Excerpt from The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The following scene takes place in the desert in the midst of a tribal war:
On the following day, the first clear sign of danger appeared. Three armed tribesmen
approached and asked what the boy and the alchemist were doing there.
“I’m hunting with my falcon,” the alchemist answered.
“We’re going to have to search you to see whether you’re armed,” one of the tribesmen
The alchemist dismounted slowly, and the boy did the same.
“Why are you carrying money?” asked the tribesman, when he had searched the boy’s bag. “I need it to get to the Pyramids,” he said.
The tribesman who was searching the alchemist’s belongings found a small crystal flask filled with a liquid and a yellow glass egg that was slightly larger than a chicken’s egg.
“What are these things?” he asked.
“That’s the Philosopher’s Stone and the Elixir of Life. It’s the Master Work of the
alchemists. Whoever swallows that elixir will never be sick again, and a fragment from
that stone turns any metal into gold.”
The Arabs laughed at him, and the alchemist laughed along. They thought his answer was amusing, and they allowed the boy and the alchemist to proceed with all of their
“Are you crazy?” the boy asked the alchemist when they had moved on. “What did you
do that for?”
“To show you one of life’s simple lessons,” the alchemist answered. “When you possess
great treasures within you and try to tell others of them, seldom are you believed.”