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The old man and the boy have a close relationship. "Manolin has been forbidden to fish with the old man because he is "salao, truly unlucky". But by the end of the story Manolin decides to continue. Even though Santiago is mocked by the younger fishermen, Manolin sees Santiago as a mentor, even a father figure. He visits the old man in his shack, carries his gear and listens to his stories, Manolin is a true apprentice. In exchange Santiago imparts what secrets he knows about the sea and her many moods."
They have been fishing buddies for a long time and the boy loves the Old Man. He tries to take care of him as much as he can, and he prefers to be with the Old Man when his parents want him to leave the Old Man and fish with someone who is more prosperous and successful. The Old Man misses the boy the minute they are apart especially when he is fishing without him.