Something bright reflected from his chest with such intensity that the boy was momentarily blinded. With a movement that was too quick for someone his age, the man covered whatever it was with his cape.
The narrator describes how Santiago experiences a blinding flash as Melchizedek joins him and comments on his book. At first, Santiago doesn’t trust him, but Melchizedek, who claims to be the king of Salem, soon reveals a supernatural ability to read minds and know details that others do not know. He knows the name of Santiago’s parents, his seminary, and even the name of the merchant’s daughter, a name that Santiago himself doesn’t yet know.
[T]here is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it's because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It's your mission on earth.
Melchizedek shares his philosophy of life with Santiago. At this point, Santiago remains unsure of the man’s motivations and honesty, but he listens politely and asks questions, consumed with how the answers might affect his opportunities with the merchant’s daughter. Melchizedek feels certain that his ideas about destiny, including Personal Legends, carry universal truth.
Not always in this way, but I always appear in one form or another. Sometimes I appear in the form of a solution, or a good idea. At other times, at a crucial moment, I make it easier for things to happen. There are other things I do, too, but most of the time people don't realize I've done them.
Melchizedek tries to explain himself—what he is and what he does—to Santiago. After Santiago asks him why he tells him all of this, Melchizedek replies that he shares his wisdom because Santiago teeters on the verge of giving up on his Personal Legend. When this happens to people, he shows up to change their minds. He goes on to recount the story of the miner seeking his emerald. Melchizedek appeared as a stone that rolled onto the miner’s foot. When the miner threw the stone aside, the stone broke up to reveal the most beautiful emerald in the world.
In order to find the treasure, you will have to follow the omens. God has prepared a path for everyone to follow. You just have to read the omens that he left for you.
Melchizedek tells Santiago that his Personal Legend will lead him to a treasure in Egypt near the Pyramids, matching the prediction made earlier by the old woman. He goes on to say that Santiago must follow the omens that God leaves for him. In the next moment, Santiago sees a butterfly and recalls that his grandfather once told him that the insects were good omens, and Melchizedek agrees. Such an omen alerts readers, too, that Melchizedek offers truthful advice.
“Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you,” said the wisest of wise men. “The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon.”
With these words Melchizedek ends the story he shares with Santiago just before he leaves for Egypt. In the story, a boy has been asked to carry two drops of oil in a spoon all around a wise man’s house. At first, he only watches the oil and misses the sights. Then, he looks at the house but spills the oil. Santiago understands that the story tells him that a shepherd may like to travel, but he should never forget his sheep.