My son will read and open the books . . . he will know and through him we will know. . . . This is what the pearl will do.
Word of Kino’s discovery travels quickly. Even before Kino returns to his brush house, everyone in town knows that he has found “the Pearl of the World.” Throughout town, people of every class—from the beggar to the businessman to the priest—dream of how Kino’s pearl can help them. Like everyone else, the doctor who turned Kino away desires the pearl.
Ignorant of others’ jealousy, Kino and Juana delight in their good fortune, inviting family and friends to share their joy in their newfound treasure. When Juan Tomás asks Kino what he will do with his wealth, Kino details his plans: a proper marriage in the church, new clothing for the family, a harpoon, and a rifle, among other things. Kino’s new boldness amazes Juana, especially when he expresses his desire for Coyotito to be sent to school and educated. Kino himself is surprised somewhat by his own resolute statement, and all of the neighbors stare at the mighty pearl with a mixture of hope and fear at the enormous changes that lie ahead.
As dusk approaches, Juana revives the fire, and the neighbors overstay their welcome. Near dark, the priest comes to deliver a benediction. Once he has blessed the household, he asks to see the pearl. Dazzled, the priest implores Kino to remember the church in his new prosperity. Juana announces their intention to be married in the church, and the priest leaves them with a kind word. A sense of evil overcomes Kino in the wake of the priest’s visit.
The neighbors disperse to their own suppers, and Juana begins to prepare a meal of baked beans. Kino huddles beneath a blanket in the cold night, keeping the pearl close to his body. Plagued with continued ill feeling, Kino meditates on the former security of his family, and on the menacing uncertainty into which their newfound fortune has cast them.
From the door of his brush house, Kino watches two men approach. The figures prove to be the doctor and his servant, who have come to examine Coyotito’s wound. Kino brusquely dismisses the doctor’s attentions, but when the doctor makes a sinister insinuation about the lingering potential for infection, Kino relents and allows him to enter. Juana is extremely suspicious of the doctor, but Kino reassures her. When the doctor examines Coyotito, he contends that he has found evidence of complications and produces a capsule of medication that he proceeds to administer. Claiming that the poison will strike within an hour and that the medicine may prove lifesaving, the doctor declares that he will return in an hour to check on Coyotito’s progress.
As Juana stares at Coyotito with concern, Kino realizes that he has been careless in not guarding the pearl. Without delay, he wraps the pearl in a rag, digs a hole, and buries the pearl in a corner of the brush house, concealing the hiding place from view. As Kino eats his supper, a small black puppy lingers in the doorway and shakes its tail nervously. Afterward, Juana alerts Kino that Coyotito’s condition is growing worse, and she sings soothingly in an effort to comfort the baby. When Coyotito becomes visibly ill, an evil feeling fills Kino once again.