"So, we, their hearts, speak more and more softly.
We never stop speaking out, but we begin to hope that our words won't be heard:
we don't want people to suffer because they don't follow their hearts."
"Why don't people's hearts tell them to continue to follow their dreams?" the boy asked the alchemist.
"Because that's what makes a heart suffer most, and hearts don't like to suffer."
From then on, the boy understood his heart. He asked it, please, never to stop speaking to him.
He asked that, when he wandered far from his dreams, his heart press him and sound the alarm.
The boy swore that, every time he heard the alarm, he would heed its message.
That night, he told all of this to the alchemist.
And the alchemist understood that the boy's heart had returned to the Soul of the World.
"So what should I do now?" the boy asked.
"Continue in the direction of the Pyramids," said the alchemist.
"And continue to pay heed to the omens. Your heart is still capable of showing you where the treasure is."
"Is that the one thing I still needed to know?"
"No," the alchemist answered.
"What you still need to know is this: before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way.
It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams,
master the lessons we've learned as we've moved toward that dream. That's the point at which most people give up.
It's the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one 'dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.'"
"Every search begins with beginner's luck. And every search ends with the victor's being severely tested."
The boy remembered an old proverb from his country.
It said that the darkest hour of the night came just before the dawn.