This post was written in response to Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch’s weekly #99 word Flash Fiction Challenge. This week’s prompt is to include a fishing tale in the story. Check out other entries or take part yourself!
Passing on the Spear
Manolin pounded his fists on the weathered door. “Santiago, I’ve brought you coffee!”
The old man had spent the last weeks chasing a giant marlin and fighting off sharks with a simple knife on his way back home. The boy admired him as the best fisherman.
“Get dressed, Santiago! We need to go out to sea again. There are plenty more marlins to catch!”
Santiago looked up, his eyes shining and beads of sweat dripping down his brow. “You go. Here, I give you my spear.”
“But you must teach me!”
“Not anymore. Now I must join the lions.”
This flash is a reinterpretation of the final scene of The Old Man and the Sea, where the Old man (Santiago) hands his spear over to his apprentice, the boy (Manolin) and closes his eyes dreaming of the lions he saw in his youth.
Santiago, believes his life has come to an end, after his final, exhausting and futile battle against the marlin and the sharks. He managed to return home, but the sharks ate his trophy, the marlin, which was strapped to the side of his ship, so he only had its carcass to show, and considers himself defeated.
The old man accepts his fate and the natural order of the cycle of life, according to which all creatures are both predator and prey. He has reached the end of his cycle and can no longer help his apprentice, Manolin. The old man gives the boy his spear, symbolically passing on his skill and encourages him to continue his own journey as fisherman. Meanwhile Santiago, dreams of the lions he saw in Africa when he was a young man.
This weekend I was lucky enough to have my grandchildren again. They asked me what my friend wanted me to write a story about and I said a fish. They both decided to draw a mermaid!