“Perico gave it to me at the bodega,” he explained.
On the first day, Santiago says he will read about baseball in the newspaper while he waits for Manolin to return. Manolin wonders how Santiago got the newspaper, and Santiago explains that Perico, the owner of the bodega, gave the paper to him. Santiago likely does not have money to buy a newspaper, but Perico shows his kindness and respect for the old man by giving the paper to him free of charge.
“Perico is looking after the skiff and the gear. What do you want done with the head?” “Let Perico chop it up to use in fish traps.”
After Santiago returns home exhausted and injured, Manolin takes care of him. Manolin controls his grief that Santiago went through the ordeal alone by attending to the business details of the catch. A fellow fisherman, Perico rallies to help Santiago, too. Santiago shows his appreciation by giving Perico the marlin’s head. His words relegating the marlin to fish bait bring closure to his epic battle with the creature that he once envisioned as too noble to be eaten by anyone.
“Rest well, old man. I will bring stuff from the drugstore for your hands.” “Don’t forget to tell Perico the head is his.”
Manolin tenderly cares for his mentor Santiago after the ordeal of landing the marlin. They trade news of the search for Santiago and details of their fishing trips, and they make plans for their next fishing trip together. As Manolin goes out to get medicine for Santiago’s injured hands, Santiago reminds him to let Perico know he can keep the head of the marlin—all that remains of his remarkable achievement. His comment shows his readiness for the next adventure.