The Alchemist

by: Paulo Coelho

Section 13

The final twist, that the treasure lies under the sycamore tree in Spain the whole time, brings Santiago back home, just as his father predicted when Santiago first set out on his travels as a shepherd. Most notably, however, this detail also reiterates the alchemist’s lesson about the alchemists who have lost the ability to turn lead to gold. These men, the alchemist says, wanted just the treasure from their Personal Legends without actually living out their Personal Legends. For Santiago, the value of his journey does not lie in the treasure at the end, but in the knowledge and experience he gains from the journey itself. The fact that the treasure contains actual gold and jewels seems almost incidental, though it does emphasize the point made earlier in the novel that pursuing one’s Personal Legend can also lead to material wealth.