Still the boy loved the old man and visited him each night in his old dilapidated shack. He would chat about the fishing, bring food and discuss American baseball, especially Joe Di Maggio, the old man's great hero. Santiago would tell the boy that his long run of bad luck would soon end because each day he would sail out further until he was successful again.
Having sailed his little skiff far beyond the island's coast into the Gulf Stream on his 85th fishless day, the old man hooked a huge marlin. the fish was so big that Santiago couldn't pull it in and instead the marlin began pulling the boat.
For three days and nights the giant fish pulled the boat, with the line attached to the old man, cutting into his back and shoulders. The pain he endured was extreme, especially when the fish lunged and leaped for freedom, but the old man held firm, determined to fight this great warrior to the death.
After three days of struggle the fish was tiring but the old man was worn out too. With one last heroic effort Santiago managed to pull the marlin to the side of the boat, thrust the harpoon into his massive head, ending the fight with his brave and noble combatant.
Wounded and weary, but proud and happy, the old man tied the great fish to the side of the boat and set sail for home. The scent of the blood trail alerted the sharks and soon they were arriving in numbers to attack the giant carcass. The old man fought bravely but in killing the first group of predators he lost his only weapon of defence, the harpoon, leaving him with only an old knife which he lashed to an oar. He still managed to kill several more sharks but they kept coming and he was powerless to prevent them from devouring the delicious meat of the great marlin.
When the old man reached home at daybreak he only had the skeleton of the great fish still lashed to the side of the boat. Feeling sad and guilty for going out too far and causing the death of the great and noble marlin, he shuffled up the hill to his cabin and collapsed into a deep sleep.
The old man's boat was the centre of attention next morning as the fishermen gazed in amazement at the size of the fish skeleton attached to its side, without knowing anything of the battle and suffering the old man had endured.
The young boy, Manolin, was so overjoyed to find the old man safely back home in bed, he was moved to tears and brought him coffee, food and news of the baseball results.
The old man and the boy agreed to resume fishing as partners again.
When The Old Man and the Sea was published in 1952 it sealed Ernest Hemingway's legacy as one of the great writers of our time.
Born in Illinois in 1899, the son of a doctor and a music teacher, he had already written important books: The Sun also Shines. 1926. A Farewell to Arms. 1929. For Whom the Bell Tolls. 1940. But the worldwide success of The Old Man and the Sea propelled him to a new level. It won the 1953 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and was instrumental in him securing the Nonel Prize for literature in 1954.
Sadly, it was to be his last novel. He suffered from periods of serious depression and in 1961 committed suicide. a sad ending to a great literary voice.
Another epic sea book is 'THE CRYING SEA'
This new book is inspired by a true sea tragedy that occurred off Malta in 2008. A fishing boat explodes in a raging inferno and sinks to the depths of the Meditteranean. A young boy clings to his father for six days on a makeshift raft without food or water, while onshore, his mother prays that the massive air and sea search will find them. A gripping story of intense human drama.
Available online at: www.bridgepublishing.net