"Salvatore" is a short story written by William Somerset Maugham. The story was published as "Salvatore the Fisherman" in the July 1924 issue of Cosmopolitan.
The short story begins with Maugham himself addressing the reader. The author inquires whether he would be able to keep the reader's attention throughout the story. The story of Salvatore the character then begins. Salvatore is a simple young man from provincial Italy. He spends his youth playing and relaxing at the beach near where his father, a fisherman, would catch fish.
When he became a teenager, Salvatore fell in love with a beautiful local girl. However, their romance had barely begun when Salvatore joined the military as a sailor. Salvatore saw many parts of Italy and even East Asia, but his homesickness grew the longer he traveled. He longed for his hometown, but he especially missed the young woman he loved.
While sailing to China, Salvatore developed rheumatism. This made him unable to continue his naval career. This, however, was a blessing to Salvatore because it meant he could finally go home.
Once home, his family greeted him with adoration and love. However, he noticed that the woman he loved was not present at his homecoming. Salvatore goes to the woman's mother's house, where he finds both of them. The mother coldly tells Salvatore that they know about his rheumatism. The mother prevents Salvatore from marrying the young woman because the mother believed his condition would limit his ability to work.
Although devastated, Salvatore had to accept the mother's decision. One day, Salvatore's mother informs him that another young woman had fallen in love with him. He refuses, still depressed over his heartbreak, but he eventually relents and leans to fall in love with the young woman introduced by his mother.
They have two children and Salvatore becomes a fisherman just like his father. Despite his medical condition, Salvatore works literally day and night to provide for his family. Not once did Salvatore curse his condition or show self-pity.
Salvatore proves to be a loyal husband and loving father to his children. The story concludes with Maugham once again addressing the reader. He proclaims that he is successful in his attempt to keep the reader's attention.
So what is the story about? Maugham stated that there is no complex plot or philosophical subtext to the story. The story of Salvatore simply shows that the only quality one needs to possess is "goodness, just goodness."