The Alchemist

by: Paulo Coelho

Fear

Quotes Fear
But now I'm sad and alone. I'm going to become bitter and distrustful of people because one person betrayed me. I'm going to hate those who have found their treasure because I never found mine.

After being robbed by a man he met in the bar in Tangier, Santiago feels overwhelmed with negativity. For the first time in the novel, he experiences fear of his situation and loneliness in a strange country. Just as Santiago loses his confidence, however, he sees the two stones the old man gave him, and he begins to feel relieved. He could sell the stones for a return ticket, but now he doesn’t know whom to trust and fears he can trust no one.

We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it's our life or our possessions and property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand.

One of the camel drivers in the caravan speaks to Santiago by the fire as they exchange stories about their lives. The camel driver tells how he and his family lived through a disastrous earthquake and flood. Their land was ruined but their children were safe, and he had to become a camel driver to earn a living. The calamity taught him to better understand the world.

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.

The narrator describes Santiago’s state of mind as he travels through the desert with the alchemist. They spend days in silence, cautious because of the warring tribesmen who surround them. Santiago’s heart feels agitated and fearful, and he confesses this truth to the alchemist. The alchemist reassures him that such feelings are a good sign as they mean that his heart is alive. However, Santiago considers his heart a traitor because the message his heart seems to give him says not to continue on.

If a person is living out his Personal Legend, he knows everything he needs to know. There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.

The alchemist offers words of wisdom and encouragement to Santiago who now holds the key to their survival. He has told the Arab chief and his staff that Santiago could destroy the camp with the force of the wind. When they challenge Santiago to do so, the alchemist asks for three days to prepare Santiago. With these words, the alchemist relieves Santiago from his fears.