Whenever Santiago wished to find a happy place he often turned to a memory, from back in his youth, of lions on a yellow beach. The significant importance of this beach and especially the lions is that they both symbolize happiness and youth. In fact the old man mostly dreamed about "the long yellow beach . . . [full of] lions . . . [where] he [sometimes] waited to see if there would be more" (Hemingway 81) and in his dreams the lions often "played like young cats in the dusk" (Hemingway 25). Whenever he dreams of or thinks about the lions "he was happy" (Hemingway 81). This is probably because they, in his mind, symbolize his youth and whenever he thinks or dreams about them they would bring back memories of his youthful day, back in a time when he was strong and freely able to travel the world. These are the days that he would always want to remember. In other words, the lions can be interpreted as Santiago's window of sanctity in a cold and hard world full of daily hardships and challenges that need to be overcome.