Santiago, an elderly Cuban fisherman, has gone 84 days without a catch.
His apprentice, Manolin, still likes him, but his parents have made him go work with a more successful fisherman.
So on day 85 of his Bad Luck Streak, Santiago sails his skiff out alone, beyond the usual shallows.
He sinks his lines and waits.
At high noon: a marlin so huge it tows the boat.
Santiago holds the line.
On day number three the fish finally gets tired.
Santiago pulls the marlin boatside and spears it dead.
He sails for home, dreaming of the money he’ll get at market, but mostly thinking about how people are unworthy of eating such a great fish.
The dead marlin trails blood, which lures in the sharks.
Finally, Santiago returns home, where the other fishermen gape at the marlin’s skeletal remains.
They’re pretty jealous.
Manolin is relieved to find Santiago back in his hut.
The two drink coffee, talk baseball, and decide to be fishing partners again.
So the old man does.