Please summarize the story "The Colomber" by Dino Buzzatti.

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "The Colomber," a boy named Stefano Roi accompanies his father, who is a sea captain, aboard his boat and sees a strange fish on the horizon. His father explains that Stefano has seen a colomber, a kind of shark who follows his victim without ceasing and who can only be seen by the intended victim and his or her family. The father believes that the colomber will devour Stefano, so he sends his son away to an inland school. Eventually, Stefano takes up work in a store, but he feels drawn to the sea. After his father dies, Stefano, consumed by thoughts of the colomber (who he continues to see from the dock), becomes a successful sailor. His desire to escape the colomber makes him an able and determined sailor.

When Stefano is old, he realizes that the colomber has pursued him for 50 years. He decides to meet the fish, and he takes a small boat out to where the fish lurks in the water. In a strange way, he admires the fish's fidelity to him. When Stefano meets the fish, the fish gives him a magnificent pearl, called the Perla del Mare, which confers power and good luck on those who have it. The fish explains that he never meant to harm Stefano, and then the fish disappears forever. Stefano realizes too late that he has destroyed his own life (and that of the colomber) by fearing the fish. Two months later, fishermen find Stefano's skeleton grasping a small stone.  

epollock | Student


"The Colomber" by Dino Buzzati is a wonderful gripping tale of suspense and mystery.

Stefano Roi, a 12-year old boy, gets on his father's ship and decides he wants to live a life at sea, just like his father. He notices a strange creature in the water and alerts his father. His father tells him that he has seen the colomber--a ferocious shark that goes after its victims until death but is invisible to everyone except the victim and their blood relatives.

The father steers the ship around and leaves Stefano on shore. Stefano then leaves for school, but everytime he returns, he sees the colomber waiting for him in the ocean.

His father soon dies, and Stefano goes to sea despite the danger from the colomber. Stefano takes many voyages continually tormented by the colomber and doesn't spend too much time at home.

Stefano then confronts the colomber, who explains that he has not been tormenting him but trying to offer him a pearl of the sea. Two months later, a boat washes up on shore with a skeleton grasping a small stone in its hand.

The story adds a touch of horror at the end to make it a wonderful story.

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