The Alchemist

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A gypsy woman whom Santiago meets at the beginning of the novel. She interprets his recurring dream about the Egyptian Pyramids as a sign that he should travel to that place and seek a great treasure. As payment, she makes Santiago promise her 1/10th of the total of his treasure. When Santiago eventually finds the treasure, he holds true to this promise.

The Fortune-teller Quotes in The Alchemist

The The Alchemist quotes below are all either spoken by The Fortune-teller or refer to The Fortune-teller. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Harper One edition of The Alchemist published in 2014.
Part One Quotes

“You came so that you could learn about your dreams,” said the old woman.

“And dreams are the language of God. When he speaks in our language, I

can interpret what he has said. But if he speaks in the language of the soul,

it is only you who can understand.”

Related Characters: The Fortune-teller (speaker), Santiago
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

Santiago has a recurring dream of a child guiding him to a treasure near the Egyptian Pyramids, and he decides to seek the help of a fortune-teller in interpreting the dream. The fortune-teller offers these cautionary words when Santiago requests her interpretative skills. This quote introduces several ideas that will be important throughout the novel. First, there is the active role that God and spirituality play in this book. Santiago does not operate without divine guidance. He is continually presented with omens that appear either through the physical world or in the words of other people. The fortune-teller believes Santiago’s dreams, which a reader might suppose to be naturally occurring, to be direct information from God. This places the reader into a context in which information from God is real and important to the plot of the novel. Furthermore, this information from God can come in one of two forms: human language or the language of the soul. The fortune-teller does not explain the language of the soul, but it reappears in the novel.

Later in the novel, Santiago learns, through his study of the philosophy of alchemy, how to connect with the world and other beings. He describes this connection at first in terms of a "universal language of the soul." This language of the soul transcends regular language boundaries, as well as the boundaries of species and elements. Through this universal language, Santiago is able to understand the wind and the desert, hawks and the horse he rides. Because this universal language is linked to God in this early passage, the connection between all things is seen as a spiritual connection throughout the novel.

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Epilogue Quotes

He thought of the many roads he had traveled, and of the strange way God had chosen to show him his treasure. If he hadn’t believed in the significance of recurrent dreams, he would not have met the Gypsy woman, the king, the thief, or…“Well, it’s a long list. But the path was written in the omens, and there was no way I could go wrong,” he said to himself.

Related Characters: Santiago (speaker), Melchizedek (the Old Man), The Fortune-teller, The Thief (the Young Man)
Page Number: 169
Explanation and Analysis:

Santiago finds his treasure at the abandoned church where his story began. Therefore, his treasure was physically near him when he first set off in search of his Personal Legend, and yet, as this quote shows, his treasure was emotionally and experientially distant from him. Although he need not have traveled great distances to find his treasure, it's clear that he needed to travel through experiences and grow as a person to receive his treasure. Santiago thinks of the places he has visited, the people he has met, and the experiences he has had along the way. These would not be part of his life without the roundabout pathway by which he arrived at his treasure. 

Santiago points out that he took the path he did because of the omens from God, who clearly intended him to travel and have the experiences that he had. As Coelho makes clear, it's not only the end result of achieving one's Personal Legend that matters, but the process of following omens and learning along the way. This is a key passage because it shows that Santiago's Personal Legend is not simply to find treasure, which is something that can be measured by material standards--his Personal Legend was to go on a quest toward his treasure through which he grew, learned, and changed. 

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The Fortune-teller Character Timeline in The Alchemist

The timeline below shows where the character The Fortune-teller appears in The Alchemist. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part One
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
...He also remembers that in the next town he'll reach, Tarifa, there is an old fortune-teller who is able to interpret dreams. (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Santiago arrives in Tarifa and meets the fortune-teller, who leads him from her living room to a back room where she practices her... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
 The fortune-teller says that she knows that Santiago came to learn about his dream. She adds that... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
The fortune-teller is silent for a while. Then she says that she is not going to charge... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
...He feels that he didn't need the interpretation to realize this about his dream. The fortune-teller says that the interpretation of the dream was difficult, because the simple things in life... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
...hidden treasure. Santiago remembers his dream, and suddenly everything becomes clear. He realizes that the fortune-teller and the old man may be working together to get money from him. (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
...to keep working toward getting his treasure. Santiago tells Melchizedek about his promise to the fortune-teller. The old man says that it's good that Santiago has learned that everything in life... (full context)
Epilogue
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
...he needs to go to Tarifa to give one tenth of his treasure to the fortune-teller, as he had promised long ago. (full context)