The story opens just before dawn. Kino awakes to the familiar sounds of roosters and pigs outside his brush house in a small village by the sea. He listens to the waves of the sea splashing outside and hears a peaceful song in his head. Coyotito sleeps in a little hanging box, and Juana gets up to start a fire to make corn cakes for breakfast. Kino walks out of the hut and basks in the sunrise, listening to the comforting sounds of the sea with his dog by his side. He pictures Juana inside the house as she cleans Coyotito and holds him with her shawl as a make-shift hammock just as other wives in the other brush houses are doing the same.
After the couple finishes eating their breakfast, the perfect morning is shattered. Kino and Juana watch in horror as a scorpion climbs on the delicate string of Coyotito's hanging box. Juana quietly says the Hail Mary prayer as Kino creeps across the room to grab the vermin and save the baby. The happy child shakes the string and the scorpion falls into the crib, stinging him in the shoulder. Kino grabs the insect crushing it inside his fist and then stomping it on the ground with fury. Juana grabs the child and tries to suck out the venom while the poor child wails helplessly.
The entire brush house community hears the child screaming and rushes out to see. Kino's brother, Juan Tomas, his wife, Apolonia, and their four children are among them. Word spreads quickly that Coyotito has been stung by a scorpion. While an adult could survive the sting, it might be fatal for the infant. In a desperate attempt to save the child, Juana calls for the doctor. The rich doctor would never visit the brush houses because he only serves the wealthy townspeople, so Juana and Kino carry Coyotito into town followed by their community.
Newcomers who have heard of the scorpion join the crowd. Beggars from in front of the church size up Juana and Kino, eyeing Kino's tattered clothes and Juana's braided hair. Knowing all of the business from the town and the doctor's infamous coldhearted practice, the beggars anticipate the transaction. The smell of bacon frying wafts from the doctor's house into the courtyard. Though his people have been persecuted for hundreds of years by men of the doctor's race, Kino sucks in his pride to ask for help as poor Coyotito moans in pain.
With sinister music pulsating in his head, Kino explains to a servant that the baby has been stung. Inside the mansion, the fat lazy doctor sits in bed among silken sheets as servants bear delicate china filled with the doctor's breakfast. Luxurious knick knacks surround the bedroom as the doctor eats sweet biscuits and chocolate. When the servant tells him of the baby with a scorpion sting, the doctor responds with irritation that he does not have time for such trifles and asks if the family can pay for his services. When Kino offers eight small misshapen pearls, the servant tells him that the doctor has gone out to tend to a serious case and returns the measly pay while shutting the gate firmly. In frustration, Kino punches the gate, and blood trickles down his knuckles.
Browse all book notes|
Chapter 4 - 1
Chapter 4 - 2