Aphorism - A terse saying embodying a general truth (dare I say "pithy?").
Melchizadek - The king in The Alchemist, is mentioned in the Bible, in Genesis, as the righteous king of Salem, who blessed Abraham.
Methusaleh, who some of us (me) got mixed up with Melchizadek - Also in the Bible, listed as Noah's grandfather and the oldest person whose age is mentioned, at 969 years.
Mirage - A place in the desert that looks like an oasis but is not one, sometimes a mixture of heat waves and a very thirsty brain.
Oasis - A place in the desert where there is water: sometimes a lot of water and trees, sometimes just a little spring. I think this is correct, but a quick Google of the term turned up only the musical group "Oasis," the restaurant, and some lovely photos in the time I allotted.
Pithy - Meaningful and concise (perhaps like an aphorism). Like The Alchemist, by Paolo Coelho.
The Alchemist was fun to read and fun to discuss! What did we learn? What were we supposed to learn? We tended to try to offered pithy aphorisms to capture the meaning of the story. Some of the ideas mentioned in our discussion:
A path toward a goal may take you elsewhere.
If you travel far and wide looking for fulfillment, your path may lead back to where you started.
In our life journeys, some of us may continue toward a goal, some may stop along the way, and some may go back around to their beginning.
If we have a goal, we need not fear achieving it, as there will probably be something else around the corner. This is a sticky question in the book. There is the question as to whether one can prolong one's life by procrastinating on one's goal, and this brings up other questions.
One should try to get the most possible from life and be content.
Sometimes something can be gained simply by asking, rather than by taking it forcefully or expending great effort to get it.
We're all alchemists, trying to make something better out of what we already are.
Gold can be made from common local materials. Just as lead can be made into gold via alchemy, a person can transform their life to great value from humble beginnings or even humble ends.