The book started about a dream of a boy named Santiago. He is contented with his life as an Andalusian shepherd in Spain until one day he has a recurring dream about finding a hidden treasure in the Pyramids. His curiosity urges him to seek someone to interpret this dream. He found a Gypsy who told him that dreams are prophecies that he must act and follow it. However, Santiago is happy being a shepherd and seeking treasure is not his cup of tea. Santiago meets a man named Melchizedek the King of Salem, who talks to him about Personal Legends and omen. Santiago was surprised that the King is able to read what’s on his mind. He told Santiago to pursue his Personal Legend and gives him two stones, Urim and Thummim which can interpret omens. Overwhelmed, Santiago decided to sell his flock and purchase a ticket to Tangier in Northern Africa.
He arrives in Africa but the odds are not on his favor when a thief steals all his money. He was devastated but with the help of stones that can interpret omens he decided to move on and look for ways to earn money so that he can return home. Santiago finds a work in a crystal shop. The shop owned by the merchant ventures a huge financial success. Santiago earns plenty of money to buy a flock of sheep and return home. The crystal merchant’s desire is to go to Mecca however decided not to pursue it. Santiago realizes that he can always go back to being a shepherd but he will not always be able to visit the Pyramids. He decided to move forward to fulfill his Personal Legend.
Santiago joins a caravan traveling to Egypt and meets an Englishman who wants to learn the secret of alchemy from a famous alchemist. He befriended the Englishman and learns about alchemy through his books. While traveling, Santiago learns the Soul of the World. They arrived in an oasis where he meets an Arab girl named Fatima and falls in love with her. The caravan leader told the travelers that the tribal war prevents them from continuing their journey. Santiago wanders through the oasis; he instantly recognized an omen and saw a vision of armies entering the oasis. He hurriedly told the tribal chieftain about his vision and they prepared for the invasion. Afterwards, Santiago confronted by the Alchemist and offers him to cross the desert going to the Pyramid with his aid.