Eighty-four days had passed since Santiago, the old fisherman, had caught a fish, and he was forced to suffer not only the ridicule of younger fishermen, but near-starvation as well. Moreover, Santiago had lost his young companion, a boy named Manolin, whose father had ordered him to leave Santiago in order to work with more successful seamen. But the devoted child still loved Santiago, and each day brought food and bait to his shack, where they indulged in their favorite pastime: talking about the American baseball leagues. The old man's hero was the New York Yankees' Joe DiMaggio. Santiago identified with the ballplayer's skill and discipline, and declared he would like to take the great DiMaggio fishing some time.
After visiting one particular afternoon, the boy left Santiago, who fell asleep. Lions immediately filled his dreams. As a boy he had sailed to Africa and had seen lions on the beaches.
Now, as an old man, he constantly dreamed of the great and noble beasts.
He no longer dreamed of storms, nor of women, nor of Great occurrences, nor of great fish, nor fights nor contests of strength, nor of his wife. He only dreamed of places now and of the lions on the beach ... He loved them as he loved the boy.
Before dawn of the next day, the fisherman, as usual, hauled his salt-encrusted skiff onto the beach and set out by himself. But today, in hopes of breaking his unlucky streak, he was determined to sail into deep waters, out much farther than the other anglers would go. He followed the sea birds and flying fish; they would tell him b y their movements where the fish congregated.
He watched the turtles swimming near his boat. He loved the turtles, "with their...