A young and strong man named Kino once lived in the city, La Paz, near the Gulf shore. He had a beautiful wife named Juana, and a child named Coyotito. "His people had once been great makers of songs so that everything they saw or thought or did or heard became a song." That was a long time ago though. The songs remained, but no new songs were added. At the moment, Kino could only hear one song, it was clear and soft. Kino would have called it the Song of the Family. His usual breakfasts consisted of rolled hot corncake and sauce with the occasional drink of pulque. .
The sun rose, "warming the brush house, breaking through its crevices in long streaks. And one of the streaks fell on the hanging box where Coyotito lie, and on the ropes that held it." A sudden tiny movement got Kino and Juana's attention. The sudden movement was caused by a scorpion that was down the rope that hung the baby's box from the roof. Instead of the song of the Family, Kino had heard a new song, the Song of Evil. .
Kino stepped up to the box cautiously and slowly, while Coyotito was laughing and reaching to touch the scorpion. The laughing Coyotito shook the rope and the scorpion fell. Kino reached out his hand to try to catch it, but he missed and the scorpion fell on the baby's shoulder, landed and struck his poisonous sting. Kino threw the scorpion on to the floor and started to beat it with his fists. Meanwhile, while the baby was crying from pain, Juana was sucking out the poison that's in the baby's wound. .
Hearing screams, the neighbors came ran to see what was going on. In this crowd, included Kino's brother, Juan Tomás and his wife, Apolonia, and their four children.
The word was passed along the neighbors that the baby has been stung by a scorpion. The people knew that "an adult might be very ill from the sting, but a baby could easily die from the poison. First, they knew, would come swelling and fever and tightened throat, and then cramps in the stomach, and then Coyotito might die if enough of the poison had gone in.