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The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
 Rain (W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM)
 GENEALOGY OF A KISS (A Play in One Act by Scott C. Sickles)
 Three men in a boat (Jerome Klapka Jerome)
 

The boy rode along through the desert

The boy rode along through the desert for several hours, listening avidly to what his heart had to say. It was his heart that would tell him where his treasure was hidden.

Where your treasure is, there also will be your heart, the alchemist had told him.

But his heart was speaking of other things. With pride, it told the story of a shepherd who had left his flock to follow a dream he had on two different occasions. It told of destiny, and of the many men who had wandered in search of distant lands or beautiful women, confronting the people of their times with their preconceived notions. It spoke of journeys, discoveries, books, and change.

As he was about to climb yet another dune, his heart whispered, Be aware of the place where you are brought to tears. Thats where I am, and thats where your treasure is.

The boy climbed the dune slowly. A full moon rose again in the starry sky: it had been a month since he had set forth from the oasis. The moonlight cast shadows through the dunes, creating the appearance of a rolling sea; it reminded the boy of the day when that horse had reared in the desert, and he had come to know the alchemist. And the moon fell on the deserts silence, and on a mans journey in search of treasure.

When he reached the top of the dune, his heart leapt. There, illuminated by the light of the moon and the brightness of the desert, stood the solemn and majestic Pyramids of Egypt.

The boy fell to his knees and wept. He thanked God for making him believe in his destiny, and for leading him to meet a king, a merchant, an Englishman, and an alchemist. And above all for his having met a woman of the desert who had told him that love would never keep a man from his destiny.

If he wanted to, he could now return to the oasis, go back to Fatima, and live his life as a simple shepherd. After all, the alchemist continued to live in the desert, even though he understood the Language of the World, and knew how to transform lead into gold. He didnt need to demonstrate his science and art to anyone. The boy told himself that, on the way toward realizing his own destiny, he had learned all he needed to know, and had experienced everything he might have dreamed of.

But here he was, at the point of finding his treasure, and he reminded himself that no project is completed until its objective has been achieved. The boy looked at the sands around him, and saw that, where his tears had fallen, a scarab beetle was scuttling through the sand. During his time in the desert, he had learned that, in Egypt, the scarab beetles are a symbol of God.

Another omen! The boy began to dig into the dune. As he did so, he thought of what the crystal merchant had once said: that anyone could build a pyramid in his backyard. The boy could see now that he couldnt do so if he placed stone upon stone for the rest of his life.

Throughout the night, the boy dug at the place he had chosen, but found nothing. He felt weighted down by the centuries of time since the Pyramids had been built. But he didnt stop. He struggled to continue digging as he fought the wind, which often blew the sand back into the excavation. His hands were abraded and exhausted, but he listened to his heart. It had told him to dig where his tears fell.

As he was attempting to pull out the rocks he encountered, he heard footsteps. Several figures approached him. Their backs were to the moonlight, and the boy could see neither their eyes nor their faces.

What are you doing here? one of the figures demanded.

Because he was terrified, the boy didnt answer. He had found where his treasure was, and was frightened at what might happen.

Were refugees from the tribal wars, and we need money, the other figure said. What are you hiding there?

Im not hiding anything, the boy answered.

But one of them seized the boy and yanked him back out of the hole. Another, who was searching the boys bags, found the piece of gold.

Theres gold here, he said.

The moon shone on the face of the Arab who had seized him, and in the mans eyes the boy saw death.

Hes probably got more gold hidden in the ground.

They made the boy continue digging, but he found nothing. As the sun rose, the men began to beat the boy. He was bruised and bleeding, his clothing was torn to shreds, and he felt that death was near.

What good is money to you if youre going to die? Its not often that money can save someones life, the alchemist had said. Finally, the boy screamed at the men, Im digging for treasure! And, although his mouth was bleeding and swollen, he told his attackers that he had twice dreamed of a treasure hidden near the Pyramids of Egypt.

The man who appeared to be the leader of the group spoke to one of the others: Leave him. He doesnt have anything else. He must have stolen this gold.

The boy fell to the sand, nearly unconscious. The leader shook him and said, Were leaving.

But before they left, he came back to the boy and said, Youre not going to die. Youll live, and youll learn that a man shouldnt be so stupid. Two years ago, right here on this spot, I had a recurrent dream, too. I dreamed that I should travel to the fields of Spain and look for a ruined church where shepherds and their sheep slept. In my dream, there was a sycamore growing out of the ruins of the sacristy, and I was told that, if I dug at the roots of the sycamore, I would find a hidden treasure. But Im not so stupid as to cross an entire desert just because of a recurrent dream.

And they disappeared.

The boy stood up shakily, and looked once more at the Pyramids. They seemed to laugh at him, and he laughed back, his heart bursting with joy.

Because now he knew where his treasure was.

 

 


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Contents

The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
 Translated by Alan R. Clarke
 - PART ONE
 - I need to sell some wool...
 - And now it was only four days...
 - People from all over...
 - The old woman led the boy to a room...
 - Im the king of Salem...
 - The boy began again to read his book
 - At the highest point in Tarifa
 - He was shaken into wakefulness by someone
 PART TWO
 - The boy had been working for the crystal...
 - Two more months passed
 - The boy went to his room and
 - The Englishman was sitting on a bench
 - Im the leader of the caravan
 - They were strange books
 - The caravan began to travel day and night
 - The boy couldnt believe what he was seeing
 - The boy approached the guard
 - Next morning, there were two thousand
 - The following night, the boy appeared
 - The boy spent a sleepless night
 - They crossed the desert for another two days in silence
 - On the following day, the first clear sign
 - The sun was setting when the
 - The first day passed
 - The simum blew that day as it had never blown before
 - I want to tell you a story about dreams
 The boy rode along through the desert
 - Epilogue