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Part One: The Story Of the Book
The boy’s name was Santiago. Dusk was falling when the boy with his flock reached an abandoned church.
The roof had fallen in long ago, and a huge sycamore had grown on the spot where the sanctum once stood.
He decided to spend the night there. He saw to it that all the sheep entered through the ruined gate, and then laid some boards across it to prevent the flock from wandering off during the night.
There were no wolves in the area, but once an animal had wandered off during the night, and the boy had to spend the next whole day searching for it.
He swept the floor with his jacket and lay down, using the book he had just read as a pillow.
He told himself he needed to start reading thicker books: They last longer and make more comfortable pillows.
When he awoke it was still dark, and looking up he could see the stars through the half-destroyed ceiling.
I wanted to sleep a little longer, he thought. That night he had the same dream as the week before, and before it was over he awoke once again.
He got up and raised his stick to wake up the sheep who were still sleeping. He had seen that most of his animals also started stirring as soon as he woke up.
It was as if some mysterious energy had bound his life to the sheep with whom he had spent the last two years, and carried them through the countryside in search of food and water.
“They’ve gotten so used to me that they know my schedule,” he muttered. Thinking about it for a moment, he realized that it could be the other way around as well: It was he who had become addicted to their schedule.
But there were some among them who took a little longer to wake up. The boy, one by one, prodded them with his ruff, calling each by name.
He always believed that the sheep were capable of understanding what he said.
So at times he would read to them parts of his books that had impressed him, or when he would tell them about the loneliness or joy of a shepherd in the fields.
Sometimes he remarked to them about things he had seen in the villages they passed through.
But for the past few days, he had talked to them only about one thing: the girl, the daughter of a merchant, who lived in the village they would reach in about four days.
He had come to the village only once a year ago.
The merchant owned a dry goods store, and he always demanded that the sheep’s wool be sheared in his presence so that he would not be cheated.
A friend had told the boy about the shop and he took his sheep there.
“I need to sell some wool,” said the boy to the merchant.
The shop was busy, and the man asked the cowboy to wait until noon. So the boy sat on the steps of the shop and took out a book from his bag.
“I didn’t know shepherds knew how to read,” came a girl’s voice from behind him.
The girl was typical of the Andalusia region, with wavy hair, and eyes vaguely reminiscent of Moorish conquerors.
“Well, usually I learn more from my sheep than from books,” he replied. During the two-hour conversation, she told him that she was the merchant’s daughter and talked about life in the village, where every day was like any other day.
The shepherd told him about the Andalusian countryside and also gave news of other towns where he had stayed. It was a pleasant change from talking to his sheep.
“How did you learn to read?” the girl asked at one point.
He said, “As everyone learns.” “in school.” “Well, if you can read, why are you just a cowboy?”
The boy replied mumbling that he avoided answering her question. He was sure that the girl would never understand.
He kept telling stories about his travels and his bright, Moorish eyes widened with fear and wonder. As time passed, the boy wished that the day would never end, that his father would be busy and keep him waiting for three days.
He recognized that he was feeling something he had never experienced before: the desire to stay in one place forever. With the frizzy girl, her days will never be the same again.
But eventually, the merchant appeared and asked the boy to shear the wool of four sheep. He paid for the wool and asked the shepherd to return the following year.
Also Read: The Alchemist PDF In Hindi
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The Alchemist PDF Free Download