OLD MAN AND THE SEA

28. HAND GAME COMPETITION

Ans: In ordeMb^)post*yp his morale, the old man recalled to his mind the historic hand-gap! competition he had with Negro from Cienfuegos. He was known as the strongest man at t}ie docks. Santiago challenged him to a trial of physical strength and the hand-game. The competition was held at an inn, of Casablanca. Both the’lpen seated themselves round a table, facing each other. A line was drawn at the centre if tKe*table. The two contenders rested their elbows on the line, holding up their forearms and gripping each other’s hand tightly. Each one of them applied his whole strength to bring down the opponent’s arm down to the surface of the table. A large crowd of spectators kept sitting around them, watching them with great curiosity in the light of oil lamp. Due to constant straining, blood starting oozing from the finger tips of both the contender. The odds continued changing from time to time. But the contest seemed to end in a draw. The supporters of the Negro went on offering him drink and cigarettes. He once succeeded in upsetting the balance and bringing Santiago’s hand three inches lower to the surface of the table. But the Old Man soon succeeded in regaining the balancing position.