Salvatore is a man of few words and simple gestures. He lives with his fisherman father, mother and two younger brothers on an island in Italy. The story sketches his personality and how he overcomes odds and difficulties in his life with calmness, self-control and resilience.
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At fifteen years of age, Salvatore is already a responsible adult and takes care of his younger siblings. He enjoys his time at the sea with his father. He also finds a beautiful island girl and they get engaged to be married. Soon, he gets enlisted in the King’s navy and leaves home with the fleet.
Salvatore is homesick and yearns for his beloved on his journeys with the navy. On one such journey to China, he suffers from rheumatic fever. Seemingly an incurable disease, he is removed from the navy and returns home. He remains upbeat and waits eagerly to have a reunion with people he loves back home.
Joy and Despair
He is welcomed joyously by his family but the girl of dreams seems to have outgrown him due to his rheumatism. The girl and her mother decry Salvatore’s inability to function like a healthy man and end their engagement.
Disappointed but still not bitter, Salvatore accepts fate’s course patiently. His mother insists that he should marry Assunta, an older woman who is smitten with him. Even though he does not love Assunta or find her attractive, he agrees to the marriage.
His Married Life
The couple begins a love-filled marriage which gives them two sons. For work, Salvatore begins to fish during nights and work on vineyards during the day. He never complains about his problems or regrets about things that he never got. He showers his wife and kids with love and all his attention. He dedicates his energy in his work and is able to flourish in it.
The entire story is a simple but beautiful lesson about building a life of dignity, honesty and love. Salvatore never criticizes others or his misfortune for his troubles. He rather learns to accept the circumstances and work with care and compassion toward a better and happier solution.