Author's Note:

This is basically a short story sequel to the Pearl, so any reference to the book and its characters are obviously John Steinbeck's. Those of you who haven't read the Pearl should read it-should take you 'bout a half an hour(seriously)-and then read this. This takes place about 30 or so years after the The Pearl, but same place.

PS

Sorry if you're a visual person who likes descriptions of the characters(Mike:P),too bad. I was trying to write this in the style of Steinbeck and so held back with the descriptions.

Enjoy and R&R

Part 1: Songs of Many Things

Songs of different patterns, but only subtlety, played through Eduardo's head: the Song of Family was the most prominent, but blended together with the Songs of Peace, Growth, and Happiness. His uncle had taught him about the Songs. And even though he had now past away years past his Song still played through the hearts of those who loved him. Eduardo sat in the middle of his hut, mending the handcrafted fishing net that his cousin, and his uncle's second son, Rafael, had given him and Eduardo's wife, Aalena, for a wedding present. His strong fingers deftly wound the strings together in the mesh, and did not look up when Aalena walked in with their son, Teioh.

"Papa, Papa," yelled the little one when his eyes light on Eduardo, "look at ma pearl, Papa! I foun' a pearl!" That brought up Eduardo`s head quickly. With barely a sound he rose and walked to his son. When he gently opened Teioh`s wee fist an incandescent shining pearl lay there, glittering like the sun. It was no matter that it was only the size of a large grain of sand; it was a pearl! No pearl greater than the legendary one his uncle found had ever been surfaced, and this one was no match to it either. This one would earn his son some money that Eduardo would use to buy him shoes and maybe a small spear for catching fish in the shallow pools. "Papa, can we go fine mo' pearls? I can find mo' for us!" He scrunched up his face and pleaded with his father. It did not take long for Eduardo to break down and agree, for who knows what they could find. There were all sorts at the bottom of the ocean, even this close to shore, and the pearl beds should still be intact.

After the pearl incident that made his uncle famous in their village, pearl diving had become awkward and people had fallen out of the habit. Eventually all of the pearl hunters were now replaced with the fishers and hunters of the region. Though Eduardo always thought that the reason that people didn't pearl dive any more is that they were afraid of finding the pearl again and letting it wreak havoc and chaos like it did before.

Down at the beach Aalena and Eduardo carried their short little canoe down to the beach where they, along with Teioh, launched into the warm, aqua waters of the Gulf. While Teioh watched excitedly clenching his pearl, Eduardo stripped, picked up the rock he gathered before they left, and dove into the clear rippling blue. Underneath the sea he looked around in wonder as he always did when he was a boy diving with his father and uncle. A small school swam by his face as he gracefully maneuvered past jutting rocks and down the short distance to the rocky bottom. In a short time he had located and collected many oysters that seemed likely prospects. As he floated over the bottom one last time to take in the moment he noticed a gargantuan claw sticking out from behind a patch of seaweed. Eduardo's curiosity could not be satisfied until he had at least a look. He lifted aside the weed and there lay the biggest king crab he had ever seen in his life. The crab must not have been dead very long because it was still very much intact. A trophy, or a good luck sign, thought Eduardo. On a whim he carefully picked up the crab with his free hand, and kicked out for all he was worth. His lungs started to burn before he reached the surface, and for a second his vision wavered as though he might lose consciousness, but he made it and took a deep, gasping breath. Seeing that he needed a hand, Aalena helped him into the boat after taking from him the basket of oysters and the crab. Her eyes had almost popped when she saw that, and Teioh was also gazing at it with unbelieving eyes. Then after the shock wore off, Eduardo could see that sadness tinged his son's face and his wife had a look of regret.

"He has dropped his pearl," was all that Aalena said, and Eduardo felt regret as well for he knew how much the boy had treasured the pearl.

That night Juan Thomas and his wife, Eduardo's mother, were over visiting because Eduardo had invited them to see his find. While the women were preparing a brief dinner, Juan Thomas and son were trying to work out how to open the crab without damaging the shell in a major way. In the end they decided that they would need to open the stomach and torso and then work from the inside to get the meat they could reach. Using his small stone knife Juan Thomas removed the stomach but paused when he handled it, and looked hesitantly at Eduardo.

"Open it," Eduardo whispered to his father, he thought that it was probably just a rock that it had swallowed by accident sometime in its life, but something told him that it wasn't so. Juan Thomas cautiously slit open the bag and the pearl rolled onto the ground. Eduardo was in shock, as was his father. Here it was, the pearl, the legendary pearl that had been talked about for the good part of a decade, and here it was sitting serenely on his floor covered in a thin paste of the stomach contents.

Juan Thomas was crying. Crying over the loss of his son, and his brother. His brother had found the pearl, and it had consumed him. Even after it was gone he had dreamt about it and was seen talking to himself often on the beach, and in the church. Until the day he succumbed to malnutrition and death Kino had been obsessed with the pearl. Though it wasn't true, Juan Thomas knew it not to be true, it was told that Kino had killed himself by drowning in the sea while desperately searching for the pearl until he was removed of his breathing privileges. And now it had his son it's grip, and there was no escape. When the pearl had rolled out, Eduardo had gently picked it up and gone down to the beach to wash it off, and when he came back he looked straight at Juan Thomas and said that he would not throw it away. That it wouldn't destroy him like it did his uncle. That he was stronger and would withstand the trials to keep such a thing.

And so Juan Thomas cried.

Rafael wanted it. He stroked his father's old rifle thoughtfully, while thinking hard about recent events. How had God chosen his haughty cousin, Eduardo, instead of him to carry his father's pearl? Rafael's pearl. His pearl, now that his uncaring and coarse father had finally kicked the bucket. It should have been his; he was the son of Kino, so why had God not chosen him? Rafael looked down at the rifle in his hands and gripped it in rage until his knuckles grew white. The rage and anger filled him until he got up and ran from the hut he shared with his mother.

Juana was bringing over some of the rabbit her son had caught to her nephew's house. It was a tradition they had made since Kino had died. Oh Kino. She lamented and prayed a second in her thoughts. Besides there would be plenty left for herself and her wastrel son Rafael. She felt pity for the boy, and while was able to sympathize with him she was never able to love him; though she knew that was a terrible idea it was true nonetheless. Always she had felt that Rafael was replacing her first son-another prayer and a longer lament-and so she had always been so much colder than a mother could because she resented him for that. As a product of her cold and Kino's indifferent and callous outlook upon life ever sinceā€¦the pearl Rafael didn't become simply a wastrel, he became an independent wastrel that could hunt quite well.

Walking into the hut that had been built not so long ago in her mind, seven years ago, she saw several things at once, but only one of which propelled her into a corner and made her begin to weep and cry out in a hysteria that was strangely understandable. There, in the hand of her nephew, the most respectable and honorable man she knew, lay the object of her nightmares, the pearl. It glimmered at her as if to say, "I'm back for another Juana, and you can't save this one either," for she saw Eduardo's eyes then too and knew the terrible truth of the pearl.

"No Eddie, no, please God, no! Why have you found it Eddie, you are happy without it," she had to try to do something for the sake of Aalena and the child, "Please Eddie, throw it back, you know what will happen!"

Rafael knew. He was standing outside listening to his mother's pathetic ranting and knew his greedy, beady-eyed little cousin would refuse. Well Rafael would spare Eduardo of the shame of ignoring his own aunt for money. He turned into the house and fired two shots spaced apart about the time it took to swing the barrel from Eduardo to his mother. Staying a second longer to collect his fee, he hurried from the hut and ran home.