The action unfolds in a small village on the shore of the Gulf in the Mexican part of California. The protagonist, Kino, the poor pearl-bearer, wakes up in his modest reed hut; next to him his wife Juan and baby Coyotito, sleeping in a box suspended from the ceiling. Having fed the child, Juan again puts it in a box. At this moment, to the horror of the parents, the scorpion, descending the rope, stings the boy. The movie manages to grab and crush the scorpion, but the poison has already penetrated the child’s body. Juan tries to suck out the poison. The neighbors scream at the cry of the child: the scorpion’s bite is very dangerous, and Kino carries the boy to the beautiful house where the white doctor lives. This “fat, lazy person” belongs to a race that “beat and starved for almost four centuries, and plundered and despised Kino’s fellow tribesmen.” Having learned from the servant about the coming of the Cinema, the doctor says that he does not want to treat “some Indians” from insect bites. Cinema also does not have the money to pay for a doctor’s appointment, and the servant tells him that the doctor is not at home. Feeling a sense of shame, humiliated Kino returns to his hut.
This morning, Cinema, along with Juan, goes to the shore of the Gulf to start catching pearls. He sits down in the boat, taking the basket to which the rope is tied; the other end of it is tied to a stone. This is his primitive, but
Juan’s joy is caught in her breath. Looking at Coyotito, she notices that her son’s swelling subsides, that his body has overcome the poison. Filled with happiness, Cinema emits a cheerful cry.
Meanwhile, the village, likened to a living organism, lives its own life. No sooner had Kino, Juan and other catchers reached the reed huts, as the city’s nerves tensed and vibrated, taking the startling message: “The movie caught the pearl – the biggest in the world.” The news that Kino has become fabulously rich, immediately changes his attitude to him Everyone thinks about how he can benefit from this.
The cinema is betrayed by dreams, to which he will use his wealth: he will marry Khu-ana in the church, buy a new sailor suit from Coyotito, see him sitting at a desk. In the end, the main thing for him, illiterate, suppressed by the need and oppression of the Indian, is to give his son an education so that he can “read and write.” And a local priest hurries to his poor hut and asks him to deduct money for the church. The white doctor is also: he is ready to treat Coyotito and gives him a cure, from which the baby becomes only worse. During the second visit, he pours into his mouth some kind of drug, after which the case is on the mend. Thus, he demonstrates his healing power, hoping to get a good reward. Now you have to sell the movie to the pearl to pay the doctor.
Early in the morning, he travels to La Paz, a nearby town, to which is adjoined a village of pearl fishermen. And this event becomes a common property: everyone with greedy eyes watches over him. Now, Kino will face dealers who act together as a “one-handed buyer,” whose goal is to cheat, to bring down the price as much as possible, to get as much profit as possible. One by one bypasses the Cinema of their office, where they offer him a very small price for his treasure and also try to prove that the pearl is not so perfect.
Both Kino and Juan feel the atmosphere of tension beginning to thicken around them; they seemed to have entered a new, unexplored strip of existence, quite unusual for them. A purposeful hunting for their pearl begins. At night in the hut, Kino feels someone’s light movement next to him. Someone has penetrated into his home. Juan sees a wound on her husband’s face. Who did this is unknown. Juan tells her husband that she is afraid that the pearl is “bad”, that it must be destroyed before she destroys them herself, suggests that she be thrown into the sea. But Kino strongly objects. “I will not give up,” he insists, “I will prevail.” We will not lose our happiness. ” Tomorrow, with the first rays of the sun, they will move.
They again go to bed. Then Juan decides to go alone to the shore and throw the pearl into the sea. Noticing this, Kino rushes after her, seized with anger. At this time, some people, hiding in a reed, rush at him, begin to search him. In the battle with the attackers, Kino kills one of them with a knife. Others escape. But they could not take away the pearl. Running Juan found her, fallen out of the hands of Kino, on the path. The movie tells her to run to the hut rather quickly, grab Coyotito and a little corn to escape from the enemies in the boat. But it turns out that in the boat, well-tarred, its main wealth, the bottom is pierced-Enemies and here tried to bring him irreparable damage. He hurries home and sees that his hut is engulfed in flames. With his wife and child, Kino hides in the hut of Juan Thomas. The whole village is seething, discussing the fire and the disappearance of the Kino family.
At night with his wife and baby, he secretly leaves the village. Covered with fear, sweeping through the tracks, through the wind, covering their faces, they move at a rapid pace. Nobody sees them. Juan has a small bag on her shoulders with meager food, in the hands of Coyotito. Finally they enter a deserted, deserted area, begin to ascend to the mountains. And then Kino notices people in the distance: two footmen and a rider. These are their pursuers: mountaineers-snoopers, by the smallest signs, are able to discover how and where the person is moving. Fearful, the fugitives continue their journey. But the pursuers are confidently moving along the trail. The sun begins to touch the teeth of the granite mountains, and Kino goes to the cleft, where under the rock of the brook formed a small bocause. Thirsty, Cinema and Juan finally quench her, and the mother is washing the baby. Laying down Coyotito, Cinema from the top observes how the pursuers reached the bouncer, leaving the horse somewhere below, and stopped for the night. Two rangers go to bed, the third with a rifle guards. Kino decides to deal with them. He quietly descends from the top, armed with a knife. At this moment begins to cry Coyotito. Two trackers begin to discuss this. They think it’s a howling coyote, and they decide to “calm it down.” And at the very moment when one of the trackers shoots in the direction of the cave, Kino quickly rushes at him, his knife pierces the enemy in the neck. And at this moment, above the cave, the heartrending cry of Juan is heard from the cave. A small Coyotito was killed. Two trackers begin to discuss this. They think it’s a howling coyote, and they decide to “calm it down.” And at the very moment when one of the trackers shoots in the direction of the cave, Kino quickly rushes at him, his knife pierces the enemy in the neck. And at this moment, above the cave, the heartrending cry of Juan is heard from the cave. A small Coyotito was killed. Two trackers begin to discuss this. They think it’s a howling coyote, and they decide to “calm it down.” And at the very moment when one of the trackers shoots in the direction of the cave, Kino quickly rushes at him, his knife pierces the enemy in the neck. And at this moment, above the cave, the heartrending cry of Juan is heard from the cave. A small Coyotito was killed.
… Everyone in La Paz remember their return. They go grieving, with a jerky step, like artfully made wooden dolls, go to their village, to the black square that once was their home. Then they go to the Gulf. They do not look at anyone, not even on their broken boat. The cinema holds a pearl in his hand. It is a kind of mirror of what is happening. Much is reflected in it. And she herself is changing. Its surface is gray, bumpy. She is terrible, like a malignant tumor. Behind Cinema stands Juan, holding in her hand a terrible bundle with the dead man’s calf. And Kino throws a pearl into the sea. Long stand near Cinema and Juan, do not take their eyes from the place where the pearl has disappeared.
The final lines of the story are as follows: “… The pearl touched the beautiful green water and went to the bottom.” The swaying algae was called, beckoned to her, beautiful green patches of light played on her. She touched the sandy bottom, the water on the sea surface was like a green mirror. the pearl lay on the bottom, among the pinnate fern-like plants, the crab slipping past it, picked up a light cloud of sand behind it, and when it dissipated, the pearl disappeared and the Pearl’s song first went into an inarticulate whisper, and then completely ceased. “