History takes place in the ocean. Off the Cuban coasts. The old fisherman has been abandoned by the luck. He has not fished for anything for eighty-five days. He decides to go in the open sea with his boat. Far from other fishermen' s boats. Where the ocean is deep. The old man is alone on the boat. There are the fishes and the birds to do him company. Arrived to the most suitable point he starts to prepare the equipment. He puts the baits to the fish hooks and dips the fishing lines to different depth. The old man is still an able fisherman. He was born to do the fisherman. During the wait he thinks about his life, the baseball matches and the big Joe di Maggio. He hopes to caught a big fish which will yield him good gains. However the climate is optimum, the sun shines, the Ocean is calm, the wind is not blowing. Pass the hours, dragged from the current, the old man doesn' t fish anything. Suddenly the small stick bounded to a fishing line it breaks. A fish has raisen to the bait. The fisherman realize that it is a big fish doing a strong pressure on the fishing line. The fish is at many meters of depth, probably it unaware of what happens, it drags the boat at the open sea. The old man doesn' t see the dry land anymore. The fish doesn' t get tired and the night falls. The old man is tired and hungry. The fish swims counter-current dragging the boat behind. Suddenly, the old man see the fishline to rise up from the depth until it become horizontal to the surface of the sea; so the fish jump out of the water. The fisherman see it and understand that he must fight against the greatest fish he has never fished.
The battle lasts more than three days during which the old is nourished by a bait and a fish that succeeds to fish with another line. But the old man, obstinate and burnt, manages to bring the fish in surface and strikes it with a harpoon in the heart. It is a giant Marlin, it' s longer than his boat. So he fastens it by the side of the boat, hoists the mast and sails homeward. Despite the open sea the oldman is able to move very well. But his adventure doesn' t end. The wound of the fish leaves a trail scented of blood that attracts the sharks. Then he must fight also against them. But it is an unequal struggle. The sharks devour the fish leaving only the skeleton. The fisherman is resigned, tired and wounded. He sees the lights of the city from far away and the boat lightened by the load shall quickly to the coast. The oldman lands; he goes to his hut with great difficulty, he stretches on the bed and sleeps deeply. Meanwhile, the fishermen, group around his boat, admiring the skeleton. Everyone understand that he has made an exceptional undertaking. But the oldman was alone in the sea and the sea recovered what the fisherman had removed.