“I’m the king of Salem,” the old man [Melchizedek] had said.
“Why would a king be talking with a shepherd?” the boy asked, awed and embarrassed.
“For several reasons. But let’s say that the most important is that you have succeeded in discovering your Personal Legend.”
The boy didn’t know what a person’s “Personal Legend” was.
“It’s what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their Personal Legend is.
“At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives. But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their Personal Legend.”
None of what the old man was saying made much sense to the boy. But he wanted to know what the “mysterious force” was; the merchant’s daughter would be impressed when he told her about that!
“It’s a force that appears to be negative, but actually shows you how to realize your Personal Legend. It prepares your spirit and your will, because there is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on earth.”
“Even when all you want to do is travel? Or marry the daughter of a textile merchant?”
“Yes, or even search for treasure. The Soul of the World is nourished by people’s happiness. And also by unhappiness, envy, and jealousy. To realize one’s Personal Legend is a person’s only real obligation. All things are one.
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
— Paulo Coelho in The Alchemist, (New York: HarperCollins, 1998), p. 21. Translated by Alan R. Clarke. Originally published in the Portuguese as O Alquimista, (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Editora Rocco Ltd., 1988).
"Why would a king be talking with a shepherd?"