1. My own beauty reflected

    The lake was silent for some time. Finally, it said:

    "I weep for Narcissus, but I never noticed that Narcissus was beautiful. I weep because, each time he knelt beside my banks, I could see, in the depths of his eyes, my own beauty reflected."

    1. ​Narcissus and Goldmund​
  2. Thicker books

    He told himself that he would have to start reading thicker books: they lasted longer, and made more comfortable pillows.

  3. To find God in the seminary

    If he were to tire of the Andalusian fields, he could sell his sheep and go to sea. By the time he had had enough of the sea, he would already have known other cities, other women, and other chances to be happy. I couldn't have found God in the seminary, he thought, as he looked at the sunrise.

  4. What others want them to be

    When someone sees the same people every day, as had happened with him at the seminary, they wind up becoming a part of that person's life. And then they want the person to change. If someone isn't what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.

  5. The soul of the universe

    "When you really want something, it's because that desire originated in the soul of the universe...And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."

  6. The drops of oil on the spoon

    "'Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you,' said the wisest of wise men. 'The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon.'"

  7. Like everyone else

    "I'm like everyone else—I see the world in terms of what I would like to see happen, not what actually does."

  8. This language without words

    There must be a language that doesn't depend on words, the boy thought. I've already had that experience with my sheep, and now it's happening with people.

    He was learning a lot of new things. Some of them were things that he had already experienced, and weren't really new, but that he had never perceived before. And he hadn't perceived them because he had become accustomed to them. He realized: If I can learn to understand the language without words, I can learn to understand the world.

    1. ​The quality without a name​
  9. If my dream is realized

    "I'm afraid that if my dream is realized, I'll have no reason to go on living.

    "You dream about your sheep and the Pyramids, but you're different from me, because you want to realize your dreams. I just want to dream about Mecca. I've already imagined a thousand times crossing the desert...I've already imagined the people who would be at my side, and those in front of me, and the conversations and prayers we would share. But I'm afraid that it would all be a disappointment, so I prefer just to dream about it."

  10. For something believed in

    There was a language in the world that everyone understood, a language the boy had used throughout the time he was trying to improve things at the shop. It was the language of enthusiasm, of things accomplished with love and purpose, and as part of a search for something believed in and desired.

    1. ​Your life adds up​
  11. Two hours closer

    Yet the boy felt that there was another way to regard his situation: he was actually two hours closer to his treasure...the fact that the two hours had stretched into an entire year didn't matter.

  12. They're not my sheep anymore

    It reminded him of the wool from his sheep...his sheep who were now seeking food and water in the fields of Andalusia, as they always had.

    "They're not my sheep anymore," he said to himself, without nostalgia. "They must be used to their new shepherd, and have probably already forgotten me. That's good. Creatures like the sheep, that are used to traveling, know about moving on."

  13. It is written

    Maybe he was also learning the universal language that deals with the past and present of all people. "Hunches," his mother used to call them. The boy was beginning to understand that intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life, where the histories of all people are connected, and we are able to know everything, because it's all written there.

    "Maktub," the boy said, remembering the crystal merchant.

  14. So that we can understand those few lines

    In one of the books he learned that the most important text in the literature of alchemy contained only a few lines, and had been inscribed on the surface of an emerald.

    "It's the Emerald Tablet," said the Englishman, proud that he might teach something to the boy.

    "Well, then, why do we need all these books?" the boy asked.

    "So that we can understand those few lines."

  15. Because we have to sleep

    Two nights later, as he was getting ready to bed down, the boy looked for the star they followed every night. He thought that the horizon was a bit lower than it had been, because he seemed to see stars on the desert itself.

    "It's the oasis," said the camel driver.

    "Well, why don't we go there right now?" the boy asked.

    "Because we have to sleep."

  16. Pictures and words

    He had only one explanation for this fact: things have to be transmitted this way because they were made up from the pure life, and this kind of life cannot be captured in pictures or words.

    Because people become fascinated with pictures and words, and wind up forgetting the Language of the World.

    1. ​Words and Images​
  17. Someone in the world awaits you

    When he looked into her dark eyes, and saw that her lips were poised between a laugh and silence, he learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke—the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love.

    ...He had been told by his parents and grandparents that he must fall in love and really know a person before becoming committed. But maybe people who felt that way had never learned the universal language. Because, when you know that language, it's easy to understand that someone in the world awaits you.

  18. Go and try

    "He asked me if I had ever transformed lead into gold. I told him that was what I had come here to learn.

    "He told me I should try to do so. That's all he said: 'Go and try.'"

    ..."So, then try," he said to the Englishman.

    "That's what I'm going to do. I'm going to start now."

  19. Love without ownership

    He tried to deal with the concept of love as distinct from possession, and couldn't separate them...if anything could help him to understand, it was the desert.

    ...He followed the movement of the birds, trying to read something into it. Maybe these desert birds could explain to him the meaning of love without ownership.

  20. The history of all things

    He knew that any given thing on the face of the earth could reveal the history of all things...Actually, it wasn't that those things, in themselves, revealed anything at all; it was just that people, looking at what was occurring around them, could find a means of penetration to the Soul of the World.

    1. ​A simple grain of sand​
  21. Only a moment of light

    "If what one finds is made of pure matter, it will never spoil. And one can always come back. If what you had found was only a moment of light, like the explosion of a star, you would find nothing on your return."

  22. Looking only for gold

    "And what went wrong when other alchemists tried to make gold and were unable to do so?"

    "They were looking only for gold," his companion answered. "They were seeking the treasure of their Personal Legend, without wanting to actually live out the Personal Legend."

  23. A world that is perfect

    "The wise men understood that this natural world is only an image and a copy of paradise. The existence of this world is simply a guarantee that there exists a world that is perfect."

  24. A simple grain of sand

    "The desert will give you an understanding of the world; in fact, anything on the face of the earth will do that. You don't even have to understand the desert: all you have to do is contemplate a simple grain of sand, and you will see in it all the marvels of creation."

    1. ​The history of all things​
  25. We, their hearts

    "People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel that they don't deserve them, or that they'll be unable to achieve them. We, their hearts, become fearful just thinking of loved ones who go away forever, or of moments that could have been good but weren't, or of treasures that might have been found but were forever hidden in the sands. Because, when these things happen, we suffer terribly."

  26. A threatening place

    "Most people see the world as a threatening place, and, because they do, the world turns out, indeed, to be a threatening place."

  27. To become better than we are

    "That's what alchemists do. They show that, when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too."

  28. Everything that happens twice

    Everything that happens once can never happen again. But everything that happens twice will surely happen a third time.