The boy arrives at Santiago's shack the morning after the old man returns, as he has each of the previous mornings. Manolin has already been to the harbor, and has seen Santiago's skiff and the 18 foot long marlin skeleton. When he sees the sleeping old man's hands the boy begins to cry. As he passes other fishermen to obtain
coffee for Santiago, he "did not care that they saw him crying" (122).
The old man finally wakes up with the boy by his side, and they talk briefly. Santiago learns that the coast guard and airplanes had been searching the ocean for him during his three day absence. In addition, the boy informs Santiago that they will fish together again, in spite of Manolin's parents' orders. When the old man protests that
he is not lucky anymore, the boy replies, "The hell with luck. I'll bring the luck with me" (125). After Santiago reveals that he suffered "plenty," (126) Manolin leaves -- crying again -- to bring food, newspapers, and medicine for Santiago's hands.
Down at the harbor several tourists see the marlin's long white spine "in the water among the empty beer cans and dead barracudas" (126). When they ask a waiter what it is, the man replies, "Eshark," (127) trying to explain what had happened. The tourists misunderstand, believing they are seeing a shark's skeleton, and remain oblivious to the three day saga that destroyed, but did not defeat, the old man. After his time of suffering Santiago finally rests, and the novel ends how it began, as "Up the road, in his shack, the old man was sleeping again. He was still sleeping on his face and the boy was sitting by him watching him. The old man was dreaming about the lions" (127).