Andalusian shepherd Santiago suffers recurring nightmares. He dreams while sleeping near church ruins under a sycamore tree. A child tells him to search the Egyptian pyramids for treasure in his dream. A gypsy instructs Santiago to go to Egypt. Santiago’s Personal Legend is to see the pyramids, says Melchizedek, the King of Salem. Santiago goes to Tangier on Melchizedek’s advice. Santiago is robbed in Tangier and forced to sell crystals. Santiago teaches the conservative shopkeeper to take financial risks. Santiago gets rich after taking risks. Santiago spends his profits on Legend. He joins a Sahara-to-Egypt caravan and meets an alchemist. The Englishman teaches him on the journey. The Emerald Tablet contains alchemy’s secret. The Master Work includes the Philosophers’ Stone, which turns lead into gold, and the Elixir of Life, which cures all diseases. Santiago learns the Englishman heads to Al-Fayoum, where a 200-year-old alchemist dwells. Englishman wants the alchemist’s secret.
To escape desert tribe disputes, the caravan must stop in Al-Fayoum. Santiago adores Fatima. Santiago sees an oasis attack in a desert omen. Al-Fayoum successfully defends himself against the onslaught when he warns the tribal chieftains. The alchemist hears about Santiago’s vision and invites him to the desert to teach him about Personal Legend. He convinces Santiago to leave Fatima and the caravan to reach the pyramids.
In the desert, the alchemist educates Santiago about the World’s Soul. Arabs captured them days before the pyramids. In exchange for his and Santiago’s lives, the alchemist provides the tribe with money and claims to be a powerful alchemist. Santiago can’t turn into the wind, so he spends three days in the desert. On the third day, he communicates to the wind and sun to create a sandstorm. He prayed to the Hand That Wrote All and departed. Tribesmen, impressed by the storm and Santiago’s skill, let them go free.
Santiago and the alchemist visit an hour from the pyramids. He converts Santiago’s lead into gold with the Philosopher’s Stone. Santiago leaves with gold. Two men beat Santiago at the pyramids. They let Santiago live without money when he expresses his dream. One man tells Santiago his fantasy before departing. It’s about a sycamore in a Spanish cathedral. Santiago’s treasure is in his first dream church. He flies to Spain to find gems and gold hidden under a tree and plans to visit Fatima.