He is attached to the old man as a calf to its mother. Manolin takes very good care of the old man. He helps him carry gear to and from the shack. He listens to him avidly and showers the sincerest praises on him. He calls him, and believes it truly, that old man is the greatest fisherman in the world. He serves the old man with beer and brings him sumptuous supper from time to time.
Manolin, the boy, is the symbol of the old man’s lost youth. It is he who has been teaching him fishing since his early childhood. The old man treats him like a loving father. Being issueless and widower Santiago is attached to him as a true friend, a mentor and a lover. Manolin too returns his passion with the same vehemence.
It is true that he deserts the old man under pressure from his parents but his heart is still with him. When the old man does not return for three days, he is exceedingly restless. He is the first person to discover him in the shack and is so sorry for his miserable condition that he cries his heart out. He brings him hot coffee and promises to stay with him forever and ever. When Santiago says, he is unlucky, Manolin bursts: “The hell with the luck. I’ll bring luck with me.” He is thus a paragon of friendship, love and loyalty.