A murky, captivating tale based on the culture of Oaxaca, Mexico, from the team behind The Moon Was at a Fiesta (1994). Martinez's delightfully comic illustrations place readers solidly in the enchanted world of a tale that explains the origin of lightning. A boy who has ventured into a forbidden cave from which strange lights flicker during storms discovers the fate of former curious children--they have turned into snakes with human heads. When this happens to the boy, no curandero can heal him, but a nahual, a shape-shifting magic worker, gives him a mask to wear and outlines a 20-year program of prayer and dance, the successful completion of which will enable the boy to ""show the world something new."" The resolution of his troubles will bedazzle even impatient youngsters, weary of the story's many arbitrary shifts.