The relationship between the old man and the boy is introduced early in the story. They are unlikely companions; one is old and the other young, yet they share an insuperable amount of respect and loyalty for each other. Santiago does not treat Manolin as a young boy but rather as an equal. Age is not a factor in their relationship. Manolin does not even act as a young boy; he is mature and sensitive to Santiago?s feelings. He even offers to go against his parent?s wishes and accompany Santiago on his fishing trips. Santiago is viewed as an outcast in his village because he has not caught any fish for more than eighty-four days and is therefore unlucky. Nonetheless Manolin is loyal to Santiago and even when his parents forbid him he wants to help his friend.
Their conversations are comfortable, like that of two friends who have known each other for their whole lives. When they speak it is usually about baseball or fishing, the two things they have most in common. Their favorite team is the Yankees and Santiago never loses faith in them even when the star player, Joe DiMaggio is injured with a heel spur. In this way Santiago not only teaches Manolin about fishing but also about important characteristics such as faith.