In this story by Paulo Coelho, Santiago has a recurring dream that keeps troubling him. He is a young man of Andalusian origin who loves adventurous. Every time he sleeps under the sycamore tree which grows in the ruins that were previously a church, the dream keeps coming back. In the dream, there is a child that keeps telling him to go and get the treasure which is kept within the foot of Egyptian pyramids. When Santiago consults the gypsy woman for the interpretation of this dream, he is told that this is a prophetic dream, and Santiago should take a journey to Egypt to locate the treasure. This turn of events surprises him.
The next stop he meets Melchizedek, an older man who is full of mysteries. The man claims that he read and interprets what is in Santiago’s mind. The older man’s introduction is that he is King of Salem. He insists to Santiago the need to seek Personal Legend and go to the pyramids. Santiago is given two stones by Melchizedek to help him interpret omens.
Melchizedek tells Santiago to make money out of the flock he had by selling. After that, Santiago should go to Tangier. Though not happy about selling the flock at first, he decides to do it and travels to Tangier using a boat. While there, he is robbed of all the money he had. To get more money, Santiago had to work as a crystal merchant. While working for the merchant, Santiago is taught many lessons. Within a year of taking risks with the merchant, Santiago becomes wealthy again.
Now that Santiago has a fortune, he is confused about what to do. He is torn between pursuing the fortunes in Egypt and going back to Andalusia. Santiago decides to join a caravan that is traveling across the Sahara toward Egypt. He met with an Englishman who wants to become an alchemist. During their journey, the Englishman enlightens him on many issues. For example, it becomes his first time to learn that the alchemy secret is recorded on Emerald Stone. The trip is an eye-opener to Santiago as he discovers the features in the vast desert. The Englishman’s destination is the oasis located in Al-Fayoum. There is a 200-year-old alchemist who lives there. The Englishman wants to know all the secrets that the experienced alchemist uses in his trade.
The caravan makes a longer stop in Al-Fayoum in to keep themselves secure from the increasing violence in the area. During their stay, Santiago is involved in a romantic relationship with Fatima, a woman that lives around the area of the oasis.
During the walk through the Sahara desert, Santiago sees an omen which intends to attack the oasis. He gives a warning to the chieftains of this attack. Consequently, Al-Fayoum defends itself successfully. When the alchemist knows of the vision Santiago had, he invites him to take a trip through the desert. During their walk, he educates Santiago on why it is important to listen to what his heart says and pursue the Personal Legend. In the process, he persuades Santiago to end the relationship with Fatima. At the same time, he should leave the caravan and find time to travel to the pyramids and claim his treasure
The alchemist also tells of the wisdom he has accumulated over the years. When they are almost reaching the location of the pyramids, they are captured by Arab soldiers. To ensure that they are not killed, the alchemist had to give the money that belonged to Santiago to the soldiers.
Moreover, he lies to them with a concocted story claiming that Santiago is an alchemist who possesses many powers. He is going to transform into the wind in the next three days. This story alarms Santiago as he does not have any idea how he can turn into wind as the alchemist claimed. In the next 72 hours, they wander through the desert. On day three, Santiago prays to the sun and wind persuading them to offer assistance help create a strong sandstorm that can lift Santiago and prove right what the alchemist said. In the middle of the prayers, Santiago disappears. He then reappears while on the opposite side of this same camp. The occurrence awes the tribesmen. Because of Santiago’s powers, the two of them are released and allowed to continue with their journey to the pyramids.
His spirit is not dampened by the happenings. Santiago continues pursuing the treasures together with the alchemist. When they are a few hours from getting to the pyramids, the alchemist does a demonstration to Santiago of the ability he has to change lead to gold. The demonstration is done using the Philosopher’s Stone. After that, he offers gold to Santiago before sending him off.
On arrival at the pyramids, Santiago resumes the digging to reach the hidden treasure at the pyramid’s foot. Two thieves confront and beat Santiago up. To make things worse for him, they also steal his money. However, Santiago recounts to them of the vision he had of the treasures that he is pursuing. Even after listening to the story, the thieves insist that the only way to leave him when he is still alive is if he gives them money. Before the thieves left, one of them tries to demonstrate to Santiago the worthlessness of the visions Santiago had. The man narrates to Santiago his dream of treasure. He says he dreams about the treasure that is buried inside a disserted church somewhere in Spain. The church is near a sycamore tree. This is the same church where Santiago slept when he had the first dream. Therefore, he now understands the location of the treasure that he has been looking for.
When Santiago makes his return to Spain, he goes to the church mentioned by the man. On digging, he finds expensive jewels precious gold hidden beneath the tree where he had the recurring dream. He plans to get back to Fatima.