The author describes Santiago recall why he decided to become a shepherd and how his father helped him by giving him three gold coins to buy his flock of sheep. The boy was happy being a shepherd; he had his sheep, a jacket and book. One day, Santiago went to a Gypsy where he tells her about a recurrent dream he has had about finding treasure in the Egyptian pyramids. The Gypsy does not give him a lot of information about his dream, but does tell him that if he finds the treasure, to give her one-tenth.
Later on that day, the boy is reading his book, when an old man came by him and tried to start a conversation. When the old man finally got the boy’s attention, he tells him he is the King of Salem, and how he can find the hidden treasure, but wants one-tenth of his sheep in return. The old man also tells the boy to not give up and to go forth and search for the treasure before it is too late and he gives up. The next day, Santiago met up with the old man and gives him one-tenth of his sheep.
In return, the old man gave the boy advice that would be helpful throughout his journey, and two rocks, Urim and Thummim (one black meaning yes, and the other white, meaning no), to help him read omens better. Santiago began his journey and went to Africa. While in Africa, as the author describes, the boy feels insecure because of the language barrier, but quickly entrusts in a boy who speaks the same language as he and invites him along his journey. The two boys go into the plaza, and Santiago’s new friend is suddenly out of sight, with all of his money, and he later realizes that his “friend” has robbed him.
The following day, the boy observes a candy seller, and as he is doing so, he realizes that he needs to have patience on his journey. A crystal merchant notices Santiago in the plaza and watches him. Santiago offers to clean his glass windows in exchange for food. As Santiago was working, two customers went in the shop, and the crystal merchant offers him a job, taking the customers as a good omen. The boy accepts, telling him that he will work for him until he has enough money to buy some sheep.