At a large pond up the creek, Cico points to a dark, overhanging thicket; he says the carp will emerge from there. When it appears, Cico stands as if acknowledging a ruler; Antonio is so astonished at the carp's beauty that he feels as though he is dreaming. Both boys put their feet in the water as the gold carp watches them, then swims close to them. Cico then tells Antonio about the Hidden Lakes and about the mermaid who almost lured him to plunge into the lake. He explains about the immense power of the lakes, which is stronger than the presence of the river, and says that long ago, this land was beneath the sea, that it belonged to fish, and that someday, the golden carp will return to rule it once more. It will happen when the sins of the people weigh so heavily that the land collapses and the whole town is swallowed by the lakes. He draws a diagram, showing Antonio that their town is
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