be back in that same village. He was excited, and at the same time uneasy: maybe the girl had already forgotten him. Lots of shepherds passed through, selling their wool.

"It doesn't matter," he said to his sheep. "I know other girls in other places."

But in his heart he knew that it did matter. And he knew that shepherds, like seamen and like traveling salesmen, always found a town where there was someone who could make them forget the joys of carefree wandering.

The day was dawning, and the shepherd urged his sheep in the direction of the sun. They never have to make any decisions, he thought. Maybe that's why they always stay close to me.

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writermala, July 17, 2013 (view all comments by writermala)
This book is about much more than a Shepard boy and his quest for treasure - it is a book about life; your life and mine. Nobody who starts reading about Santiago's adventures can remain unmoved. The Alchemist for me was an adventure, a romance and a simple guide to philosophy and spirituality all rolled into one easy reading book. I learned so much from this book that I'm buying Coelho's other books. Alchemist is a keeper And a must own for any personal library.
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Darije, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by Darije)
This is a great book! Heart warming and reminds you that everything is possible if you set your mind to it. Please read the book. You will not be disappointed.
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(5 of 10 readers found this comment helpful)
noonjava66, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by noonjava66)
At a time in my life when my faith had been challenged, tried, and tested; a friend gave me this jewel. It saved my life.
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(1 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780062502186
Author:
Coelho, Paulo
Publisher:
HarperSanFrancisco
Translator:
Clarke, Alan R.
Location:
San Francisco
Subject:
Religious
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Picture books for children
Subject:
Fables
Subject:
Shepherds
Subject:
Alchemists.
Subject:
Andalusia
Copyright:
Edition Description:
1st HarperCollins pbk. ed.
Series:
Insight
Series Volume:
108-17
Publication Date:
19950510
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
192
Dimensions:
8.16x5.30x.49 in. .33 lbs.

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The Alchemist Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.50 In Stock
Product details 192 pages HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS - English 9780062502186 Reviews:
"Review" by , "A wise and inspiring fable about the pilgrimage that life should be."
"Review" by , "[I]t's an interdenominational, transcendental, inspirational fable — in other words, a bag of wind....A message clings like ivy to every encounter; everyone, but everyone, has to put in their two cents' worth....The absence of characterization and overall blandness suggest authorship by a committee of self-improvement pundits."
"Review" by , "Abeautiful story with a pointed message for every reader."
"Synopsis" by , At last — the unabridged recording of this timeless bestseller that has sold millions. "To realize one's destiny is a person's only obligation". This quote taken from The Alchemist sums up what the book is all about. The journey that life should be, is lived by a simple shepherd who finds that life's gifts lie within us all.
"Synopsis" by , Paulo Coelho's enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world, and this tenth anniversary edition, with a new introduction from the author, will only increase that following. This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and inspiring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasures found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.
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