<div class="text">He  was  an  old  man  who  fished  alone  in  a  skiff  in  the  Gulf  Stream  and  he  had  gone  eighty-four days now without taking a fish. In the first forty days a boy had been with him. But  after  forty  days  without  a  fish  the  boy’s  parents  had  told  him  that  the  old  man  was  now definitely and finally salao, which is the worst form of unlucky, and the boy had gone at  their  orders  in  another  boat  which  caught  three  good  fish  the  first  week.  It  made  the  boy  sad  to  see  the  old  man  come  in  each  day  with  his  skiff  empty  and  he  always  went  down to help him carry either the coiled lines  or  the  gaff  and  harpoon  and  the  sail  that  was  furled  around  the  mast.  The  sail  was  patched  with  flour  sacks and, furled, it looked like the flag of permanent defeat.   The  old  man  was  thin  and  gaunt  with  deep  wrinkles  in  the  back  of  his  neck.  The  brown blotches of the benevolent skin cancer the sun brings from its [9] reflection on the tropic  sea  were  on  his  cheeks.  The  blotches  ran  well  down  the  sides  of  his  face  and  his  hands  had  the  deep-creased  scars  from  handling  heavy  fish  on  the  cords.  But  none  of  these scars were fresh. They were as old as erosions in a fishless desert. 
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