Pelayo and Elisenda’s newfound prosperity is the physical manifestation of the magic and wonder the old man brings to their lives. As the story opens, the couple lives in an almost comical state of poverty as swarms of crabs invade their home. Even worse, their young son is deathly ill. The old man, however, brings hundreds of pilgrims who don’t mind paying Pelayo and Elisenda a small fee for the privilege of seeing him. The proceeds bring Pelayo and Elisenda a new house, a new business, and more money than they know how to spend. This remarkable turn in fortune happens so gradually that Pelayo and Elisenda don’t really see how remarkable it is. Elisenda even refers to her new home as a “hell full of angels” once the old man is allowed inside after the chicken coop collapses.