Study Guide

Tortilla Flat Chapter 12: How Danny's Friends assisted the Pirate to keep a vow, and how as a reward for merit the Pirate's dogs saw a holy vision.

By John Steinbeck

Chapter 12: How Danny's Friends assisted the Pirate to keep a vow, and how as a reward for merit the Pirate's dogs saw a holy vision.

  • The Pirate keeps his bag of quarters under Danny's pillow, and every day, he deposits a new one, with all of the friends as witnesses. The bag of money is a point of pride for the friends because it's dedicated to Saint Francis.
  • One night, the friends hear that a Coast Guard boat has run aground. They run to the beach to see if they can find anything that has been washed up there. They find a bunch of food and supplies and sell it all for five bucks.
  • Danny gives the Pirate a quarter from the money they made since he hadn't had time to sell firewood that day. When they get home to put the quarter in the bag, they discover that it's gone.
  • Danny, Pablo, Jesus Maria, and the Pirate all grab weapons and just wait. Big Joe shows up with a gallon of wine, and they tie him up, throw water on him, and start methodically beating the heck out of him.
  • Finally, Big Joe tells the gang that the money is buried near the front gate and begs them not to kill him. He says he stole four of the quarters and promises to work to get them back.
  • The guys dig up the money and count it. They discover they have 1,007 quarters, more than enough for the candlestick the Pirate has been saving for.
  • The friends wash up Big Joe, and the Pirate takes the money to the priest, Father Ramon, so that he will buy the candlestick and bless it.
  • Everybody pitches in clothes so that the Pirate will have something decent to wear, and the priest agrees to help him buy the candlestick.
  • Danny spends five dollars on food for a party, and the guys celebrate the Pirate's accomplishment.
  • On Sunday, the Pirate goes to church to see the dedication of the candlestick and leaves his dogs outside. Father Ramon starts to tell everyone the story of how Saint Francis saved the Pirate's dog, and the Pirate saved up to buy him a candlestick to thank him for it.
  • Suddenly, the dogs burst into the church and leap up on the Pirate. He's way embarrassed, but everyone in the church laughs, including the priest. Father Ramon says that it's okay, because the dogs love him, and Saint Francis loved animals, too.
  • The Pirate takes the dogs out to the woods after church and sits them in a row, then puts a stick in the ground, pretending it's the candlestick, so he can tell them exactly how the whole thing was in church.
  • There's a noise behind the Pirate, and the dogs look up and are still for a while. The Pirate is too afraid to turn around, but he's sure that Saint Francis appeared behind him to the dogs, because they're such good dogs.