Here is the last extract from The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho that I will post.
They crossed the desert for another two days in silence. The alchemist had
become much more cautious, because they were approaching the area where the
most violent battles were being waged. As they moved along, the boy tried to
listen to his heart.
It was not easy to do; in earlier times, his heart had always been ready to
tell its story, but lately that wasn't true. There had been times when his
heart spent hours telling of its sadness, and at other times it became so
emotional over the desert sunrise that the boy had to hide his tears. His heart
bet fastest when it spoke to the boy of treasure, and more slowly when the boy
stared entranced at the endless horizons of the desert. But his heart was never
quiet, even when the boy and the alchemist had fallen into silence.
"Why do we have to listen to our hearts?" the boy asked, when they had made
camp that day.
"Because, wherever your heart is, that is where you'll find your
"But my heart is agitated," the boy said. "It has its dreams, it gets
emotional, and it's become passionate over a woman of the desert. It asks
things of me, and it keeps me from sleeping many nights, when I'm thinking
"Well, that's good. Your heart is alive. Keep listening to what it has to
During the next three days the two travelers passed by a number of armed
tribesmen, and saw others on the horizon. The boy's heart began to speak of
fear. It told him stories it had heard from the Soul of the World, stories of
men who sought to find their treasure and never succeeded. Sometimes it
frightened the boy with the idea that he might not find his treasure, or that
he might die there in the desert. At other times, it told the boy that it was
satisfied: it had found love and riches.
"My heart is a traitor," the boy said to the alchemist, when they had paused
to rest the horses. "It doesn't want me to go on."
"That makes sense," the alchemist answered. "Naturally it's afraid that, in
pursuing your dream, you might lose everything you've won."
"Well, then, why should I listen to my heart?"
"Because you will never again be able to keep it quiet. Even if you pretend
not to have heard what it tells you, it will always be there inside you,
repeating to you what you're thinking about life and about the world."
"You mean I should listen, even if it's treasonous?"
"Treason is a blow that comes unexpectedly. If you know your heart well, it
will never be able to do that to you. Because you'll know its dreams and
wishes, and will know how to deal with them."
"You will never be able to escape from your heart. So it's better to listen
to what it has to say. That way you'll never have to fear an unanticipated
The boy continued to listen to his heart as they crossed the desert. He came
to understand its dodges and tricks, and to accept it as it was. He lost his
fear, and forgot about his need to go back to the oasis, because, one
afternoon, his heart told him that it was happy. "Even though I complain
sometimes," it said, "it's because I'm the heart of a person, and people's
hearts are that way. People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams,
because they feel that they don't deserve them, or that they'll be unable to
achieve them. We, their hearts, become fearful just thinking of loved ones who
go away forever, or of moments that could have been good but weren't, or of
treasures that might have been found but were forever hidden in the sands.
Because, when these things happen, we suffer terribly."
"My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer," the boy told the alchemist
one night as they looked up at the moonless sky.
"Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering
itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its
dreams, because every second of the search is a second's encounter with God and
"Every second of the search is an encounter with God," the boy told his
heart. "When I have been truly searching for my treasure, every day has been
luminous, because I've known that every hour was part of the dream that I would
find it. When I have been truly searching for my treasure, I've discovered
things along the way that I never would have seen had I not had the courage to
try things that seemed impossible for a shepherd to achieve."
So his heart was quiet for an entire afternoon. That night, the boy slept
deeply, and, when he awoke, his heart began to tell him things that came from
the Soul of the World. It said that all people who are happy have God within
them. And that happiness could be found in a grain of sand from the desert, as
the alchemist had said. Because a grain of sand is a moment of creation, and
the universe has taken millions of years to create it. "Everyone on earth has a
treasure that awaits him," his heart said. "We, people's hearts, seldom say
much about those treasures, because people no longer want to go in search of
them. We speak of them only to children. Later, we simply let life proceed, in
its own direction, toward its own fate. But, unfortunately, very few people
follow the path laid out for them - the path to their destinies, and to
happiness. Most people see the world as a threatening place, and because they
do, the world turns out, indeed, to be a threatening place.
"So, we, their hearts, speak more and more softly. We never stop speaking
out, but we begin to hope that our words won't be heard: we don't want people
to suffer because they don't follow their hearts."
"Why don't people's hearts tell them to continue to follow their dreams?"
the boy asked the alchemist.
"Because that's what make a heart suffer most, and hearts don't like to
From then on, the boy understood his heart. He asked it, please, never stop
speaking to him. He asked that, when he wandered far from his dreams, his heart
press him and sound the alarm. The boy swore that, every time he heard the
alarm, he would heed its message.
That night he told all of this to the alchemist. And the alchemist
understood that the boy's heart had returned to the Soul of the World.
"So what should I do now?" the boy asked.
"Continue in the direction of the Pyramids," said the alchemist. "And
continue to pay heed to the omens. Your heart is still capable of showing you
where the treasure is."
"Is that the one thing I still needed to know?"
"No," the alchemist answered. "What you still need to know is this: before a
dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned
along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in
addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we've learned as we've
moved toward that dream. That's the point at which most people give up. It's
the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one 'dies of
thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.'
"Every search begins with beginner's luck. And every search ends with the
victor's being severely tested."
The boy remembered an old proverb from his country. It said that the darkest
hour of the night came just before the dawn.