How it happened that Mastro Cherry, carpenter,found a piece of wood that wept and laughed like a childCenturies ago there lived--"A king!" my little readers will say immediately.
No, children, you are mistaken. Once upon a timethere was a piece of wood. It was not an expensive pieceof wood. Far from it. Just a common block of firewood,one of those thick, solid logs that are put on the fire inwinter to make cold rooms cozy and warm.
I do not know how this really happened, yet the factremains that one fine day this piece of wood found itselfin the shop of an old carpenter. His real name wasMastro Antonio, but everyone called him Mastro Cherry,for the tip of his nose was so round and red and shinythat it looked like a ripe cherry.
As soon as he saw that piece of wood, Mastro Cherrywas filled with joy. Rubbing his hands together happily,he mumbled half to himself:
"This has come in the nick of time. I shall use it tomake the leg of a table."He grasped the hatchet quickly to peel off the bark andshape the wood. But as he was about to give it the firstblow, he stood still with arm uplifted, for he had heard awee, little voice say in a beseeching tone: "Please be careful!
Do not hit me so hard!"What a look of surprise shone on Mastro Cherry'sface! His funny face became still funnier.
He turned frightened eyes about the room to find outwhere that wee, little voice had come from and he sawno one! He looked under the bench--no one! He peepedinside the closet--no one! He searched among the shavings--no one! He opened the door to look up and downthe street--and still no one!
"Oh, I see!" he then said, laughing and scratching his Wig.
"It can easily be seen that I only thought I heard the tinyvoice say the words! Well, well--to work once more."He struck a most solemn blow upon the piece of wood.
"Oh, oh! You hurt!" cried the same far-away little voice.
Mastro Cherry grew dumb, his eyes popped out of hishead, his mouth opened wide, and his tongue hung downon his chin.
As soon as he regained the use of his senses, he said,trembling and stuttering from fright:
"Where did that voice come from, when there is noone around? Might it be that this piece of wood haslearned to weep and cry like a child? I can hardlybelieve it. Here it is--a piece of common firewood, goodonly to burn in the stove, the same as any other. Yet--might someone be hidden in it? If so, the worse for him.
I'll fix him!"With these words, he grabbed the log with both handsand started to knock it about unmercifully. He threw itto the floor, against the walls of the room, and even upto the ceiling.
He listened for the tiny voice to moan and cry.
He waited two minutes--nothing; five minutes--nothing;ten minutes--nothing.
"Oh, I see," he said, trying bravely to laugh andruffling up his wig with his hand. "It can easily be seenI only imagined I heard the tiny voice! Well, well--towork once more!"The poor fellow was scared half to death, so he triedto sing a gay song in order to gain courage.
He set aside the hatchet and picked up the plane tomake the wood smooth and even, but as he drew it toand fro, he heard the same tiny voice. This time it giggledas it spoke:
"Stop it! Oh, stop it! Ha, ha, ha! You tickle my stomach."This time poor Mastro Cherry fell as if shot. Whenhe opened his eyes, he found himself sitting on the floor.
His face had changed; fright had turned even the tip ofhis nose from red to deepest purple.
Mastro Cherry gives the piece of wood to his friend Geppetto,who takes it to make himself a Marionette that will dance,fence, and turn somersaultsIn that very instant, a loud knock sounded on the door.
"Come in," said the carpenter, not having an atom ofstrength left with which to stand up.
At the words, the door opened and a dapper little oldman came in. His name was Geppetto, but to the boys ofthe neighborhood he was Polendina, on account of thewig he always wore which was just the color of yellow corn.
 Cornmeal mush Geppetto had a very bad temper. Woe to the one whocalled him Polendina! He became as wild as a beast andno one could soothe him.
"Good day, Mastro Antonio," said Geppetto. "Whatare you doing on the floor?""I am teaching the ants their A B C's.""Good luck to you!""What brought you here, friend Geppetto?""My legs. And it may flatter you to know, MastroAntonio, that I have come to you to beg for a favor.""Here I am, at your service," answered the carpenter,raising himself on to his knees.
"This morning a fine idea came to me.""Let's hear it.""I thought of making myself a beautiful woodenMarionette. It must be wonderful, one that will be able todance, fence, and turn somersaults. With it I intend to goaround the world, to earn my crust of bread and cup ofwine. What do you think of it?""Bravo, Polendina!" cried the same tiny voice whichcame from no one knew where.
On hearing himself called Polendina, Mastro Geppettoturned the color of a red pepper and, facing the carpenter,said to him angrily:
"Why do you insult me?""Who is insulting you?""You called me Polendina.""I did not.""I suppose you think _I_ did! Yet I KNOW it was you.""No!""Yes!""No!""Yes!"And growing angrier each moment, they went fromwords to blows, and finally began to scratch and bite andslap each other.
When the fight was over, Mastro Antonio had Geppetto'syellow wig in his hands and Geppetto found the carpenter'scurly wig in his mouth.
"Give me back my wig!" shouted Mastro Antonio in a surly voice.
"You return mine and we'll be friends."The two little old men, each with his own wig back onhis own head, shook hands and swore to be good friendsfor the rest of their lives.
"Well then, Mastro Geppetto," said the carpenter, toshow he bore him no ill will, "what is it you want?""I want a piece of wood to make a Marionette. Will you give it to me?"Mastro Antonio, very glad indeed, went immediatelyto his bench to get the piece of wood which had frightenedhim so much. But as he was about to give it to his friend,with a violent jerk it slipped out of his hands and hitagainst poor Geppetto's thin legs.
"Ah! Is this the gentle way, Mastro Antonio, in whichyou make your gifts? You have made me almost lame!""I swear to you I did not do it!""It was _I_, of course!""It's the fault of this piece of wood.""You're right; but remember you were the one to throw it at my legs.""I did not throw it!""Liar!""Geppetto, do not insult me or I shall call you Polendina.""Idiot.""Polendina!""Donkey!""Polendina!""Ugly monkey!""Polendina!"On hearing himself called Polendina for the third time,Geppetto lost his head with rage and threw himself uponthe carpenter. Then and there they gave each other asound thrashing.
After this fight, Mastro Antonio had two more scratcheson his nose, and Geppetto had two buttons missing fromhis coat. Thus having settled their accounts, they shookhands and swore to be good friends for the rest of their lives.
Then Geppetto took the fine piece of wood,thanked Mastro Antonio, and limped away toward home.
As soon as he gets home, Geppetto fashions the Marionetteand calls it Pinocchio. The first pranks of the MarionetteLittle as Geppetto's house was, it was neat andcomfortable. It was a small room on the ground floor, with a tiny window under the stairway. The furniture could nothave been much simpler: a very old chair, a rickety oldbed, and a tumble-down table. A fireplace full of burninglogs was painted on the wall opposite the door. Over thefire, there was painted a pot full of something which keptboiling happily away and sending up clouds of what lookedlike real steam.
As soon as he reached home, Geppetto took his toolsand began to cut and shape the wood into a Marionette.
"What shall I call him?" he said to himself. "I thinkI'll call him PINOCCHIO. This name will make his fortune.
I knew a whole family of Pinocchi once--Pinocchio thefather, Pinocchia the mother, and Pinocchi the children--and they were all lucky. The richest of them begged forhis living."After choosing the name for his Marionette, Geppettoset seriously to work to make the hair, the forehead, theeyes. Fancy his surprise when he noticed that these eyesmoved and then stared fixedly at him. Geppetto, seeingthis, felt insulted and said in a grieved tone:
"Ugly wooden eyes, why do you stare so?"There was no answer.
After the eyes, Geppetto made the nose, which beganto stretch as soon as finished. It stretched and stretchedand stretched till it became so long, it seemed endless.
Poor Geppetto kept cutting it and cutting it, but the more he cut, the longer grew that impertinent nose. Indespair he let it alone.
Next he made the mouth.
No sooner was it finished than it began to laugh andpoke fun at him.
"Stop laughing!" said Geppetto angrily; but he mightas well have spoken to the wall.
"Stop laughing, I say!" he roared in a voice of thunder.
The mouth stopped laughing, but it stuck out a long tongue.
Not wishing to start an argument, Geppetto madebelieve he saw nothing and went on with his work.
After the mouth, he made the chin, then the neck, theshoulders, the stomach, the arms, and the hands.
As he was about to put the last touches on the fingertips, Geppetto felt his wig being pulled off. He glancedup and what did he see? His yellow wig was in the Marionette'shand. "Pinocchio, give me my wig!"But instead of giving it back, Pinocchio put it on hisown head, which was half swallowed up in it.
At that unexpected trick, Geppetto became very sadand downcast, more so than he had ever been before.
"Pinocchio, you wicked boy!" he cried out. "You arenot yet finished, and you start out by being impudent toyour poor old father. Very bad, my son, very bad!"And he wiped away a tear.
The legs and feet still had to be made. As soon as theywere done, Geppetto felt a sharp kick on the tip of his nose.
"I deserve it!" he said to himself. "I should have thoughtof this before I made him. Now it's too late!"He took hold of the Marionette under the arms and puthim on the floor to teach him to walk.
Pinocchio's legs were so stiff that he could not movethem, and Geppetto held his hand and showed him how toput out one foot after the other.
When his legs were limbered up, Pinocchio startedwalking by himself and ran all around the room. He cameto the open door, and with one leap he was out into thestreet. Away he flew!
Poor Geppetto ran after him but was unable to catchhim, for Pinocchio ran in leaps and bounds, his twowooden feet, as they beat on the stones of the street,making as much noise as twenty peasants in wooden shoes.
"Catch him! Catch him!" Geppetto kept shouting.
But the people in the street, seeing a wooden Marionetterunning like the wind, stood still to stare and to laughuntil they cried.
At last, by sheer luck, a Carabineer happenedalong, who, hearing all that noise, thought that it mightbe a runaway colt, and stood bravely in the middle of the street, with legs wide apart, firmly resolved to stop it andprevent any trouble.
 A military policemanPinocchio saw the Carabineer from afar and tried hisbest to escape between the legs of the big fellow, butwithout success.
The Carabineer grabbed him by the nose (it was anextremely long one and seemed made on purpose for thatvery thing) and returned him to Mastro Geppetto.
The little old man wanted to pull Pinocchio's ears.
Think how he felt when, upon searching for them, hediscovered that he had forgotten to make them!
All he could do was to seize Pinocchio by the back ofthe neck and take him home. As he was doing so, he shookhim two or three times and said to him angrily:
"We're going home now. When we get home,then we'll settle this matter!"Pinocchio, on hearing this, threw himself on the groundand refused to take another step. One person after anothergathered around the two.
Some said one thing, some another.
"Poor Marionette," called out a man. "I am notsurprised he doesn't want to go home. Geppetto, no doubt,will beat him unmercifully, he is so mean and cruel!""Geppetto looks like a good man," added another, "butwith boys he's a real tyrant. If we leave that poorMarionette in his hands he may tear him to pieces!"They said so much that, finally, the Carabineer endedmatters by setting Pinocchio at liberty and draggingGeppetto to prison. The poor old fellow did not know how todefend himself, but wept and wailed like a child and saidbetween his sobs:
"Ungrateful boy! To think I tried so hard to make youa well-behaved Marionette! I deserve it, however! I shouldhave given the matter more thought."What happened after this is an almost unbelievablestory, but you may read it, dear children, in the chaptersthat follow.
The story of Pinocchio and the Talking Cricket,in which one sees that bad children do not liketo be corrected by those who know more than they doVery little time did it take to get poor old Geppetto toprison. In the meantime that rascal, Pinocchio, free nowfrom the clutches of the Carabineer, was running wildlyacross fields and meadows, taking one short cut afteranother toward home. In his wild flight, he leaped over brambles and bushes, and across brooks and ponds, as ifhe were a goat or a hare chased by hounds.
On reaching home, he found the house door half open.
He slipped into the room, locked the door, and threwhimself on the floor, happy at his escape.
But his happiness lasted only a short time, for just thenhe heard someone saying:
"Cri-cri-cri!""Who is calling me?" asked Pinocchio, greatly frightened.
"I am!"Pinocchio turned and saw a large cricket crawlingslowly up the wall.
"Tell me, Cricket, who are you?""I am the Talking Cricket and I have been living in thisroom for more than one hundred years.""Today, however, this room is mine," said the Marionette,"and if you wish to do me a favor, get out now, and don'tturn around even once.""I refuse to leave this spot," answered the Cricket,"until I have told you a great truth.""Tell it, then, and hurry.""Woe to boys who refuse to obey their parents and run away from home! They will never be happy in this world,and when they are older they will be very sorry for it.""Sing on, Cricket mine, as you please. What I know is,that tomorrow, at dawn, I leave this place forever. If Istay here the same thing will happen to me which happensto all other boys and girls. They are sent to school, andwhether they want to or not, they must study. As for me,let me tell you, I hate to study! It's much more fun, I think,to chase after butterflies, climb trees, and steal birds' nests.""Poor little silly! Don't you know that if you go on likethat, you will grow into a perfect donkey and that you'llbe the laughingstock of everyone?""Keep still, you ugly Cricket!" cried Pinocchio.
But the Cricket, who was a wise old philosopher,instead of being offended at Pinocchio's impudence,continued in the same tone:
"If you do not like going to school, why don't you atleast learn a trade, so that you can earn an honest living?""Shall I tell you something?" asked Pinocchio, who wasbeginning to lose patience. "Of all the trades in the world,there is only one that really suits me.""And what can that be?""That of eating, drinking, sleeping, playing, andwandering around from morning till night.""Let me tell you, for your own good, Pinocchio," said the Talking Cricket in his calm voice, "that those whofollow that trade always end up in the hospital or in prison.""Careful, ugly Cricket! If you make me angry, you'll be sorry!""Poor Pinocchio, I am sorry for you.""Why?""Because you are a Marionette and, what is much worse,you have a wooden head."At these last words, Pinocchio jumped up in a fury, tooka hammer from the bench, and threw it with all hisstrength at the Talking Cricket.
Perhaps he did not think he would strike it. But, sadto relate, my dear children, he did hit the Cricket, straighton its head.
With a last weak "cri-cri-cri" the poor Cricket fell fromthe wall, dead!
Pinocchio is hungry and looks for an egg to cook himself an omelet;but, to his surprise, the omelet flies out of the windowIf the Cricket's death scared Pinocchio at all, it was onlyfor a very few moments. For, as night came on, a queer,empty feeling at the pit of his stomach reminded the Marionette that he had eaten nothing as yet.
A boy's appetite grows very fast, and in a few momentsthe queer, empty feeling had become hunger, and thehunger grew bigger and bigger, until soon he was asravenous as a bear.
Poor Pinocchio ran to the fireplace where the pot wasboiling and stretched out his hand to take the cover off,but to his amazement the pot was only painted! Think howhe felt! His long nose became at least two inches longer.
He ran about the room, dug in all the boxes and drawers,and even looked under the bed in search of a piece of bread,hard though it might be, or a cookie, or perhaps a bit of fish.
A bone left by a dog would have tasted good to him!
But he found nothing.
And meanwhile his hunger grew and grew. The onlyrelief poor Pinocchio had was to yawn; and he certainlydid yawn, such a big yawn that his mouth stretchedout to the tips of his ears. Soon he became dizzy and faint.
He wept and wailed to himself: "The Talking Cricketwas right. It was wrong of me to disobey Father and torun away from home. If he were here now, I wouldn't beso hungry! Oh, how horrible it is to be hungry!"Suddenly, he saw, among the sweepings in a corner,something round and white that looked very much like ahen's egg. In a jiffy he pounced upon it. It was an egg.
The Marionette's joy knew no bounds. It is impossibleto describe it, you must picture it to yourself. Certain that he was dreaming, he turned the egg over and over in hishands, fondled it, kissed it, and talked to it:
"And now, how shall I cook you? Shall I make anomelet? No, it is better to fry you in a pan!
Or shall I drink you? No, the best way is tofry you in the pan. You will taste better."No sooner said than done. He placed a little pan over afoot warmer full of hot coals. In the pan, instead of oil orbutter, he poured a little water. As soon as the waterstarted to boil--tac!--he broke the eggshell. But in placeof the white and the yolk of the egg, a little yellow Chick,fluffy and gay and smiling, escaped from it. Bowingpolitely to Pinocchio, he said to him:
"Many, many thanks, indeed, Mr. Pinocchio, for havingsaved me the trouble of breaking my shell! Good-byand good luck to you and remember me to the family!"With these words he spread out his wings and, dartingto the open window, he flew away into space till he wasout of sight.
The poor Marionette stood as if turned to stone, withwide eyes, open mouth, and the empty halves of the egg-shell in his hands. When he came to himself, he began tocry and shriek at the top of his lungs, stamping his feet onthe ground and wailing all the while:
"The Talking Cricket was right! If I had not run awayfrom home and if Father were here now, I should not bedying of hunger. Oh, how horrible it is to be hungry!"And as his stomach kept grumbling more than ever andhe had nothing to quiet it with, he thought of going outfor a walk to the near-by village, in the hope of findingsome charitable person who might give him a bit of bread.
Pinocchio falls asleep with his feet on a foot warmer,and awakens the next day with his feet all burned offPinocchio hated the dark street, but he was so hungrythat, in spite of it, he ran out of the house. The night waspitch black. It thundered, and bright flashes of lightningnow and again shot across the sky, turning it into a sea offire. An angry wind blew cold and raised dense clouds ofdust, while the trees shook and moaned in a weird way.
Pinocchio was greatly afraid of thunder and lightning,but the hunger he felt was far greater than his fear. In adozen leaps and bounds, he came to the village, tired out,puffing like a whale, and with tongue hanging.
The whole village was dark and deserted. The storeswere closed, the doors, the windows. In the streets, noteven a dog could be seen. It seemed the Village of theDead.
Pinocchio, in desperation, ran up to a doorway, threwhimself upon the bell, and pulled it wildly, saying to himself:
"Someone will surely answer that!"He was right. An old man in a nightcap opened thewindow and looked out. He called down angrily:
"What do you want at this hour of night?""Will you be good enough to give me a bit of bread?
I am hungry.""Wait a minute and I'll come right back," answered theold fellow, thinking he had to deal with one of those boyswho love to roam around at night ringing people's bellswhile they are peacefully asleep.
After a minute or two, the same voice cried:
"Get under the window and hold out your hat!"Pinocchio had no hat, but he managed to get under thewindow just in time to feel a shower of ice-cold waterpour down on his poor wooden head, his shoulders, andover his whole body.
He returned home as wet as a rag, and tired out fromweariness and hunger.
As he no longer had any strength left with which tostand, he sat down on a little stool and put his two feet onthe stove to dry them.
There he fell asleep, and while he slept, his woodenfeet began to burn. Slowly, very slowly, they blackenedand turned to ashes.
Pinocchio snored away happily as if his feet were nothis own. At dawn he opened his eyes just as a loud knockingsounded at the door.
"Who is it?" he called, yawning and rubbing his eyes.
"It is I," answered a voice.
It was the voice of Geppetto.
Geppetto returns home and giveshis own breakfast to the MarionetteThe poor Marionette, who was still half asleep, had notyet found out that his two feet were burned and gone. Assoon as he heard his Father's voice, he jumped up from hisseat to open the door, but, as he did so, he staggered andfell headlong to the floor.
In falling, he made as much noise as a sack of woodfalling from the fifth story of a house.
"Open the door for me!" Geppetto shouted from the street.
"Father, dear Father, I can't," answered the Marionettein despair, crying and rolling on the floor.
"Why can't you?""Because someone has eaten my feet.""And who has eaten them?""The cat," answered Pinocchio, seeing that little animalbusily playing with some shavings in the corner of the room.
"Open! I say," repeated Geppetto, "or I'll give you asound whipping when I get in.""Father, believe me, I can't stand up. Oh, dear!
Oh, dear! I shall have to walk on my knees all my life."Geppetto, thinking that all these tears and cries wereonly other pranks of the Marionette, climbed up the sideof the house and went in through the window.
At first he was very angry, but on seeing Pinocchiostretched out on the floor and really without feet, he feltvery sad and sorrowful. Picking him up from the floor, hefondled and caressed him, talking to him while the tearsran down his cheeks:
"My little Pinocchio, my dear little Pinocchio!
How did you burn your feet?""I don't know, Father, but believe me, the night hasbeen a terrible one and I shall remember it as long as I live.
The thunder was so noisy and the lightning so bright--and I was hungry. And then the Talking Cricket said tome, `You deserve it; you were bad;' and I said to him,`Careful, Cricket;' and he said to me, `You are a Marionetteand you have a wooden head;' and I threw the hammer at him and killed him. It was his own fault, for I didn't wantto kill him. And I put the pan on the coals, but the Chickflew away and said, `I'll see you again! Remember me tothe family.' And my hunger grew, and I went out, and theold man with a nightcap looked out of the window andthrew water on me, and I came home and put my feet onthe stove to dry them because I was still hungry, and I fellasleep and now my feet are gone but my hunger isn't!
Oh!--Oh!--Oh!" And poor Pinocchio began to screamand cry so loudly that he could be heard for miles around.
Geppetto, who had understood nothing of all thatjumbled talk, except that the Marionette was hungry, felt sorryfor him, and pulling three pears out of his pocket, offeredthem to him, saying:
"These three pears were for my breakfast, but I givethem to you gladly. Eat them and stop weeping.""If you want me to eat them, please peel them for me.""Peel them?" asked Geppetto, very much surprised. "Ishould never have thought, dear boy of mine, that youwere so dainty and fussy about your food. Bad, very bad!
In this world, even as children, we must accustom ourselvesto eat of everything, for we never know what life mayhold in store for us!""You may be right," answered Pinocchio, "but I will noteat the pears if they are not peeled. I don't like them."And good old Geppetto took out a knife, peeled thethree pears, and put the skins in a row on the table.
Pinocchio ate one pear in a twinkling and started tothrow the core away, but Geppetto held his arm.
"Oh, no, don't throw it away! Everything in this worldmay be of some use!""But the core I will not eat!" cried Pinocchio in an angry tone.
"Who knows?" repeated Geppetto calmly.
And later the three cores were placed on the table nextto the skins.
Pinocchio had eaten the three pears, or rather devoured them.
Then he yawned deeply, and wailed:
"I'm still hungry.""But I have no more to give you.""Really, nothing--nothing?""I have only these three cores and these skins.""Very well, then," said Pinocchio, "if there is nothingelse I'll eat them."At first he made a wry face, but, one after another, theskins and the cores disappeared.
"Ah! Now I feel fine!" he said after eating the last one.
"You see," observed Geppetto, "that I was right when I told you that one must not be too fussy and too daintyabout food. My dear, we never know what life may havein store for us!"
Geppetto makes Pinocchio a new pair of feet,and sells his coat to buy him an A-B-C bookThe Marionette, as soon as his hunger was appeased,started to grumble and cry that he wanted a new pair of feet.
But Mastro Geppetto, in order to punish him for hismischief, let him alone the whole morning. After dinnerhe said to him:
"Why should I make your feet over again? To see yourun away from home once more?""I promise you," answered the Marionette, sobbing,"that from now on I'll be good--""Boys always promise that when they want something,"said Geppetto.
"I promise to go to school every day, to study, and to succeed--""Boys always sing that song when they want their own will.""But I am not like other boys! I am better than all of them and I always tell the truth. I promise you, Father,that I'll learn a trade, and I'll be the comfort and staff ofyour old age."Geppetto, though trying to look very stern, felt his eyesfill with tears and his heart soften when he saw Pinocchioso unhappy. He said no more, but taking his tools and twopieces of wood, he set to work diligently.
In less than an hour the feet were finished, two slender,nimble little feet, strong and quick, modeled as if by anartist's hands.
"Close your eyes and sleep!" Geppetto then said to the Marionette.
Pinocchio closed his eyes and pretended to be asleep,while Geppetto stuck on the two feet with a bit of gluemelted in an eggshell, doing his work so well that the jointcould hardly be seen.
As soon as the Marionette felt his new feet, he gave oneleap from the table and started to skip and jump around,as if he had lost his head from very joy.
"To show you how grateful I am to you, Father, I'll goto school now. But to go to school I need a suit of clothes."Geppetto did not have a penny in his pocket, so hemade his son a little suit of flowered paper, a pair of shoesfrom the bark of a tree, and a tiny cap from a bit of dough.
Pinocchio ran to look at himself in a bowl of water, andhe felt so happy that he said proudly:
"Now I look like a gentleman.""Truly," answered Geppetto. "But remember that fineclothes do not make the man unless they be neat and clean.""Very true," answered Pinocchio, "but, in order to goto school, I still need something very important.""What is it?""An A-B-C book.""To be sure! But how shall we get it?""That's easy. We'll go to a bookstore and buy it.""And the money?""I have none.""Neither have I," said the old man sadly.
Pinocchio, although a happy boy always, became sadand downcast at these words. When poverty shows itself,even mischievous boys understand what it means.
"What does it matter, after all?" cried Geppetto all atonce, as he jumped up from his chair. Putting on his oldcoat, full of darns and patches, he ran out of the housewithout another word.
After a while he returned. In his hands he had theA-B-C book for his son, but the old coat was gone. Thepoor fellow was in his shirt sleeves and the day was cold.
"Where's your coat, Father?""I have sold it.""Why did you sell your coat?""It was too warm."Pinocchio understood the answer in a twinkling, and,unable to restrain his tears, he jumped on his father's neckand kissed him over and over.
Pinocchio sells his A-B-C book topay his way into the Marionette TheaterSee Pinocchio hurrying off to school with his new A-B-Cbook under his arm! As he walked along, his brain was busyplanning hundreds of wonderful things, building hundredsof castles in the air. Talking to himself, he said:
"In school today, I'll learn to read, tomorrow to write,and the day after tomorrow I'll do arithmetic. Then, cleveras I am, I can earn a lot of money. With the very firstpennies I make, I'll buy Father a new cloth coat. Cloth,did I say? No, it shall be of gold and silver with diamondbuttons. That poor man certainly deserves it; for, after all,isn't he in his shirt sleeves because he was good enough to buy a book for me? On this cold day, too! Fathers areindeed good to their children!"As he talked to himself, he thought he heard sounds ofpipes and drums coming from a distance: pi-pi-pi,pi-pi-pi. . .zum, zum, zum, zum.
He stopped to listen. Those sounds came from a littlestreet that led to a small village along the shore.
"What can that noise be? What a nuisance that I haveto go to school! Otherwise. . ."There he stopped, very much puzzled. He felt he hadto make up his mind for either one thing or another.
Should he go to school, or should he follow the pipes?
"Today I'll follow the pipes, and tomorrow I'll go toschool. There's always plenty of time to go to school,"decided the little rascal at last, shrugging his shoulders.
No sooner said than done. He started down the street,going like the wind. On he ran, and louder grew thesounds of pipe and drum: pi-pi-pi, pi-pi-pi, pi-pi-pi. . .zum, zum, zum, zum.
Suddenly, he found himself in a large square, full ofpeople standing in front of a little wooden building paintedin brilliant colors.
"What is that house?" Pinocchio asked a little boy near him.
"Read the sign and you'll know.""I'd like to read, but somehow I can't today.""Oh, really? Then I'll read it to you. Know, then,that written in letters of fire I see the words:
GREAT MARIONETTE THEATER.
"When did the show start?""It is starting now.""And how much does one pay to get in?""Four pennies."Pinocchio, who was wild with curiosity to know whatwas going on inside, lost all his pride and said to the boyshamelessly:
"Will you give me four pennies until tomorrow?""I'd give them to you gladly," answered the other,poking fun at him, "but just now I can't give them to you.""For the price of four pennies, I'll sell you my coat.""If it rains, what shall I do with a coat of floweredpaper? I could not take it off again.""Do you want to buy my shoes?""They are only good enough to light a fire with.""What about my hat?""Fine bargain, indeed! A cap of dough! The mice mightcome and eat it from my head!"Pinocchio was almost in tears. He was just about tomake one last offer, but he lacked the courage to do so.
He hesitated, he wondered, he could not make up his mind.
At last he said:
"Will you give me four pennies for the book?""I am a boy and I buy nothing from boys," said thelittle fellow with far more common sense than the Marionette.
"I'll give you four pennies for your A-B-C book," saida ragpicker who stood by.
Then and there, the book changed hands. And to thinkthat poor old Geppetto sat at home in his shirt sleeves,shivering with cold, having sold his coat to buy that littlebook for his son!
The Marionettes recognize their brother Pinocchio,and greet him with loud cheers; but the Director, Fire Eater,happens along and poor Pinocchio almost loses his lifeQuick as a flash, Pinocchio disappeared into theMarionette Theater. And then something happened whichalmost caused a riot.
The curtain was up and the performance had started.
Harlequin and Pulcinella were reciting on the stage and,as usual, they were threatening each other with sticks and blows.
The theater was full of people, enjoying the spectacleand laughing till they cried at the antics of the two Marionettes.
The play continued for a few minutes, and then suddenly,without any warning, Harlequin stopped talking.
Turning toward the audience, he pointed to the rear ofthe orchestra, yelling wildly at the same time:
"Look, look! Am I asleep or awake? Or do I really seePinocchio there?""Yes, yes! It is Pinocchio!" screamed Pulcinella.
"It is! It is!" shrieked Signora Rosaura, peeking in fromthe side of the stage.
"It is Pinocchio! It is Pinocchio!" yelled all the Marionettes,pouring out of the wings. "It is Pinocchio. It is our brotherPinocchio! Hurrah for Pinocchio!""Pinocchio, come up to me!" shouted Harlequin. "Cometo the arms of your wooden brothers!"At such a loving invitation, Pinocchio, with one leapfrom the back of the orchestra, found himself in the frontrows. With another leap, he was on the orchestra leader'shead. With a third, he landed on the stage.
It is impossible to describe the shrieks of joy, the warmembraces, the knocks, and the friendly greetings withwhich that strange company of dramatic actors andactresses received Pinocchio.
It was a heart-rending spectacle, but the audience,seeing that the play had stopped, became angry and beganto yell:
"The play, the play, we want the play!"The yelling was of no use, for the Marionettes, insteadof going on with their act, made twice as much racket asbefore, and, lifting up Pinocchio on their shoulders, carriedhim around the stage in triumph.
At that very moment, the Director came out of hisroom. He had such a fearful appearance that one lookat him would fill you with horror. His beard was asblack as pitch, and so long that it reached from his chindown to his feet. His mouth was as wide as an oven, histeeth like yellow fangs, and his eyes, two glowing redcoals. In his huge, hairy hands, a long whip, made ofgreen snakes and black cats' tails twisted together, swishedthrough the air in a dangerous way.
At the unexpected apparition, no one dared even tobreathe. One could almost hear a fly go by. Those poorMarionettes, one and all, trembled like leaves in a storm.
"Why have you brought such excitement into mytheater;" the huge fellow asked Pinocchio with the voiceof an ogre suffering with a cold.
"Believe me, your Honor, the fault was not mine.""Enough! Be quiet! I'll take care of you later."As soon as the play was over, the Director went tothe kitchen, where a fine big lamb was slowly turningon the spit. More wood was needed to finish cooking it.
He called Harlequin and Pulcinella and said to them:
"Bring that Marionette to me! He looks as if he weremade of well-seasoned wood. He'll make a fine fire forthis spit."Harlequin and Pulcinella hesitated a bit. Then,frightened by a look from their master, they left thekitchen to obey him. A few minutes later they returned,carrying poor Pinocchio, who was wriggling and squirminglike an eel and crying pitifully:
"Father, save me! I don't want to die! I don't want to die!"
Fire Eater sneezes and forgives Pinocchio,who saves his friend, Harlequin, from deathIn the theater, great excitement reigned.
Fire Eater (this was really his name) was very ugly, but he was far from being as bad as he looked. Proof ofthis is that, when he saw the poor Marionette beingbrought in to him, struggling with fear and crying, "Idon't want to die! I don't want to die!" he felt sorry forhim and began first to waver and then to weaken. Finally,he could control himself no longer and gave a loud sneeze.
At that sneeze, Harlequin, who until then had beenas sad as a weeping willow, smiled happily and leaningtoward the Marionette, whispered to him:
"Good news, brother mine! Fire Eater has sneezedand this is a sign that he feels sorry for you.
You are saved!"For be it known, that, while other people, when sadand sorrowful, weep and wipe their eyes, Fire Eater, onthe other hand, had the strange habit of sneezing eachtime he felt unhappy. The way was just as good as anyother to show the kindness of his heart.
After sneezing, Fire Eater, ugly as ever, cried to Pinocchio:
"Stop crying! Your wails give me a funny feelingdown here in my stomach and--E--tchee!--E--tchee!"Two loud sneezes finished his speech.
"God bless you!" said Pinocchio.
"Thanks! Are your father and mother still living?"demanded Fire Eater.
"My father, yes. My mother I have never known.""Your poor father would suffer terribly if I were touse you as firewood. Poor old man! I feel sorry forhim! E--tchee! E--tchee! E--tchee!" Three more sneezessounded, louder than ever.
"God bless you!" said Pinocchio.
"Thanks! However, I ought to be sorry for myself,too, just now. My good dinner is spoiled. I have nomore wood for the fire, and the lamb is only half cooked.
Never mind! In your place I'll burn some other Marionette.
Hey there! Officers!"At the call, two wooden officers appeared, long andthin as a yard of rope, with queer hats on their headsand swords in their hands.
Fire Eater yelled at them in a hoarse voice:
"Take Harlequin, tie him, and throw him on the fire.
I want my lamb well done!"Think how poor Harlequin felt! He was so scaredthat his legs doubled up under him and he fell to the floor.
Pinocchio, at that heartbreaking sight, threw himselfat the feet of Fire Eater and, weeping bitterly, askedin a pitiful voice which could scarcely be heard:
"Have pity, I beg of you, signore!""There are no signori here!""Have pity, kind sir!""There are no sirs here!""Have pity, your Excellency!"On hearing himself addressed as your Excellency, theDirector of the Marionette Theater sat up very straightin his chair, stroked his long beard, and becoming suddenlykind and compassionate, smiled proudly as he said to Pinocchio:
"Well, what do you want from me now, Marionette?""I beg for mercy for my poor friend, Harlequin, whohas never done the least harm in his life.""There is no mercy here, Pinocchio. I have sparedyou. Harlequin must burn in your place. I am hungryand my dinner must be cooked.""In that case," said Pinocchio proudly, as he stoodup and flung away his cap of dough, "in that case, myduty is clear. Come, officers! Tie me up and throw meon those flames. No, it is not fair for poor Harlequin,the best friend that I have in the world, to die in my place!"These brave words, said in a piercing voice, made allthe other Marionettes cry. Even the officers, who weremade of wood also, cried like two babies.
Fire Eater at first remained hard and cold as a pieceof ice; but then, little by little, he softened and began tosneeze. And after four or five sneezes, he opened widehis arms and said to Pinocchio:
"You are a brave boy! Come to my arms and kiss me!"Pinocchio ran to him and scurrying like a squirrel up thelong black beard, he gave Fire Eater a loving kiss on thetip of his nose.
"Has pardon been granted to me?" asked poorHarlequin with a voice that was hardly a breath.
"Pardon is yours!" answered Fire Eater; and sighingand wagging his head, he added: "Well, tonight I shallhave to eat my lamb only half cooked, but beware thenext time, Marionettes."At the news that pardon had been given, theMarionettes ran to the stage and, turning on all the lights,they danced and sang till dawn.
Fire Eater gives Pinocchio five gold pieces for his father, Geppetto;but the Marionette meets a Fox and a Cat and follows themThe next day Fire Eater called Pinocchio aside and asked him:
"What is your father's name?""Geppetto.""And what is his trade?""He's a wood carver.""Does he earn much?""He earns so much that he never has a penny in hispockets. Just think that, in order to buy me an A-B-Cbook for school, he had to sell the only coat he owned, acoat so full of darns and patches that it was a pity.""Poor fellow! I feel sorry for him. Here, take thesefive gold pieces. Go, give them to him with my kindest regards."Pinocchio, as may easily be imagined, thanked hima thousand times. He kissed each Marionette in turn,even the officers, and, beside himself with joy, set out onhis homeward journey.
He had gone barely half a mile when he met a lameFox and a blind Cat, walking together like two goodfriends. The lame Fox leaned on the Cat, and the blindCat let the Fox lead him along.
"Good morning, Pinocchio," said the Fox, greeting himcourteously.
"How do you know my name?" asked the Marionette.
"I know your father well.""Where have you seen him?""I saw him yesterday standing at the door of his house.""And what was he doing?""He was in his shirt sleeves trembling with cold.""Poor Father! But, after today, God willing, he willsuffer no longer.""Why?""Because I have become a rich man.""You, a rich man?" said the Fox, and he began to laughout loud. The Cat was laughing also, but tried to hide itby stroking his long whiskers.
"There is nothing to laugh at," cried Pinocchio angrily.
"I am very sorry to make your mouth water, but these,as you know, are five new gold pieces."And he pulled out the gold pieces which Fire Eaterhad given him.
At the cheerful tinkle of the gold, the Fox unconsciouslyheld out his paw that was supposed to be lame, and theCat opened wide his two eyes till they looked like livecoals, but he closed them again so quickly that Pinocchiodid not notice.
"And may I ask," inquired the Fox, "what you aregoing to do with all that money?""First of all," answered the Marionette, "I want tobuy a fine new coat for my father, a coat of gold andsilver with diamond buttons; after that, I'll buy an A-B-C book for myself.""For yourself?""For myself. I want to go to school and study hard.""Look at me," said the Fox. "For the silly reason ofwanting to study, I have lost a paw.""Look at me," said the Cat. "For the same foolish reason,I have lost the sight of both eyes."At that moment, a Blackbird, perched on the fencealong the road, called out sharp and clear:
"Pinocchio, do not listen to bad advice. If you do,you'll be sorry!"Poor little Blackbird! If he had only kept his wordsto himself! In the twinkling of an eyelid, the Cat leapedon him, and ate him, feathers and all.
After eating the bird, he cleaned his whiskers, closedhis eyes, and became blind once more.
"Poor Blackbird!" said Pinocchio to the Cat.
"Why did you kill him?""I killed him to teach him a lesson. He talks too much.
Next time he will keep his words to himself."By this time the three companions had walked a longdistance. Suddenly, the Fox stopped in his tracks and,turning to the Marionette, said to him:
"Do you want to double your gold pieces?""What do you mean?""Do you want one hundred, a thousand, two thousandgold pieces for your miserable five?""Yes, but how?""The way is very easy. Instead of returning home,come with us.""And where will you take me?""To the City of Simple Simons."Pinocchio thought a while and then said firmly:
"No, I don't want to go. Home is near, and I'm goingwhere Father is waiting for me. How unhappy he mustbe that I have not yet returned! I have been a bad son,and the Talking Cricket was right when he said that adisobedient boy cannot be happy in this world. I havelearned this at my own expense. Even last night inthe theater, when Fire Eater. . . Brrrr!!!!! . . .
The shivers run up and down my back at the mere thought of it.""Well, then," said the Fox, "if you really want to go home,go ahead, but you'll be sorry.""You'll be sorry," repeated the Cat.
"Think well, Pinocchio, you are turning your back on Dame Fortune.""On Dame Fortune," repeated the Cat.
"Tomorrow your five gold pieces will be two thousand!""Two thousand!" repeated the Cat.
"But how can they possibly become so many?" askedPinocchio wonderingly.
"I'll explain," said the Fox. "You must know that,just outside the City of Simple Simons, there is a blessedfield called the Field of Wonders. In this field you diga hole and in the hole you bury a gold piece. After coveringup the hole with earth you water it well, sprinklea bit of salt on it, and go to bed. During the night, thegold piece sprouts, grows, blossoms, and next morningyou find a beautiful tree, that is loaded with gold pieces.""So that if I were to bury my five gold pieces," criedPinocchio with growing wonder, "next morning I shouldfind--how many?""It is very simple to figure out," answered the Fox.
"Why, you can figure it on your fingers! Granted thateach piece gives you five hundred, multiply five hundredby five. Next morning you will find twenty-five hundrednew, sparkling gold pieces.""Fine! Fine!" cried Pinocchio, dancing about with joy.
"And as soon as I have them, I shall keep two thousandfor myself and the other five hundred I'll give to you two.""A gift for us?" cried the Fox, pretending to be insulted.
"Why, of course not!""Of course not!" repeated the Cat.
"We do not work for gain," answered the Fox.
"We work only to enrich others.""To enrich others!" repeated the Cat.
"What good people," thought Pinocchio to himself.
And forgetting his father, the new coat, the A-B-C book,and all his good resolutions, he said to the Fox and to the Cat:
"Let us go. I am with you."
The Inn of the Red LobsterCat and Fox and Marionette walked and walked and walked.
At last, toward evening, dead tired, they came to theInn of the Red Lobster.
"Let us stop here a while," said the Fox, "to eat a biteand rest for a few hours. At midnight we'll start out again,for at dawn tomorrow we must be at the Field of Wonders."They went into the Inn and all three sat down at thesame table. However, not one of them was very hungry.
The poor Cat felt very weak, and he was able toeat only thirty-five mullets with tomato sauce and fourportions of tripe with cheese. Moreover, as he was soin need of strength, he had to have four more helpings ofbutter and cheese.
The Fox, after a great deal of coaxing, tried his bestto eat a little. The doctor had put him on a diet, and hehad to be satisfied with a small hare dressed with a dozenyoung and tender spring chickens. After the hare, heordered some partridges, a few pheasants, a couple ofrabbits, and a dozen frogs and lizards. That was all.
He felt ill, he said, and could not eat another bite.
Pinocchio ate least of all. He asked for a bite of breadand a few nuts and then hardly touched them. The poorfellow, with his mind on the Field of Wonders, wassuffering from a gold-piece indigestion.
Supper over, the Fox said to the Innkeeper:
"Give us two good rooms, one for Mr. Pinocchio andthe other for me and my friend. Before starting out,we'll take a little nap. Remember to call us at midnightsharp, for we must continue on our journey.""Yes, sir," answered the Innkeeper, winking in a knowing wayat the Fox and the Cat, as if to say, "I understand."As soon as Pinocchio was in bed, he fell fast asleepand began to dream. He dreamed he was in the middleof a field. The field was full of vines heavy with grapes.
The grapes were no other than gold coins which tinkled merrily as they swayed in the wind. They seemed tosay, "Let him who wants us take us!"Just as Pinocchio stretched out his hand to take ahandful of them, he was awakened by three loud knocks atthe door. It was the Innkeeper who had come to tell himthat midnight had struck.
"Are my friends ready?" the Marionette asked him.
"Indeed, yes! They went two hours ago.""Why in such a hurry?""Unfortunately the Cat received a telegram whichsaid that his first-born was suffering from chilblainsand was on the point of death. He could not even waitto say good-by to you.""Did they pay for the supper?""How could they do such a thing? Being people ofgreat refinement, they did not want to offend you sodeeply as not to allow you the honor of paying the bill.""Too bad! That offense would have been more thanpleasing to me," said Pinocchio, scratching his head.
"Where did my good friends say they would wait for me?" he added.
"At the Field of Wonders, at sunrise tomorrow morning."Pinocchio paid a gold piece for the three suppers andstarted on his way toward the field that was to make him a rich man.
He walked on, not knowing where he was going, forit was dark, so dark that not a thing was visible. Roundabout him, not a leaf stirred. A few bats skimmed hisnose now and again and scared him half to death. Onceor twice he shouted, "Who goes there?" and the far-awayhills echoed back to him, "Who goes there? Who goesthere? Who goes. . . ?"As he walked, Pinocchio noticed a tiny insectglimmering on the trunk of a tree, a small being that glowedwith a pale, soft light.
"Who are you?" he asked.
"I am the ghost of the Talking Cricket," answered thelittle being in a faint voice that sounded as if it came froma far-away world.
"What do you want?" asked the Marionette.
"I want to give you a few words of good advice.
Return home and give the four gold pieces you haveleft to your poor old father who is weeping because hehas not seen you for many a day.""Tomorrow my father will be a rich man, for thesefour gold pieces will become two thousand.""Don't listen to those who promise you wealth overnight,my boy. As a rule they are either fools or swindlers!
Listen to me and go home.""But I want to go on!""The hour is late!""I want to go on.""The night is very dark.""I want to go on.""The road is dangerous.""I want to go on.""Remember that boys who insist on having their own way,sooner or later come to grief.""The same nonsense. Good-by, Cricket.""Good night, Pinocchio, and may Heaven preserve youfrom the Assassins."There was silence for a minute and the light of theTalking Cricket disappeared suddenly, just as if someonehad snuffed it out. Once again the road was plungedin darkness.
Pinocchio, not having listened to the good adviceof the Talking Cricket, falls into the hands of the Assassins "Dear, oh, dear! When I come to think of it," said theMarionette to himself, as he once more set out on hisjourney, "we boys are really very unlucky. Everybodyscolds us, everybody gives us advice, everybody warns us.
If we were to allow it, everyone would try to be fatherand mother to us; everyone, even the Talking Cricket.
Take me, for example. Just because I would not listen tothat bothersome Cricket, who knows how many misfortunesmay be awaiting me! Assassins indeed! At leastI have never believed in them, nor ever will. To speaksensibly, I think assassins have been invented by fathersand mothers to frighten children who want to run awayat night. And then, even if I were to meet them onthe road, what matter? I'll just run up to them, and say,`Well, signori, what do you want? Remember that youcan't fool with me! Run along and mind your business.'
At such a speech, I can almost see those poor fellowsrunning like the wind. But in case they don't run away,I can always run myself. . ."Pinocchio was not given time to argue any longer, for he thoughthe heard a slight rustle among the leaves behind him.
He turned to look and behold, there in the darknessstood two big black shadows, wrapped from head to footin black sacks. The two figures leaped toward him assoftly as if they were ghosts.
"Here they come!" Pinocchio said to himself, and,not knowing where to hide the gold pieces, he stuck allfour of them under his tongue.
He tried to run away, but hardly had he taken a step,when he felt his arms grasped and heard two horrible,deep voices say to him: "Your money or your life!"On account of the gold pieces in his mouth, Pinocchiocould not say a word, so he tried with head and handsand body to show, as best he could, that he was only apoor Marionette without a penny in his pocket.
"Come, come, less nonsense, and out with your money!"cried the two thieves in threatening voices.
Once more, Pinocchio's head and hands said, "I haven'ta penny.""Out with that money or you're a dead man," said thetaller of the two Assassins.
"Dead man," repeated the other.
"And after having killed you, we will kill your father also.""Your father also!""No, no, no, not my Father!" cried Pinocchio, wild with terror;but as he screamed, the gold pieces tinkled together in his mouth.
"Ah, you rascal! So that's the game! You have themoney hidden under your tongue. Out with it!"But Pinocchio was as stubborn as ever.
"Are you deaf? Wait, young man, we'll get it fromyou in a twinkling!"One of them grabbed the Marionette by the nose andthe other by the chin, and they pulled him unmercifullyfrom side to side in order to make him open his mouth.
All was of no use. The Marionette's lips might havebeen nailed together. They would not open.
In desperation the smaller of the two Assassins pulledout a long knife from his pocket, and tried to pry Pinocchio'smouth open with it.
Quick as a flash, the Marionette sank his teeth deepinto the Assassin's hand, bit it off and spat it out. Fancyhis surprise when he saw that it was not a hand, but acat's paw.
Encouraged by this first victory, he freed himself fromthe claws of his assailers and, leaping over the bushesalong the road, ran swiftly across the fields. His pursuerswere after him at once, like two dogs chasing a hare.
After running seven miles or so, Pinocchio was well-nigh exhausted. Seeing himself lost, he climbed up agiant pine tree and sat there to see what he could see.
The Assassins tried to climb also, but they slipped and fell.
Far from giving up the chase, this only spurred them on.
They gathered a bundle of wood, piled it up at thefoot of the pine, and set fire to it. In a twinkling thetree began to sputter and burn like a candle blown bythe wind. Pinocchio saw the flames climb higher andhigher. Not wishing to end his days as a roasted Marionette, he jumped quickly to the ground and off he went,the Assassins close to him, as before.
Dawn was breaking when, without any warning whatsoever,Pinocchio found his path barred by a deep pool fullof water the color of muddy coffee.
What was there to do? With a "One, two, three!"he jumped clear across it. The Assassins jumped also,but not having measured their distance well--splash!!!--they fell right into the middle of the pool. Pinocchiowho heard the splash and felt it, too, cried out, laughing,but never stopping in his race:
"A pleasant bath to you, signori!"He thought they must surely be drowned and turnedhis head to see. But there were the two somber figuresstill following him, though their black sacks were drenchedand dripping with water.
The Assassins chase Pinocchio, catch him,and hang him to the branch of a giant oak treeAs he ran, the Marionette felt more and more certain thathe would have to give himself up into the hands of hispursuers. Suddenly he saw a little cottage gleaming whiteas the snow among the trees of the forest.
"If I have enough breath left with which to reach thatlittle house, I may be saved," he said to himself.
Not waiting another moment, he darted swiftly throughthe woods, the Assassins still after him.
After a hard race of almost an hour, tired and out ofbreath, Pinocchio finally reached the door of the cottageand knocked. No one answered.
He knocked again, harder than before, for behind himhe heard the steps and the labored breathing of hispersecutors. The same silence followed.
As knocking was of no use, Pinocchio, in despair,began to kick and bang against the door, as if he wantedto break it. At the noise, a window opened and a lovelymaiden looked out. She had azure hair and a face whiteas wax. Her eyes were closed and her hands crossed onher breast. With a voice so weak that it hardly could beheard, she whispered:
"No one lives in this house. Everyone is dead.""Won't you, at least, open the door for me?"cried Pinocchio in a beseeching voice.
"I also am dead.""Dead? What are you doing at the window, then?""I am waiting for the coffin to take me away."After these words, the little girl disappeared and thewindow closed without a sound.
"Oh, Lovely Maiden with Azure Hair," criedPinocchio, "open, I beg of you. Take pity on a poor boy whois being chased by two Assass--"He did not finish, for two powerful hands grasped himby the neck and the same two horrible voices growledthreateningly: "Now we have you!"The Marionette, seeing death dancing before him,trembled so hard that the joints of his legs rattled andthe coins tinkled under his tongue.
"Well," the Assassins asked, "will you open yourmouth now or not? Ah! You do not answer? Very well,this time you shall open it."Taking out two long, sharp knives, they struck twoheavy blows on the Marionette's back.
Happily for him, Pinocchio was made of very hardwood and the knives broke into a thousand pieces. TheAssassins looked at each other in dismay, holding thehandles of the knives in their hands.
"I understand," said one of them to the other, "thereis nothing left to do now but to hang him.""To hang him," repeated the other.
They tied Pinocchio's hands behind his shoulders andslipped the noose around his neck. Throwing the rope the poor Marionette hung far up in space.
Satisfied with their work, they sat on the grass waitingfor Pinocchio to give his last gasp. But after three hoursthe Marionette's eyes were still open, his mouth still shutand his legs kicked harder than ever.
Tired of waiting, the Assassins called to him mockingly:
"Good-by till tomorrow. When we return in the morning,we hope you'll be polite enough to let us find youdead and gone and with your mouth wide open."With these words they went.
A few minutes went by and then a wild wind startedto blow. As it shrieked and moaned, the poor littlesufferer was blown to and fro like the hammer of a bell.
The rocking made him seasick and the noose, becomingtighter and tighter, choked him. Little by little a filmcovered his eyes.
Death was creeping nearer and nearer, and the Marionettestill hoped for some good soul to come to his rescue,but no one appeared. As he was about to die, he thoughtof his poor old father, and hardly conscious of what hewas saying, murmured to himself:
"Oh, Father, dear Father! If you were only here!"These were his last words. He closed his eyes, openedhis mouth, stretched out his legs, and hung there, as ifhe were dead.
The Lovely Maiden with Azure Hair sends for the poor Marionette,puts him to bed, and calls three Doctors to tell her if Pinocchiois dead or aliveIf the poor Marionette had dangled there much longer,all hope would have been lost. Luckily for him, theLovely Maiden with Azure Hair once again looked out ofher window. Filled with pity at the sight of the poor littlefellow being knocked helplessly about by the wind, sheclapped her hands sharply together three times.
At the signal, a loud whirr of wings in quick flight washeard and a large Falcon came and settled itself on thewindow ledge.
"What do you command, my charming Fairy?" asked the Falcon,bending his beak in deep reverence (for it mustbe known that, after all, the Lovely Maiden with AzureHair was none other than a very kind Fairy who had lived,for more than a thousand years, in the vicinity of the forest).
"Do you see that Marionette hanging from the limbof that giant oak tree?""I see him.""Very well. Fly immediately to him. With yourstrong beak, break the knot which holds him tied, take him down, and lay him softly on the grassat the foot of the oak."The Falcon flew away and after two minutes returned,saying, "I have done what you have commanded.""How did you find him? Alive or dead?""At first glance, I thought he was dead. But I foundI was wrong, for as soon as I loosened the knot aroundhis neck, he gave a long sigh and mumbled with a faintvoice, `Now I feel better!'"The Fairy clapped her hands twice. A magnificentPoodle appeared, walking on his hind legs just like aman. He was dressed in court livery. A tricorn trimmedwith gold lace was set at a rakish angle over a wig of whitecurls that dropped down to his waist. He wore a jauntycoat of chocolate-colored velvet, with diamond buttons,and with two huge pockets which were always filled withbones, dropped there at dinner by his loving mistress.
Breeches of crimson velvet, silk stockings, and low,silver-buckled slippers completed his costume. His tailwas encased in a blue silk covering, which was to protectit from the rain.
"Come, Medoro," said the Fairy to him. "Get mybest coach ready and set out toward the forest. Onreaching the oak tree, you will find a poor, half-deadMarionette stretched out on the grass. Lift him uptenderly, place him on the silken cushions of the coach,and bring him here to me."The Poodle, to show that he understood, wagged his silk-covered tail two or three times and set off at a quick pace.
In a few minutes, a lovely little coach, made of glass,with lining as soft as whipped cream and chocolate pudding,and stuffed with canary feathers, pulled out of thestable. It was drawn by one hundred pairs of white mice,and the Poodle sat on the coachman's seat and snappedhis whip gayly in the air, as if he were a real coachmanin a hurry to get to his destination.
In a quarter of an hour the coach was back. TheFairy, who was waiting at the door of the house, liftedthe poor little Marionette in her arms, took him to adainty room with mother-of-pearl walls, put him to bed,and sent immediately for the most famous doctors of theneighborhood to come to her.
One after another the doctors came, a Crow, and Owl,and a Talking Cricket.
"I should like to know, signori," said the Fairy, turningto the three doctors gathered about Pinocchio's bed,"I should like to know if this poor Marionette is dead or alive."At this invitation, the Crow stepped out and feltPinocchio's pulse, his nose, his little toe.
Then he solemnly pronounced the following words:
"To my mind this Marionette is dead and gone; but if,by any evil chance, he were not, then that would be asure sign that he is still alive!""I am sorry," said the Owl, "to have to contradict the Crow, my famous friend and colleague. To my mindthis Marionette is alive; but if, by any evil chance, hewere not, then that would be a sure sign that he is wholly dead!""And do you hold any opinion?" the Fairy asked the Talking Cricket.
"I say that a wise doctor, when he does not know what heis talking about, should know enough to keep his mouth shut.
However, that Marionette is not a stranger to me.
I have known him a long time!"Pinocchio, who until then had been very quiet,shuddered so hard that the bed shook.
"That Marionette," continued the Talking Cricket,"is a rascal of the worst kind."Pinocchio opened his eyes and closed them again.
"He is rude, lazy, a runaway."Pinocchio hid his face under the sheets.
"That Marionette is a disobedient son who is breakinghis father's heart!"Long shuddering sobs were heard, cries, and deep sighs.
Think how surprised everyone was when, on raising the sheets,they discovered Pinocchio half melted in tears!
"When the dead weep, they are beginning to recover,"said the Crow solemnly.
"I am sorry to contradict my famous friend and colleague," said the Owl, "but as far as I'm concerned, I think thatwhen the dead weep, it means they do not want to die."
Pinocchio eats sugar, but refuses to take medicine.
When the undertakers come for him, he drinks the medicine and feels better.
Afterwards he tells a lie and, in punishment, his nose grows longer and longerAs soon as the three doctors had left the room, the Fairywent to Pinocchio's bed and, touching him on the forehead,noticed that he was burning with fever.
She took a glass of water, put a white powder intoit, and, handing it to the Marionette, said lovingly to him:
"Drink this, and in a few days you'll be up and well."Pinocchio looked at the glass, made a wry face, andasked in a whining voice: "Is it sweet or bitter?""It is bitter, but it is good for you.""If it is bitter, I don't want it.""Drink it!""I don't like anything bitter.""Drink it and I'll give you a lump of sugar to take thebitter taste from your mouth.""Where's the sugar?""Here it is," said the Fairy, taking a lump from a goldensugar bowl.
"I want the sugar first, then I'll drink the bitter water.""Do you promise?""Yes."The Fairy gave him the sugar and Pinocchio, after chewingand swallowing it in a twinkling, said, smacking his lips:
"If only sugar were medicine! I should take it every day.""Now keep your promise and drink these few dropsof water. They'll be good for you."Pinocchio took the glass in both hands and stuck hisnose into it. He lifted it to his mouth and once morestuck his nose into it.
"It is too bitter, much too bitter! I can't drink it.""How do you know, when you haven't even tasted it?""I can imagine it. I smell it. I want another lump ofsugar, then I'll drink it."The Fairy, with all the patience of a good mother, gavehim more sugar and again handed him the glass.
"I can't drink it like that," the Marionette said, makingmore wry faces.
"Why?""Because that feather pillow on my feet bothers me."The Fairy took away the pillow.
"It's no use. I can't drink it even now.""What's the matter now?""I don't like the way that door looks. It's half open."The Fairy closed the door.
"I won't drink it," cried Pinocchio, bursting out crying.
"I won't drink this awful water. I won't. I won't!
No, no, no, no!""My boy, you'll be sorry.""I don't care.""You are very sick.""I don't care.""In a few hours the fever will take you far away to another world.""I don't care.""Aren't you afraid of death?""Not a bit. I'd rather die than drink that awful medicine."At that moment, the door of the room flew open and incame four Rabbits as black as ink, carrying a small blackcoffin on their shoulders.
"What do you want from me?" asked Pinocchio.
"We have come for you," said the largest Rabbit.
"For me? But I'm not dead yet!""No, not dead yet; but you will be in a few momentssince you have refused to take the medicine which wouldhave made you well.""Oh, Fairy, my Fairy," the Marionette cried out, "give methat glass! Quick, please! I don't want to die!
No, no, not yet--not yet!"And holding the glass with his two hands, he swallowedthe medicine at one gulp.
"Well," said the four Rabbits, "this time we have madethe trip for nothing."And turning on their heels, they marched solemnly outof the room, carrying their little black coffin and mutteringand grumbling between their teeth.
In a twinkling, Pinocchio felt fine. With one leap hewas out of bed and into his clothes.
The Fairy, seeing him run and jump around the roomgay as a bird on wing, said to him:
"My medicine was good for you, after all, wasn't it?""Good indeed! It has given me new life.""Why, then, did I have to beg you so hard to makeyou drink it?""I'm a boy, you see, and all boys hate medicine morethan they do sickness.""What a shame! Boys ought to know, after all, thatmedicine, taken in time, can save them from much painand even from death.""Next time I won't have to be begged so hard. I'llremember those black Rabbits with the black coffin ontheir shoulders and I'll take the glass and pouf!--down itwill go!""Come here now and tell me how it came about thatyou found yourself in the hands of the Assassins.""It happened that Fire Eater gave me five gold piecesto give to my Father, but on the way, I met a Fox and aCat, who asked me, `Do you want the five pieces to becometwo thousand?' And I said, `Yes.' And they said,`Come with us to the Field of Wonders.' And I said,`Let's go.' Then they said, `Let us stop at the Inn of theRed Lobster for dinner and after midnight we'll set outagain.' We ate and went to sleep. When I awoke theywere gone and I started out in the darkness all alone. On the road I met two Assassins dressed in black coal sacks,who said to me, `Your money or your life!' and I said,`I haven't any money'; for, you see, I had put the moneyunder my tongue. One of them tried to put his hand inmy mouth and I bit it off and spat it out; but it wasn't ahand, it was a cat's paw. And they ran after me and Iran and ran, till at last they caught me and tied my neckwith a rope and hanged me to a tree, saying, `Tomorrowwe'll come back for you and you'll be dead and yourmouth will be open, and then we'll take the gold piecesthat you have hidden under your tongue.'""Where are the gold pieces now?" the Fairy asked.
"I lost them," answered Pinocchio, but he told a lie,for he had them in his pocket.
As he spoke, his nose, long though it was, became atleast two inches longer.
"And where did you lose them?""In the wood near by."At this second lie, his nose grew a few more inches.
"If you lost them in the near-by wood," said the Fairy,"we'll look for them and find them, for everything that islost there is always found.""Ah, now I remember," replied the Marionette,becoming more and more confused. "I did not lose the goldpieces, but I swallowed them when I drank the medicine."At this third lie, his nose became longer than ever,so long that he could not even turn around. If he turnedto the right, he knocked it against the bed or into thewindowpanes; if he turned to the left, he struck the wallsor the door; if he raised it a bit, he almost put the Fairy'seyes out.
The Fairy sat looking at him and laughing.
"Why do you laugh?" the Marionette asked her,worried now at the sight of his growing nose.
"I am laughing at your lies.""How do you know I am lying?""Lies, my boy, are known in a moment. There are twokinds of lies, lies with short legs and lies with long noses.
Yours, just now, happen to have long noses."Pinocchio, not knowing where to hide his shame, triedto escape from the room, but his nose had become so longthat he could not get it out of the door.
Pinocchio finds the Fox and the Cat again, and goes with themto sow the gold pieces in the Field of Wonders Crying as if his heart would break, the Marionettemourned for hours over the length of his nose. No matterhow he tried, it would not go through the door. TheFairy showed no pity toward him, as she was trying toteach him a good lesson, so that he would stop telling lies,the worst habit any boy may acquire. But when she sawhim, pale with fright and with his eyes half out of hishead from terror, she began to feel sorry for him andclapped her hands together. A thousand woodpeckersflew in through the window and settled themselves onPinocchio's nose. They pecked and pecked so hard atthat enormous nose that in a few moments, it was thesame size as before.
"How good you are, my Fairy," said Pinocchio, dryinghis eyes, "and how much I love you!""I love you, too," answered the Fairy, "and if you wishto stay with me, you may be my little brother and I'll beyour good little sister.""I should like to stay--but what about my poor father?""I have thought of everything. Your father has beensent for and before night he will be here.""Really?" cried Pinocchio joyfully. "Then, my goodFairy, if you are willing, I should like to go to meet him.
I cannot wait to kiss that dear old man, who has sufferedso much for my sake.""Surely; go ahead, but be careful not to lose your way.
Take the wood path and you'll surely meet him."Pinocchio set out, and as soon as he found himself in thewood, he ran like a hare. When he reached the giant oaktree he stopped, for he thought he heard a rustle in thebrush. He was right. There stood the Fox and the Cat,the two traveling companions with whom he had eaten atthe Inn of the Red Lobster.
"Here comes our dear Pinocchio!" cried the Fox,hugging and kissing him. "How did you happen here?""How did you happen here?" repeated the Cat.
"It is a long story," said the Marionette. "Let me tellit to you. The other night, when you left me alone at theInn, I met the Assassins on the road--""The Assassins? Oh, my poor friend! And what did they want?""They wanted my gold pieces.""Rascals!" said the Fox.
"The worst sort of rascals!" added the Cat.
"But I began to run," continued the Marionette, "andthey after me, until they overtook me and hanged me tothe limb of that oak."Pinocchio pointed to the giant oak near by.
"Could anything be worse?" said the Fox.
"What an awful world to live in! Where shall wefind a safe place for gentlemen like ourselves?"As the Fox talked thus, Pinocchio noticed that the Catcarried his right paw in a sling.
"What happened to your paw?" he asked.
The Cat tried to answer, but he became so terriblytwisted in his speech that the Fox had to help him out.
"My friend is too modest to answer. I'll answer forhim. About an hour ago, we met an old wolf on the road.
He was half starved and begged for help. Having nothingto give him, what do you think my friend did out of thekindness of his heart? With his teeth, he bit off the pawof his front foot and threw it at that poor beast, so thathe might have something to eat."As he spoke, the Fox wiped off a tear.
Pinocchio, almost in tears himself, whispered in the Cat's ear:
"If all the cats were like you, how lucky the mice would be!""And what are you doing here?" the Fox asked the Marionette.
"I am waiting for my father, who will be here at any moment now.""And your gold pieces?""I still have them in my pocket, except one which Ispent at the Inn of the Red Lobster.""To think that those four gold pieces might becometwo thousand tomorrow. Why don't you listen to me?
Why don't you sow them in the Field of Wonders?""Today it is impossible. I'll go with you some other time.""Another day will be too late," said the Fox.
"Why?""Because that field has been bought by a very rich man,and today is the last day that it will be open to the public.""How far is this Field of Wonders?""Only two miles away. Will you come with us? We'llbe there in half an hour. You can sow the money, and,after a few minutes, you will gather your two thousandcoins and return home rich. Are you coming?"Pinocchio hesitated a moment before answering, for heremembered the good Fairy, old Geppetto, and the adviceof the Talking Cricket. Then he ended by doing whatall boys do, when they have no heart and little brain.
He shrugged his shoulders and said to the Fox and the Cat:
"Let us go! I am with you."And they went.
They walked and walked for a half a day at least andat last they came to the town called the City of SimpleSimons. As soon as they entered the town, Pinocchionoticed that all the streets were filled with hairless dogs,yawning from hunger; with sheared sheep, trembling withcold; with combless chickens, begging for a grain of wheat; with large butterflies, unable to use their wingsbecause they had sold all their lovely colors; with taillesspeacocks, ashamed to show themselves; and with bedraggledpheasants, scuttling away hurriedly, grieving for theirbright feathers of gold and silver, lost to them forever.
Through this crowd of paupers and beggars, a beautifulcoach passed now and again. Within it sat either a Fox,a Hawk, or a Vulture.
"Where is the Field of Wonders?" asked Pinocchio,growing tired of waiting.
"Be patient. It is only a few more steps away."They passed through the city and, just outside the walls,they stepped into a lonely field, which looked moreor less like any other field.
"Here we are," said the Fox to the Marionette.
"Dig a hole here and put the gold pieces into it."The Marionette obeyed. He dug the hole, put thefour gold pieces into it, and covered them up very carefully.
"Now," said the Fox, "go to that near-by brook, bringback a pail full of water, and sprinkle it over the spot."Pinocchio followed the directions closely, but, as hehad no pail, he pulled off his shoe, filled it with water,and sprinkled the earth which covered the gold. Thenhe asked:
"Anything else?""Nothing else," answered the Fox. "Now we can go.
Return here within twenty minutes and you will find thevine grown and the branches filled with gold pieces."Pinocchio, beside himself with joy, thanked the Foxand the Cat many times and promised them each a beautiful gift.
"We don't want any of your gifts," answered the tworogues. "It is enough for us that we have helped you tobecome rich with little or no trouble. For this we areas happy as kings."They said good-by to Pinocchio and, wishing him goodluck, went on their way.
Pinocchio is robbed of his gold pieces and,in punishment, is sentenced to four months in prisonIf the Marionette had been told to wait a day instead oftwenty minutes, the time could not have seemed longerto him. He walked impatiently to and fro and finallyturned his nose toward the Field of Wonders.
And as he walked with hurried steps, his heart beatwith an excited tic, tac, tic, tac, just as if it were a wallclock, and his busy brain kept thinking:
"What if, instead of a thousand, I should find twothousand? Or if, instead of two thousand, I should find fivethousand--or one hundred thousand? I'll build myself abeautiful palace, with a thousand stables filled with athousand wooden horses to play with, a cellar overflowingwith lemonade and ice cream soda, and a library of candiesand fruits, cakes and cookies."Thus amusing himself with fancies, he came to the field.
There he stopped to see if, by any chance, a vine filledwith gold coins was in sight. But he saw nothing! Hetook a few steps forward, and still nothing! He steppedinto the field. He went up to the place where he haddug the hole and buried the gold pieces. Again nothing!
Pinocchio became very thoughtful and, forgetting his goodmanners altogether, he pulled a hand out of his pocket andgave his head a thorough scratching.
As he did so, he heard a hearty burst of laughter closeto his head. He turned sharply, and there, just above himon the branch of a tree, sat a large Parrot, busily preeninghis feathers.
"What are you laughing at?" Pinocchio asked peevishly.
"I am laughing because, in preening my feathers, Itickled myself under the wings."The Marionette did not answer. He walked to thebrook, filled his shoe with water, and once more sprinkledthe ground which covered the gold pieces.
Another burst of laughter, even more impertinent thanthe first, was heard in the quiet field.
"Well," cried the Marionette, angrily this time,"may I know, Mr. Parrot, what amuses you so?""I am laughing at those simpletons who believeeverything they hear and who allow themselves to be caught soeasily in the traps set for them.""Do you, perhaps, mean me?""I certainly do mean you, poor Pinocchio--you whoare such a little silly as to believe that gold can be sownin a field just like beans or squash. I, too, believed thatonce and today I am very sorry for it. Today (but too late!)I have reached the conclusion that, in order to comeby money honestly, one must work and know how to earnit with hand or brain.""I don't know what you are talking about," said theMarionette, who was beginning to tremble with fear.
"Too bad! I'll explain myself better," said the Parrot.
"While you were away in the city the Fox and the Catreturned here in a great hurry. They took the four goldpieces which you have buried and ran away as fast as the wind.
If you can catch them, you're a brave one!"Pinocchio's mouth opened wide. He would not believethe Parrot's words and began to dig away furiously at theearth. He dug and he dug till the hole was as big as himself,but no money was there. Every penny was gone.
In desperation, he ran to the city and went straight to the courthouse to report the robbery to the magistrate.
The Judge was a Monkey, a large Gorilla venerablewith age. A flowing white beard covered his chest and hewore gold-rimmed spectacles from which the glasses haddropped out. The reason for wearing these, he said, wasthat his eyes had been weakened by the work of many years.
Pinocchio, standing before him, told his pitiful tale,word by word. He gave the names and the descriptionsof the robbers and begged for justice.
The Judge listened to him with great patience. A kindlook shone in his eyes. He became very much interestedin the story; he felt moved; he almost wept. When theMarionette had no more to say, the Judge put out hishand and rang a bell.
At the sound, two large Mastiffs appeared, dressed inCarabineers' uniforms.
Then the magistrate, pointing to Pinocchio, said in avery solemn voice:
"This poor simpleton has been robbed of four gold pieces.
Take him, therefore, and throw him into prison."The Marionette, on hearing this sentence passed uponhim, was thoroughly stunned. He tried to protest, butthe two officers clapped their paws on his mouth andhustled him away to jail.
There he had to remain for four long, weary months.
And if it had not been for a very lucky chance, he probablywould have had to stay there longer. For, my dearchildren, you must know that it happened just then that the young emperor who ruled over the City of SimpleSimons had gained a great victory over his enemy, and incelebration thereof, he had ordered illuminations, fireworks,shows of all kinds, and, best of all, the opening of all prison doors.
"If the others go, I go, too," said Pinocchio to the Jailer.
"Not you," answered the Jailer. "You are one of those--""I beg your pardon," interrupted Pinocchio, "I, too, am a thief.""In that case you also are free," said the Jailer. Takingoff his cap, he bowed low and opened the door of the prison,and Pinocchio ran out and away, with never a look backward.
Freed from prison, Pinocchio sets out to return to the Fairy;but on the way he meets a Serpent and later is caught in a trapFancy the happiness of Pinocchio on finding himself free!
Without saying yes or no, he fled from the city and setout on the road that was to take him back to the house ofthe lovely Fairy.
It had rained for many days, and the road was so muddythat, at times, Pinocchio sank down almost to his knees.
But he kept on bravely.
Tormented by the wish to see his father and his fairy sister with azure hair, he raced like a greyhound. As heran, he was splashed with mud even up to his cap.
"How unhappy I have been," he said to himself. "Andyet I deserve everything, for I am certainly very stubbornand stupid! I will always have my own way. I won'tlisten to those who love me and who have more brainsthan I. But from now on, I'll be different and I'll try tobecome a most obedient boy. I have found out, beyondany doubt whatever, that disobedient boys are certainlyfar from happy, and that, in the long run, they alwayslose out. I wonder if Father is waiting for me. Will Ifind him at the Fairy's house? It is so long, poor man,since I have seen him, and I do so want his love and hiskisses. And will the Fairy ever forgive me for all I havedone? She who has been so good to me and to whom Iowe my life! Can there be a worse or more heartlessboy than I am anywhere?"As he spoke, he stopped suddenly, frozen with terror.
What was the matter? An immense Serpent lay stretchedacross the road--a Serpent with a bright green skin,fiery eyes which glowed and burned, and a pointed tailthat smoked like a chimney.
How frightened was poor Pinocchio! He ran backwildly for half a mile, and at last settled himself atop aheap of stones to wait for the Serpent to go on his wayand leave the road clear for him.
He waited an hour; two hours; three hours; but theSerpent was always there, and even from afar one could see the flash of his red eyes and the column of smokewhich rose from his long, pointed tail.
Pinocchio, trying to feel very brave, walked straight upto him and said in a sweet, soothing voice:
"I beg your pardon, Mr. Serpent, would you be sokind as to step aside to let me pass?"He might as well have talked to a wall. The Serpentnever moved.
Once more, in the same sweet voice, he spoke:
"You must know, Mr. Serpent, that I am going homewhere my father is waiting for me. It is so long since Ihave seen him! Would you mind very much if I passed?"He waited for some sign of an answer to his questions,but the answer did not come. On the contrary, the greenSerpent, who had seemed, until then, wide awake and fullof life, became suddenly very quiet and still. His eyesclosed and his tail stopped smoking.
"Is he dead, I wonder?" said Pinocchio, rubbing hishands together happily. Without a moment's hesitation,he started to step over him, but he had just raised one legwhen the Serpent shot up like a spring and the Marionettefell head over heels backward. He fell so awkwardlythat his head stuck in the mud, and there he stood withhis legs straight up in the air.
At the sight of the Marionette kicking and squirminglike a young whirlwind, the Serpent laughed so heartily and so long that at last he burst an artery and died on the spot.
Pinocchio freed himself from his awkward position andonce more began to run in order to reach the Fairy'shouse before dark. As he went, the pangs of hunger grewso strong that, unable to withstand them, he jumped intoa field to pick a few grapes that tempted him. Woe to him!
No sooner had he reached the grapevine than--crack!
went his legs.
The poor Marionette was caught in a trap set there bya Farmer for some Weasels which came every night tosteal his chickens.
Pinocchio is caught by a Farmer,who uses him as a watchdog for his chicken coopPinocchio, as you may well imagine, began to screamand weep and beg; but all was of no use, for no houseswere to be seen and not a soul passed by on the road.
Night came on.
A little because of the sharp pain in his legs, a littlebecause of fright at finding himself alone in the darknessof the field, the Marionette was about to faint, when hesaw a tiny Glowworm flickering by. He called to her and said:
"Dear little Glowworm, will you set me free?""Poor little fellow!" replied the Glowworm, stoppingto look at him with pity. "How came you to be caughtin this trap?""I stepped into this lonely field to take a few grapes and--""Are the grapes yours?""No.""Who has taught you to take things that do not belong to you?""I was hungry.""Hunger, my boy, is no reason for taking somethingwhich belongs to another.""It's true, it's true!" cried Pinocchio in tears. "I won'tdo it again."Just then, the conversation was interrupted byapproaching footsteps. It was the owner of the field,who was coming on tiptoes to see if, by chance, he had caughtthe Weasels which had been eating his chickens.
Great was his surprise when, on holding up his lantern,he saw that, instead of a Weasel, he had caught a boy!
"Ah, you little thief!" said the Farmer in an angryvoice. "So you are the one who steals my chickens!""Not I! No, no!" cried Pinocchio, sobbing bitterly.
"I came here only to take a very few grapes.""He who steals grapes may very easily steal chickens also.
Take my word for it, I'll give you a lesson that you'll rememberfor a long while."He opened the trap, grabbed the Marionette by thecollar, and carried him to the house as if he were a puppy.
When he reached the yard in front of the house, heflung him to the ground, put a foot on his neck, and saidto him roughly: "It is late now and it's time for bed.
Tomorrow we'll settle matters. In the meantime, since mywatchdog died today, you may take his place and guardmy henhouse."No sooner said than done. He slipped a dog collararound Pinocchio's neck and tightened it so that it wouldnot come off. A long iron chain was tied to the collar.
The other end of the chain was nailed to the wall.
"If tonight it should happen to rain," said the Farmer,"you can sleep in that little doghouse near-by, where youwill find plenty of straw for a soft bed. It has beenMelampo's bed for three years, and it will be good enoughfor you. And if, by any chance, any thieves should come,be sure to bark!"After this last warning, the Farmer went into the houseand closed the door and barred it.
Poor Pinocchio huddled close to the doghouse more dead than alive from cold, hunger, and fright. Now andagain he pulled and tugged at the collar which nearlychoked him and cried out in a weak voice:
"I deserve it! Yes, I deserve it! I have been nothingbut a truant and a vagabond. I have never obeyed anyoneand I have always done as I pleased. If I were only likeso many others and had studied and worked and stayedwith my poor old father, I should not find myself here now,in this field and in the darkness, taking the place of afarmer's watchdog. Oh, if I could start all over again!
But what is done can't be undone, and I must be patient!"After this little sermon to himself, which came from the verydepths of his heart, Pinocchio went into the doghouse and fell asleep.
Pinocchio discovers the thieves and,as a reward for faithfulness, he regains his libertyEven though a boy may be very unhappy, he very seldomloses sleep over his worries. The Marionette, being noexception to this rule, slept on peacefully for a few hourstill well along toward midnight, when he was awakenedby strange whisperings and stealthy sounds coming fromthe yard. He stuck his nose out of the doghouse and sawfour slender, hairy animals. They were Weasels, smallanimals very fond of both eggs and chickens. One ofthem left her companions and, going to the door of the doghouse, said in a sweet voice:
"Good evening, Melampo.""My name is not Melampo," answered Pinocchio.
"Who are you, then?""I am Pinocchio.""What are you doing here?""I'm the watchdog.""But where is Melampo? Where is the old dogwho used to live in this house?""He died this morning.""Died? Poor beast! He was so good! Still, judgingby your face, I think you, too, are a good-natured dog.""I beg your pardon, I am not a dog!""What are you, then?""I am a Marionette.""Are you taking the place of the watchdog?""I'm sorry to say that I am. I'm being punished.""Well, I shall make the same terms with you that we had withthe dead Melampo. I am sure you will be glad to hear them.""And what are the terms?""This is our plan: We'll come once in a while, as inthe past, to pay a visit to this henhouse, and we'll takeaway eight chickens. Of these, seven are for us, and onefor you, provided, of course, that you will make believeyou are sleeping and will not bark for the Farmer.""Did Melampo really do that?" asked Pinocchio.
"Indeed he did, and because of that we were the best offriends. Sleep away peacefully, and remember that beforewe go we shall leave you a nice fat chicken all readyfor your breakfast in the morning. Is that understood?""Even too well," answered Pinocchio. And shakinghis head in a threatening manner, he seemed to say, "We'lltalk this over in a few minutes, my friends."As soon as the four Weasels had talked things over,they went straight to the chicken coop which stood closeto the doghouse. Digging busily with teeth and claws,they opened the little door and slipped in. But they wereno sooner in than they heard the door close with a sharp bang.
The one who had done the trick was Pinocchio, who,not satisfied with that, dragged a heavy stone in frontof it. That done, he started to bark. And he barked asif he were a real watchdog: "Bow, wow, wow! Bow, wow!"The Farmer heard the loud barks and jumped out of bed.
Taking his gun, he leaped to the window and shouted:
"What's the matter?""The thieves are here," answered Pinocchio.
"Where are they?""In the chicken coop.""I'll come down in a second."And, in fact, he was down in the yard in a twinklingand running toward the chicken coop.
He opened the door, pulled out the Weasels one by one, and,after tying them in a bag, said to them in a happy voice:
"You're in my hands at last! I could punish you now,but I'll wait! In the morning you may come with meto the inn and there you'll make a fine dinner for somehungry mortal. It is really too great an honor for you,one you do not deserve; but, as you see, I am really avery kind and generous man and I am going to do thisfor you!"Then he went up to Pinocchio and began to pet and caress him.
"How did you ever find them out so quickly? And to thinkthat Melampo, my faithful Melampo, never saw themin all these years!"The Marionette could have told, then and there, all heknew about the shameful contract between the dog andthe Weasels, but thinking of the dead dog, he said tohimself: "Melampo is dead. What is the use of accusing him?
The dead are gone and they cannot defend themselves.
The best thing to do is to leave them in peace!""Were you awake or asleep when they came?" continued the Farmer.
"I was asleep," answered Pinocchio, "but theyawakened me with their whisperings. One of them even cameto the door of the doghouse and said to me, `If you promisenot to bark, we will make you a present of one of thechickens for your breakfast.' Did you hear that? Theyhad the audacity to make such a proposition as that to me!
For you must know that, though I am a very wicked Marionettefull of faults, still I never have been, nor ever shall be, bribed.""Fine boy!" cried the Farmer, slapping him on theshoulder in a friendly way. "You ought to be proud ofyourself. And to show you what I think of you, youare free from this instant!"And he slipped the dog collar from his neck.
Pinocchio weeps upon learning that the Lovely Maidenwith Azure Hair is dead. He meets a Pigeon,who carries him to the seashore. He throws himselfinto the sea to go to the aid of his fatherAs soon as Pinocchio no longer felt the shameful weightof the dog collar around his neck, he started to run acrossthe fields and meadows, and never stopped till he came tothe main road that was to take him to the Fairy's house.
When he reached it, he looked into the valley far belowhim and there he saw the wood where unluckily he hadmet the Fox and the Cat, and the tall oak tree where hehad been hanged; but though he searched far and near, hecould not see the house where the Fairy with the AzureHair lived.
He became terribly frightened and, running as fast as hecould, he finally came to the spot where it had once stood.
The little house was no longer there. In its place lay asmall marble slab, which bore this sad inscription:
HERE LIESTHE LOVELY FAIRY WITH AZURE HAIRWHO DIED OF GRIEFWHEN ABANDONED BYHER LITTLE BROTHER PINOCCHIOThe poor Marionette was heartbroken at reading thesewords. He fell to the ground and, covering the cold marblewith kisses, burst into bitter tears. He cried all night, anddawn found him still there, though his tears had driedand only hard, dry sobs shook his wooden frame. Butthese were so loud that they could be heard by thefaraway hills.
As he sobbed he said to himself:
"Oh, my Fairy, my dear, dear Fairy, why did you die?
Why did I not die, who am so bad, instead of you, whoare so good? And my father--where can he be? Please dear Fairy, tell me where he is and I shall never, neverleave him again! You are not really dead, are you? If youlove me, you will come back, alive as before. Don't youfeel sorry for me? I'm so lonely. If the two Assassins come,they'll hang me again from the giant oak tree and I willreally die, this time. What shall I do alone in the world?
Now that you are dead and my father is lost, where shallI eat? Where shall I sleep? Who will make my newclothes? Oh, I want to die! Yes, I want to die! Oh, oh, oh!"Poor Pinocchio! He even tried to tear his hair, but as itwas only painted on his wooden head, he could not even pull it.
Just then a large Pigeon flew far above him. Seeing theMarionette, he cried to him:
"Tell me, little boy, what are you doing there?""Can't you see? I'm crying," cried Pinocchio, lifting hishead toward the voice and rubbing his eyes with his sleeve.
"Tell me," asked the Pigeon, "do you by chance knowof a Marionette, Pinocchio by name?""Pinocchio! Did you say Pinocchio?" replied theMarionette, jumping to his feet. "Why, I am Pinocchio!"At this answer, the Pigeon flew swiftly down to the earth.
He was much larger than a turkey.
"Then you know Geppetto also?""Do I know him? He's my father, my poor, dear father!
Has he, perhaps, spoken to you of me? Will you take me to him? Is he still alive? Answer me, please! Is he still alive?""I left him three days ago on the shore of a large sea.""What was he doing?""He was building a little boat with which to cross the ocean.
For the last four months, that poor man has been wanderingaround Europe, looking for you. Not having found you yet,he has made up his mind to look for you in the New World,far across the ocean.""How far is it from here to the shore?" asked Pinocchio anxiously.
"More than fifty miles.""Fifty miles? Oh, dear Pigeon, how I wish I had your wings!""If you want to come, I'll take you with me.""How?""Astride my back. Are you very heavy?""Heavy? Not at all. I'm only a feather.""Very well."Saying nothing more, Pinocchio jumped on the Pigeon'sback and, as he settled himself, he cried out gayly:
"Gallop on, gallop on, my pretty steed! I'm in a great hurry."The Pigeon flew away, and in a few minutes he had reached the clouds. The Marionette looked to see whatwas below them. His head swam and he was so frightenedthat he clutched wildly at the Pigeon's neck to keephimself from falling.
They flew all day. Toward evening the Pigeon said:
"I'm very thirsty!""And I'm very hungry!" said Pinocchio.
"Let us stop a few minutes at that pigeon coop down there.
Then we can go on and be at the seashore in the morning."They went into the empty coop and there they found nothing buta bowl of water and a small basket filled with chick-peas.
The Marionette had always hated chick-peas. Accordingto him, they had always made him sick; but that nighthe ate them with a relish. As he finished them, he turnedto the Pigeon and said:
"I never should have thought that chick-peas could be so good!""You must remember, my boy," answered the Pigeon,"that hunger is the best sauce!"After resting a few minutes longer, they set out again.
The next morning they were at the seashore.
Pinocchio jumped off the Pigeon's back, and the Pigeon,not wanting any thanks for a kind deed, flew away swiftlyand disappeared.
The shore was full of people, shrieking and tearing theirhair as they looked toward the sea.
"What has happened?" asked Pinocchio of a little old woman.
"A poor old father lost his only son some time ago andtoday he built a tiny boat for himself in order to go insearch of him across the ocean. The water is very roughand we're afraid he will be drowned.""Where is the little boat?""There. Straight down there," answered the little old woman,pointing to a tiny shadow, no bigger than a nutshell,floating on the sea.
Pinocchio looked closely for a few minutes and then gave a sharp cry:
"It's my father! It's my father!"Meanwhile, the little boat, tossed about by the angrywaters, appeared and disappeared in the waves. And Pinocchio,standing on a high rock, tired out with searching,waved to him with hand and cap and even with his nose.
It looked as if Geppetto, though far away from theshore, recognized his son, for he took off his cap andwaved also. He seemed to be trying to make everyoneunderstand that he would come back if he were able, butthe sea was so heavy that he could do nothing with his oars.
Suddenly a huge wave came and the boat disappeared.
They waited and waited for it, but it was gone.
"Poor man!" said the fisher folk on the shore, whisperinga prayer as they turned to go home.
Just then a desperate cry was heard. Turning around,the fisher folk saw Pinocchio dive into the sea and heardhim cry out:
"I'll save him! I'll save my father!"The Marionette, being made of wood, floated easilyalong and swam like a fish in the rough water. Now andagain he disappeared only to reappear once more. In atwinkling, he was far away from land. At last he wascompletely lost to view.
"Poor boy!" cried the fisher folk on the shore, and againthey mumbled a few prayers, as they returned home.
Pinocchio reaches the Island of the Busy Beesand finds the Fairy once morePinocchio, spurred on by the hope of finding his fatherand of being in time to save him, swam all night long.
And what a horrible night it was! It poured rain, ithailed, it thundered, and the lightning was so bright that itturned the night into day.
At dawn, he saw, not far away from him, a long stretchof sand. It was an island in the middle of the sea.
Pinocchio tried his best to get there, but he couldn't.
The waves played with him and tossed him about as if hewere a twig or a bit of straw. At last, and luckily for him,a tremendous wave tossed him to the very spot where hewanted to be. The blow from the wave was so strong that,as he fell to the ground, his joints cracked and almost broke.
But, nothing daunted, he jumped to his feet and cried:
"Once more I have escaped with my life!"Little by little the sky cleared. The sun came out in fullsplendor and the sea became as calm as a lake.
Then the Marionette took off his clothes and laid themon the sand to dry. He looked over the waters to seewhether he might catch sight of a boat with a little man init. He searched and he searched, but he saw nothing exceptsea and sky and far away a few sails, so small that theymight have been birds.
"If only I knew the name of this island!" he said to himself.
"If I even knew what kind of people I would find here!
But whom shall I ask? There is no one here."The idea of finding himself in so lonesome a spot made himso sad that he was about to cry, but just then he saw a bigFish swimming near-by, with his head far out of the water.
Not knowing what to call him, the Marionette said to him:
"Hey there, Mr. Fish, may I have a word with you?""Even two, if you want," answered the fish,who happened to be a very polite Dolphin.
"Will you please tell me if, on this island, there areplaces where one may eat without necessarily being eaten?""Surely, there are," answered the Dolphin. "In factyou'll find one not far from this spot.""And how shall I get there?""Take that path on your left and follow your nose. Youcan't go wrong.""Tell me another thing. You who travel day and nightthrough the sea, did you not perhaps meet a little boat withmy father in it?""And who is you father?""He is the best father in the world, even as I am theworst son that can be found.""In the storm of last night," answered the Dolphin, "thelittle boat must have been swamped.""And my father?""By this time, he must have been swallowed by theTerrible Shark, which, for the last few days, has beenbringing terror to these waters.""Is this Shark very big?" asked Pinocchio, who wasbeginning to tremble with fright.
"Is he big?" replied the Dolphin. "Just to give you an ideaof his size, let me tell you that he is larger than a fivestory building and that he has a mouth so big and so deep,that a whole train and engine could easily get into it.""Mother mine!" cried the Marionette, scared to death;and dressing himself as fast as he could, he turned to theDolphin and said:
"Farewell, Mr. Fish. Pardon the bother, and many thanksfor your kindness."This said, he took the path at so swift a gait that heseemed to fly, and at every small sound he heard,he turned in fear to see whether the Terrible Shark,five stories high and with a train in his mouth,was following him.
After walking a half hour, he came to a small countrycalled the Land of the Busy Bees. The streets were filledwith people running to and fro about their tasks. Everyoneworked, everyone had something to do. Even if one wereto search with a lantern, not one idle man or one trampcould have been found.
"I understand," said Pinocchio at once wearily,"this is no place for me! I was not born for work."But in the meantime, he began to feel hungry, for itwas twenty-four hours since he had eaten.
What was to be done?
There were only two means left to him in order to get abite to eat. He had either to work or to beg.
He was ashamed to beg, because his father had alwayspreached to him that begging should be done only by thesick or the old. He had said that the real poor in this world,deserving of our pity and help, were only those who, eitherthrough age or sickness, had lost the means of earning theirbread with their own hands. All others should work, andif they didn't, and went hungry, so much the worse for them.
Just then a man passed by, worn out and wet with perspiration,pulling, with difficulty, two heavy carts filled with coal.
Pinocchio looked at him and, judging him by his looksto be a kind man, said to him with eyes downcast in shame:
"Will you be so good as to give me a penny,for I am faint with hunger?""Not only one penny," answered the Coal Man. "I'll giveyou four if you will help me pull these two wagons.""I am surprised!" answered the Marionette, very much offended.
"I wish you to know that I never have been a donkey,nor have I ever pulled a wagon.""So much the better for you!" answered the Coal Man.
"Then, my boy, if you are really faint with hunger,eat two slices of your pride; and I hope they don'tgive you indigestion."A few minutes after, a Bricklayer passed by, carryinga pail full of plaster on his shoulder.
"Good man, will you be kind enough to give a penny toa poor boy who is yawning from hunger?""Gladly," answered the Bricklayer. "Come with me and carrysome plaster, and instead of one penny, I'll give you five.""But the plaster is heavy," answered Pinocchio, "and thework too hard for me.""If the work is too hard for you, my boy, enjoy your yawnsand may they bring you luck!"In less than a half hour, at least twenty people passedand Pinocchio begged of each one, but they all answered:
"Aren't you ashamed? Instead of being a beggar in the streets,why don't you look for work and earn your own bread?"Finally a little woman went by carrying two water jugs.
"Good woman, will you allow me to have a drink fromone of your jugs?" asked Pinocchio, who was burning upwith thirst.
"With pleasure, my boy!" she answered, setting thetwo jugs on the ground before him.
When Pinocchio had had his fill, he grumbled,as he wiped his mouth:
"My thirst is gone. If I could only as easily get rid of my hunger!"On hearing these words, the good little woman immediately said:
"If you help me to carry these jugs home, I'll give you aslice of bread."Pinocchio looked at the jug and said neither yes nor no.
"And with the bread, I'll give you a nice dish ofcauliflower with white sauce on it."Pinocchio gave the jug another look and said neither yes nor no.
"And after the cauliflower, some cake and jam."At this last bribery, Pinocchio could no longer resist and said firmly:
"Very well. I'll take the jug home for you."The jug was very heavy, and the Marionette, not beingstrong enough to carry it with his hands, had to put iton his head.
When they arrived home, the little woman made Pinocchiosit down at a small table and placed before him thebread, the cauliflower, and the cake. Pinocchio did not eat;he devoured. His stomach seemed a bottomless pit.
His hunger finally appeased, he raised his head to thankhis kind benefactress. But he had not looked at her longwhen he gave a cry of surprise and sat there with his eyeswide open, his fork in the air, and his mouth filled withbread and cauliflower.
"Why all this surprise?" asked the good woman, laughing.
"Because--" answered Pinocchio, stammering and stuttering,"because--you look like--you remind me of--yes, yes,the same voice, the same eyes, the same hair--yes, yes,yes, you also have the same azure hair she had--Oh, mylittle Fairy, my little Fairy! Tell me that it is you!
Don't make me cry any longer! If you only knew! I havecried so much, I have suffered so!"And Pinocchio threw himself on the floor and claspedthe knees of the mysterious little woman.
Pinocchio promises the Fairy to be good and to study,as he is growing tired of being a Marionette,and wishes to become a real boyIf Pinocchio cried much longer, the little woman thoughthe would melt away, so she finally admitted that she wasthe little Fairy with Azure Hair.
"You rascal of a Marionette! How did you know it was I?"she asked, laughing.
"My love for you told me who you were.""Do you remember? You left me when I was a little girl and now you find me a grown woman. I am so old, I couldalmost be your mother!""I am very glad of that, for then I can call you motherinstead of sister. For a long time I have wanted a mother,just like other boys. But how did you grow so quickly?""That's a secret!""Tell it to me. I also want to grow a little. Look at me!
I have never grown higher than a penny's worth of cheese.""But you can't grow," answered the Fairy.
"Why not?""Because Marionettes never grow. They are born Marionettes,they live Marionettes, and they die Marionettes.""Oh, I'm tired of always being a Marionette!" cried Pinocchio disgustedly.
"It's about time for me to grow into a man as everyone else does.""And you will if you deserve it--""Really? What can I do to deserve it?""It's a very simple matter. Try to act like a well-behaved child.""Don't you think I do?""Far from it! Good boys are obedient, and you, on the contrary--""And I never obey.""Good boys love study and work, but you--""And I, on the contrary, am a lazy fellow and a tramp all year round.""Good boys always tell the truth.""And I always tell lies.""Good boys go gladly to school.""And I get sick if I go to school. From now on I'll be different.""Do you promise?""I promise. I want to become a good boy and be a comfort to my father.
Where is my poor father now?""I do not know.""Will I ever be lucky enough to find him and embrace him once more?""I think so. Indeed, I am sure of it."At this answer, Pinocchio's happiness was very great.
He grasped the Fairy's hands and kissed them so hard thatit looked as if he had lost his head. Then lifting his face,he looked at her lovingly and asked: "Tell me, little Mother,it isn't true that you are dead, is it?""It doesn't seem so," answered the Fairy, smiling.
"If you only knew how I suffered and how I wept when I read `Here lies--'""I know it, and for that I have forgiven you. The depth of your sorrow made me see that you have a kind heart.
There is always hope for boys with hearts such as yours,though they may often be very mischievous. This is thereason why I have come so far to look for you. From nowon, I'll be your own little mother.""Oh! How lovely!" cried Pinocchio, jumping with joy.
"You will obey me always and do as I wish?""Gladly, very gladly, more than gladly!""Beginning tomorrow," said the Fairy, "you'll go to school every day."Pinocchio's face fell a little.
"Then you will choose the trade you like best."Pinocchio became more serious.
"What are you mumbling to yourself?" asked the Fairy.
"I was just saying," whined the Marionette in a whisper,"that it seems too late for me to go to school now.""No, indeed. Remember it is never too late to learn.""But I don't want either trade or profession.""Why?""Because work wearies me!""My dear boy," said the Fairy, "people who speak as you do usually end their days either in a prison or in ahospital. A man, remember, whether rich or poor, shoulddo something in this world. No one can find happinesswithout work. Woe betide the lazy fellow! Laziness is aserious illness and one must cure it immediately; yes, evenfrom early childhood. If not, it will kill you in the end."These words touched Pinocchio's heart. He liftedhis eyes to his Fairy and said seriously:
"I'll work; I'll study; I'll do all you tell me.
After all, the life of a Marionette has grown very tiresometo me and I want to become a boy, no matter how hard it is.
You promise that, do you not?""Yes, I promise, and now it is up to you."
Pinocchio goes to the seashore with his friendsto see the Terrible SharkIn the morning, bright and early, Pinocchio started for school.
Imagine what the boys said when they saw a Marionetteenter the classroom! They laughed until they cried. Everyoneplayed tricks on him. One pulled his hat off, anothertugged at his coat, a third tried to paint a mustache underhis nose. One even attempted to tie strings to his feet andhis hands to make him dance.
For a while Pinocchio was very calm and quiet. Finally,however, he lost all patience and turning to his tormentors,he said to them threateningly:
"Careful, boys, I haven't come here to be made fun of.
I'll respect you and I want you to respect me.""Hurrah for Dr. Know-all! You have spoken like aprinted book!" howled the boys, bursting with laughter.
One of them, more impudent than the rest, put out hishand to pull the Marionette's nose.
But he was not quick enough, for Pinocchio stretchedhis leg under the table and kicked him hard on the shin.
"Oh, what hard feet!" cried the boy, rubbing the spotwhere the Marionette had kicked him.
"And what elbows! They are even harder than the feet!"shouted another one, who, because of some other trick,had received a blow in the stomach.
With that kick and that blow Pinocchio gained everybody's favor.
Everyone admired him, danced attendance upon him, petted and caressed him.
As the days passed into weeks, even the teacher praised him,for he saw him attentive, hard working, and wide awake,always the first to come in the morning, and the lastto leave when school was over.
Pinocchio's only fault was that he had too many friends.
Among these were many well-known rascals, who carednot a jot for study or for success.
The teacher warned him each day, and even the goodFairy repeated to him many times:
"Take care, Pinocchio! Those bad companions willsooner or later make you lose your love for study.
Some day they will lead you astray.""There's no such danger," answered the Marionette,shrugging his shoulders and pointing to his forehead as ifto say, "I'm too wise."So it happened that one day, as he was walking to school,he met some boys who ran up to him and said:
"Have you heard the news?""No!""A Shark as big as a mountain has been seen near the shore.""Really? I wonder if it could be the same one I heardof when my father was drowned?""We are going to see it. Are you coming?""No, not I. I must go to school.""What do you care about school? You can go there tomorrow.
With a lesson more or less, we are always the same donkeys.""And what will the teacher say?""Let him talk. He is paid to grumble all day long.""And my mother?""Mothers don't know anything," answered those scamps.
"Do you know what I'll do?" said Pinocchio.
"For certain reasons of mine, I, too, want to see that Shark;but I'll go after school. I can see him then as well as now.""Poor simpleton!" cried one of the boys. "Do you thinkthat a fish of that size will stand there waiting for you?
He turns and off he goes, and no one will ever be the wiser.""How long does it take from here to the shore?" asked the Marionette.
"One hour there and back.""Very well, then. Let's see who gets there first!" cried Pinocchio.
At the signal, the little troop, with books under their arms,dashed across the fields. Pinocchio led the way, runningas if on wings, the others following as fast as they could.
Now and again, he looked back and, seeing his followershot and tired, and with tongues hanging out, he laughedout heartily. Unhappy boy! If he had only known thenthe dreadful things that were to happen to him on accountof his disobedience!
The great battle between Pinocchio and his playmates.
One is wounded. Pinocchio is arrestedGoing like the wind, Pinocchio took but a very short timeto reach the shore. He glanced all about him, but there wasno sign of a Shark. The sea was as smooth as glass.
"Hey there, boys! Where's that Shark?" he asked,turning to his playmates.
"He may have gone for his breakfast," said one of them, laughing.
"Or, perhaps, he went to bed for a little nap,"said another, laughing also.
From the answers and the laughter which followed them,Pinocchio understood that the boys had played a trick on him.
"What now?" he said angrily to them. "What's the joke?""Oh, the joke's on you!" cried his tormentors, laughingmore heartily than ever, and dancing gayly around the Marionette.
"And that is--?""That we have made you stay out of school to comewith us. Aren't you ashamed of being such a goody-goody,and of studying so hard? You never have a bit of enjoyment.""And what is it to you, if I do study?""What does the teacher think of us, you mean?""Why?""Don't you see? If you study and we don't, we pay forit. After all, it's only fair to look out for ourselves.""What do you want me to do?""Hate school and books and teachers, as we all do. Theyare your worst enemies, you know, and they like to makeyou as unhappy as they can.""And if I go on studying, what will you do to me?""You'll pay for it!""Really, you amuse me," answered the Marionette, nodding his head.
"Hey, Pinocchio," cried the tallest of them all, "that will do.
We are tired of hearing you bragging about yourself,you little turkey cock! You may not be afraid of us,but remember we are not afraid of you, either!
You are alone, you know, and we are seven.""Like the seven sins," said Pinocchio, still laughing.
"Did you hear that? He has insulted us all. He has called us sins.""Pinocchio, apologize for that, or look out!""Cuck--oo!" said the Marionette, mocking them with his thumb to his nose.
"You'll be sorry!""Cuck--oo!""We'll whip you soundly!""Cuck--oo!""You'll go home with a broken nose!""Cuck--oo!""Very well, then! Take that, and keep it for your supper,"called out the boldest of his tormentors.
And with the words, he gave Pinocchio a terrible blow on the head.
Pinocchio answered with another blow, and that wasthe signal for the beginning of the fray. In a few moments,the fight raged hot and heavy on both sides.
Pinocchio, although alone, defended himself bravely.
With those two wooden feet of his, he worked so fastthat his opponents kept at a respectful distance.
Wherever they landed, they left their painful markand the boys could only run away and howl.
Enraged at not being able to fight the Marionette at closequarters, they started to throw all kinds of books at him.
Readers, geographies, histories, grammars flew in all directions.
But Pinocchio was keen of eye and swift of movement, and the booksonly passed over his head, landed in the sea, and disappeared.
The fish, thinking they might be good to eat, came tothe top of the water in great numbers. Some took a nibble,some took a bite, but no sooner had they tasted a page or two,than they spat them out with a wry face, as if to say:
"What a horrid taste! Our own food is so much better!"Meanwhile, the battle waxed more and more furious.
At the noise, a large Crab crawled slowly out of the waterand, with a voice that sounded like a trombone sufferingfrom a cold, he cried out:
"Stop fighting, you rascals! These battles between boysrarely end well. Trouble is sure to come to you!"Poor Crab! He might as well have spoken to the wind.
Instead of listening to his good advice, Pinocchio turnedto him and said as roughly as he knew how:
"Keep quiet, ugly Gab! It would be better for you tochew a few cough drops to get rid of that cold you have.
Go to bed and sleep! You will feel better in the morning."In the meantime, the boys, having used all their books,looked around for new ammunition. Seeing Pinocchio'sbundle lying idle near-by, they somehow managed to gethold of it.
One of the books was a very large volume, an arithmetic text,heavily bound in leather. It was Pinocchio's pride.
Among all his books, he liked that one the best.
Thinking it would make a fine missile, one of the boys tookhold of it and threw it with all his strength at Pinocchio's head.
But instead of hitting the Marionette, the book struck one of theother boys, who, as pale as a ghost, cried out faintly:
"Oh, Mother, help! I'm dying!" and fell senseless to the ground.
At the sight of that pale little corpse, the boys were sofrightened that they turned tail and ran. In a few moments,all had disappeared.
All except Pinocchio. Although scared to death by thehorror of what had been done, he ran to the sea and soakedhis handkerchief in the cool water and with it bathed thehead of his poor little schoolmate. Sobbing bitterly, hecalled to him, saying:
"Eugene! My poor Eugene! Open your eyes and look at me!
Why don't you answer? I was not the one who hit you,you know. Believe me, I didn't do it. Open your eyes,Eugene? If you keep them shut, I'll die, too. Oh, dear me,how shall I ever go home now? How shall I ever look atmy little mother again? What will happen to me? Whereshall I go? Where shall I hide? Oh, how much better itwould have been, a thousand times better, if only I hadgone to school! Why did I listen to those boys? Theyalways were a bad influence! And to think that the teacherhad told me--and my mother, too!--`Beware of badcompany!' That's what she said. But I'm stubborn andproud. I listen, but always I do as I wish. And then I pay.
I've never had a moment's peace since I've been born! Oh,dear! What will become of me? What will become of me?"Pinocchio went on crying and moaning and beating hishead. Again and again he called to his little friend, whensuddenly he heard heavy steps approaching.
He looked up and saw two tall Carabineers near him.
"What are you doing stretched out on the ground?"they asked Pinocchio.
"I'm helping this schoolfellow of mine.""Has he fainted?""I should say so," said one of the Carabineers, bendingto look at Eugene. "This boy has been wounded on thetemple. Who has hurt him?""Not I," stammered the Marionette, who had hardlya breath left in his whole body.
"If it wasn't you, who was it, then?""Not I," repeated Pinocchio.
"And with what was he wounded?""With this book," and the Marionette picked up thearithmetic text to show it to the officer.
"And whose book is this?""Mine.""Enough.""Not another word! Get up as quickly as you can and come along with us.""But I--""Come with us!""But I am innocent.""Come with us!"Before starting out, the officers called out to severalfishermen passing by in a boat and said to them:
"Take care of this little fellow who has been hurt.
Take him home and bind his wounds. Tomorrow we'll come after him."They then took hold of Pinocchio and, putting himbetween them, said to him in a rough voice: "March!
And go quickly, or it will be the worse for you!"They did not have to repeat their words. The Marionettewalked swiftly along the road to the village. But thepoor fellow hardly knew what he was about. He thoughthe had a nightmare. He felt ill. His eyes saw everythingdouble, his legs trembled, his tongue was dry, and, try ashe might, he could not utter a single word. Yet, in spiteof this numbness of feeling, he suffered keenly at thethought of passing under the windows of his good littleFairy's house. What would she say on seeing him betweentwo Carabineers?
They had just reached the village, when a sudden gustof wind blew off Pinocchio's cap and made it go sailing fardown the street.
"Would you allow me," the Marionette asked theCarabineers, "to run after my cap?""Very well, go; but hurry."The Marionette went, picked up his cap--but insteadof putting it on his head, he stuck it between his teethand then raced toward the sea.
He went like a bullet out of a gun.
The Carabineers, judging that it would be very difficultto catch him, sent a large Mastiff after him, one that hadwon first prize in all the dog races. Pinocchio ran fast andthe Dog ran faster. At so much noise, the people hung outof the windows or gathered in the street, anxious to seethe end of the contest. But they were disappointed,for the Dog and Pinocchio raised so much dust on the road that,after a few moments, it was impossible to see them.
Pinocchio runs the danger of being fried in a pan like a fishDuring that wild chase, Pinocchio lived through aterrible moment when he almost gave himself up as lost.
This was when Alidoro (that was the Mastiff's name),in a frenzy of running, came so near that he was on thevery point of reaching him.
The Marionette heard, close behind him, the laboredbreathing of the beast who was fast on his trail, and nowand again even felt his hot breath blow over him.
Luckily, by this time, he was very near the shore, andthe sea was in sight; in fact, only a few short steps away.
As soon as he set foot on the beach, Pinocchio gave aleap and fell into the water. Alidoro tried to stop, butas he was running very fast, he couldn't, and he, too,landed far out in the sea. Strange though it may seem,the Dog could not swim. He beat the water with his paws tohold himself up, but the harder he tried, the deeper he sank.
As he stuck his head out once more, the poor fellow's eyeswere bulging and he barked out wildly, "I drown! I drown!""Drown!" answered Pinocchio from afar, happy at his escape.
"Help, Pinocchio, dear little Pinocchio! Save me from death!"At those cries of suffering, the Marionette, who afterall had a very kind heart, was moved to compassion.
He turned toward the poor animal and said to him:
"But if I help you, will you promise not to bother meagain by running after me?""I promise! I promise! Only hurry, for if you waitanother second, I'll be dead and gone!"Pinocchio hesitated still another minute. Then, rememberinghow his father had often told him that a kind deed is never lost,he swam to Alidoro and, catching hold of his tail, dragged him to the shore.
The poor Dog was so weak he could not stand. He hadswallowed so much salt water that he was swollen like aballoon. However, Pinocchio, not wishing to trust himtoo much, threw himself once again into the sea. As heswam away, he called out:
"Good-by, Alidoro, good luck and remember me to the family!""Good-by, little Pinocchio," answered the Dog.
"A thousand thanks for having saved me from death.
You did me a good turn, and, in this world, what is givenis always returned. If the chance comes, I shall be there."Pinocchio went on swimming close to shore. At lasthe thought he had reached a safe place. Glancing up anddown the beach, he saw the opening of a cave out of whichrose a spiral of smoke.
"In that cave," he said to himself, "there must be a fire.
So much the better. I'll dry my clothes and warm myself,and then--well--"His mind made up, Pinocchio swam to the rocks, butas he started to climb, he felt something under him liftinghim up higher and higher. He tried to escape, but he wastoo late. To his great surprise, he found himself in a hugenet, amid a crowd of fish of all kinds and sizes, who werefighting and struggling desperately to free themselves.
At the same time, he saw a Fisherman come out of thecave, a Fisherman so ugly that Pinocchio thought he was asea monster. In place of hair, his head was covered by athick bush of green grass. Green was the skin of his body,green were his eyes, green was the long, long beard thatreached down to his feet. He looked like a giant lizardwith legs and arms.
When the Fisherman pulled the net out of the sea,he cried out joyfully:
"Blessed Providence! Once more I'll have a fine meal of fish!""Thank Heaven, I'm not a fish!" said Pinocchio to himself,trying with these words to find a little courage.
The Fisherman took the net and the fish to the cave,a dark, gloomy, smoky place. In the middle of it, a panfull of oil sizzled over a smoky fire, sending out a repellingodor of tallow that took away one's breath.
"Now, let's see what kind of fish we have caughttoday," said the Green Fisherman. He put a hand as bigas a spade into the net and pulled out a handful of mullets.
"Fine mullets, these!" he said, after looking at them andsmelling them with pleasure. After that, he threw theminto a large, empty tub.
Many times he repeated this performance. As he pulledeach fish out of the net, his mouth watered with thethought of the good dinner coming, and he said:
"Fine fish, these bass!""Very tasty, these whitefish!""Delicious flounders, these!""What splendid crabs!""And these dear little anchovies, with their heads still on!"As you can well imagine, the bass, the flounders, thewhitefish, and even the little anchovies all went togetherinto the tub to keep the mullets company. The last to comeout of the net was Pinocchio.
As soon as the Fisherman pulled him out, his green eyesopened wide with surprise, and he cried out in fear:
"What kind of fish is this? I don't remember evereating anything like it."He looked at him closely and after turning him over andover, he said at last:
"I understand. He must be a crab!"Pinocchio, mortified at being taken for a crab, said resentfully:
"What nonsense! A crab indeed! I am no such thing.
Beware how you deal with me! I am a Marionette,I want you to know.""A Marionette?" asked the Fisherman. "I must admit thata Marionette fish is, for me, an entirely new kind of fish.
So much the better. I'll eat you with greater relish.""Eat me? But can't you understand that I'm not a fish?
Can't you hear that I speak and think as you do?""It's true," answered the Fisherman; "but since I seethat you are a fish, well able to talk and think as I do,I'll treat you with all due respect.""And that is--""That, as a sign of my particular esteem, I'll leave toyou the choice of the manner in which you are to becooked. Do you wish to be fried in a pan, or do you preferto be cooked with tomato sauce?""To tell you the truth," answered Pinocchio, "if I must choose,I should much rather go free so I may return home!""Are you fooling? Do you think that I want to losethe opportunity to taste such a rare fish? A Marionettefish does not come very often to these seas. Leave it to me.
I'll fry you in the pan with the others. I know you'll like it.
It's always a comfort to find oneself in good company."The unlucky Marionette, hearing this, began to cry andwail and beg. With tears streaming down his cheeks, he said:
"How much better it would have been for me to go to school!
I did listen to my playmates and now I am paying for it!
Oh! Oh! Oh!"And as he struggled and squirmed like an eel to escape from him,the Green Fisherman took a stout cord and tied him hand and foot,and threw him into the bottom of the tub with the others.
Then he pulled a wooden bowl full of flour out of acupboard and started to roll the fish into it, one by one.
When they were white with it, he threw them into the pan.
The first to dance in the hot oil were the mullets,the bass followed, then the whitefish, the flounders, andthe anchovies. Pinocchio's turn came last. Seeing himselfso near to death (and such a horrible death!) he beganto tremble so with fright that he had no voice left withwhich to beg for his life.
The poor boy beseeched only with his eyes. But theGreen Fisherman, not even noticing that it was he, turnedhim over and over in the flour until he looked like aMarionette made of chalk.
Then he took him by the head and--
Pinocchio returns to the Fairy's houseand she promises him that, on the morrow,he will cease to be a Marionette and become a boy.
A wonderful party of coffee-and-milk to celebratethe great eventMindful of what the Fisherman had said, Pinocchio knewthat all hope of being saved had gone. He closed his eyesand waited for the final moment.
Suddenly, a large Dog, attracted by the odor of theboiling oil, came running into the cave.
"Get out!" cried the Fisherman threateningly and stillholding onto the Marionette, who was all covered with flour.
But the poor Dog was very hungry, and whining andwagging his tail, he tried to say:
"Give me a bite of the fish and I'll go in peace.""Get out, I say!" repeated the Fisherman.
And he drew back his foot to give the Dog a kick.
Then the Dog, who, being really hungry, would takeno refusal, turned in a rage toward the Fisherman andbared his terrible fangs. And at that moment, a pitifullittle voice was heard saying: "Save me, Alidoro; if youdon't, I fry!"The Dog immediately recognized Pinocchio's voice.
Great was his surprise to find that the voice came fromthe little flour-covered bundle that the Fisherman heldin his hand.
Then what did he do? With one great leap, he graspedthat bundle in his mouth and, holding it lightly betweenhis teeth, ran through the door and disappeared like a flash!
The Fisherman, angry at seeing his meal snatched fromunder his nose, ran after the Dog, but a bad fit of coughingmade him stop and turn back.
Meanwhile, Alidoro, as soon as he had found the roadwhich led to the village, stopped and dropped Pinocchiosoftly to the ground.
"How much I do thank you!" said the Marionette.
"It is not necessary," answered the Dog. "You saved me once,and what is given is always returned. We are in this worldto help one another.""But how did you get in that cave?""I was lying here on the sand more dead than alive,when an appetizing odor of fried fish came to me. Thatodor tickled my hunger and I followed it. Oh, if I hadcome a moment later!""Don't speak about it," wailed Pinocchio, stilltrembling with fright. "Don't say a word. If you had comea moment later, I would be fried, eaten, and digested bythis time. Brrrrrr! I shiver at the mere thought of it."Alidoro laughingly held out his paw to the Marionette,who shook it heartily, feeling that now he and the Dogwere good friends. Then they bid each other good-byand the Dog went home.
Pinocchio, left alone, walked toward a little hut nearby, where an old man sat at the door sunning himself,and asked:
"Tell me, good man, have you heard anything of apoor boy with a wounded head, whose name was Eugene?""The boy was brought to this hut and now--""Now he is dead?" Pinocchio interrupted sorrowfully.
"No, he is now alive and he has already returned home.""Really? Really?" cried the Marionette, jumpingaround with joy. "Then the wound was not serious?""But it might have been--and even mortal," answeredthe old man, "for a heavy book was thrown at his head.""And who threw it?""A schoolmate of his, a certain Pinocchio.""And who is this Pinocchio?" asked the Marionette,feigning ignorance.
"They say he is a mischief-maker, a tramp, a street urchin--""Calumnies! All calumnies!""Do you know this Pinocchio?""By sight!" answered the Marionette.
"And what do you think of him?" asked the old man.
"I think he's a very good boy, fond of study, obedient,kind to his Father, and to his whole family--"As he was telling all these enormous lies about himself,Pinocchio touched his nose and found it twice as longas it should be. Scared out of his wits, he cried out:
"Don't listen to me, good man! All the wonderfulthings I have said are not true at all. I know Pinocchiowell and he is indeed a very wicked fellow, lazy anddisobedient, who instead of going to school, runs away withhis playmates to have a good time."At this speech, his nose returned to its natural size.
"Why are you so pale?" the old man asked suddenly.
"Let me tell you. Without knowing it, I rubbed myselfagainst a newly painted wall," he lied, ashamed tosay that he had been made ready for the frying pan.
"What have you done with your coat and your hatand your breeches?""I met thieves and they robbed me. Tell me, my goodman, have you not, perhaps, a little suit to give me, sothat I may go home?""My boy, as for clothes, I have only a bag in which Ikeep hops. If you want it, take it. There it is."Pinocchio did not wait for him to repeat his words.
He took the bag, which happened to be empty, and aftercutting a big hole at the top and two at the sides, heslipped into it as if it were a shirt. Lightly clad as he was,he started out toward the village.
Along the way he felt very uneasy. In fact he was sounhappy that he went along taking two steps forwardand one back, and as he went he said to himself:
"How shall I ever face my good little Fairy? Whatwill she say when she sees me? Will she forgive this lasttrick of mine? I am sure she won't. Oh, no, she won't.
And I deserve it, as usual! For I am a rascal, fine onpromises which I never keep!"He came to the village late at night. It was so dark hecould see nothing and it was raining pitchforks.
Pinocchio went straight to the Fairy's house, firmlyresolved to knock at the door.
When he found himself there, he lost courage and ranback a few steps. A second time he came to the door andagain he ran back. A third time he repeated hisperformance. The fourth time, before he had time to losehis courage, he grasped the knocker and made a faint soundwith it.
He waited and waited and waited. Finally, after a fullhalf hour, a top-floor window (the house had four stories)opened and Pinocchio saw a large Snail look out. A tinylight glowed on top of her head. "Who knocks at thislate hour?" she called.
"Is the Fairy home?" asked the Marionette.
"The Fairy is asleep and does not wish to be disturbed.
Who are you?""It is I.""Who's I?""Pinocchio.""Who is Pinocchio?""The Marionette; the one who lives in the Fairy's house.""Oh, I understand," said the Snail. "Wait for me there.
I'll come down to open the door for you.""Hurry, I beg of you, for I am dying of cold.""My boy, I am a snail and snails are never in a hurry."An hour passed, two hours; and the door was still closed.
Pinocchio, who was trembling with fear and shiveringfrom the cold rain on his back, knocked a second time,this time louder than before.
At that second knock, a window on the third flooropened and the same Snail looked out.
"Dear little Snail," cried Pinocchio from the street.
"I have been waiting two hours for you! And two hourson a dreadful night like this are as long as two years.
Hurry, please!""My boy," answered the Snail in a calm, peacefulvoice, "my dear boy, I am a snail and snails are never ina hurry." And the window closed.
A few minutes later midnight struck; then one o'clock--two o'clock. And the door still remained closed!
Then Pinocchio, losing all patience, grabbed theknocker with both hands, fully determined to awaken thewhole house and street with it. As soon as he touched theknocker, however, it became an eel and wiggled away intothe darkness.
"Really?" cried Pinocchio, blind with rage. "If theknocker is gone, I can still use my feet."He stepped back and gave the door a most solemn kick.
He kicked so hard that his foot went straight through thedoor and his leg followed almost to the knee. No matterhow he pulled and tugged, he could not pull it out. Therehe stayed as if nailed to the door.
Poor Pinocchio! The rest of the night he had to spendwith one foot through the door and the other one in the air.
As dawn was breaking, the door finally opened. That bravelittle animal, the Snail, had taken exactly nine hours to gofrom the fourth floor to the street. How she must have raced!
"What are you doing with your foot through the door?"she asked the Marionette, laughing.
"It was a misfortune. Won't you try, pretty little Snail,to free me from this terrible torture?""My boy, we need a carpenter here and I have never been one.""Ask the Fairy to help me!""The Fairy is asleep and does not want to be disturbed.""But what do you want me to do, nailed to the door like this?""Enjoy yourself counting the ants which are passing by.""Bring me something to eat, at least, for I am faint with hunger.""Immediately!"In fact, after three hours and a half, Pinocchio saw herreturn with a silver tray on her head. On the tray therewas bread, roast chicken, fruit.
"Here is the breakfast the Fairy sends to you," said the Snail.
At the sight of all these good things, the Marionette felt much better.
What was his disgust, however, when on tasting the food,he found the bread to be made of chalk, the chickenof cardboard, and the brilliant fruit of colored alabaster!
He wanted to cry, he wanted to give himself up todespair, he wanted to throw away the tray and all thatwas on it. Instead, either from pain or weakness, he fellto the floor in a dead faint.
When he regained his senses, he found himself stretchedout on a sofa and the Fairy was seated near him.
"This time also I forgive you," said the Fairy to him.
"But be careful not to get into mischief again."Pinocchio promised to study and to behave himself.
And he kept his word for the remainder of the year. Atthe end of it, he passed first in all his examinations, andhis report was so good that the Fairy said to him happily:
"Tomorrow your wish will come true.""And what is it?""Tomorrow you will cease to be a Marionette and will become a real boy."Pinocchio was beside himself with joy. All his friendsand schoolmates must be invited to celebrate the greatevent! The Fairy promised to prepare two hundred cupsof coffee-and-milk and four hundred slices of toastbuttered on both sides.
The day promised to be a very gay and happy one, but--Unluckily, in a Marionette's life there's always a BUTwhich is apt to spoil everything.
Pinocchio, instead of becoming a boy, runs awayto the Land of Toys with his friend, Lamp-WickComing at last out of the surprise into which the Fairy'swords had thrown him, Pinocchio asked for permission togive out the invitations.
"Indeed, you may invite your friends to tomorrow's party.
Only remember to return home before dark. Do you understand?""I'll be back in one hour without fail," answered the Marionette.
"Take care, Pinocchio! Boys give promises very easily,but they as easily forget them.""But I am not like those others. When I give my word I keep it.""We shall see. In case you do disobey, you will be the oneto suffer, not anyone else.""Why?""Because boys who do not listen to their elders always come to grief.""I certainly have," said Pinocchio, "but from now on, I obey.""We shall see if you are telling the truth."Without adding another word, the Marionette bade the goodFairy good-by, and singing and dancing, he left the house.
In a little more than an hour, all his friends wereinvited. Some accepted quickly and gladly. Others had tobe coaxed, but when they heard that the toast was to bebuttered on both sides, they all ended by acceptingthe invitation with the words, "We'll come to please you."Now it must be known that, among all his friends,Pinocchio had one whom he loved most of all.
The boy's real name was Romeo, but everyone called himLamp-Wick, for he was long and thin and had a woebegonelook about him.
Lamp-Wick was the laziest boy in the school and thebiggest mischief-maker, but Pinocchio loved him dearly.
That day, he went straight to his friend's house to invite himto the party, but Lamp-Wick was not at home. He went a second time,and again a third, but still without success.
Where could he be? Pinocchio searched here and there and everywhere,and finally discovered him hiding near a farmer's wagon.
"What are you doing there?" asked Pinocchio, running up to him.
"I am waiting for midnight to strike to go--""Where?""Far, far away!""And I have gone to your house three times to look for you!""What did you want from me?""Haven't you heard the news? Don't you know what good luck is mine?""What is it?""Tomorrow I end my days as a Marionette and become a boy,like you and all my other friends.""May it bring you luck!""Shall I see you at my party tomorrow?""But I'm telling you that I go tonight.""At what time?""At midnight.""And where are you going?""To a real country--the best in the world--a wonderful place!""What is it called?""It is called the Land of Toys. Why don't you come, too?""I? Oh, no!""You are making a big mistake, Pinocchio. Believe me,if you don't come, you'll be sorry. Where can you finda place that will agree better with you and me? No schools,no teachers, no books! In that blessed place there is nosuch thing as study. Here, it is only on Saturdays thatwe have no school. In the Land of Toys, every day, exceptSunday, is a Saturday. Vacation begins on the firstof January and ends on the last day of December. Thatis the place for me! All countries should be like it!
How happy we should all be!""But how does one spend the day in the Land of Toys?""Days are spent in play and enjoyment from morn tillnight. At night one goes to bed, and next morning, thegood times begin all over again. What do you think of it?""H'm--!" said Pinocchio, nodding his wooden head, as if to say,"It's the kind of life which would agree with me perfectly.""Do you want to go with me, then? Yes or no? Youmust make up your mind.""No, no, and again no! I have promised my kind Fairyto become a good boy, and I want to keep my word. Justsee: The sun is setting and I must leave you and run.
Good-by and good luck to you!""Where are you going in such a hurry?""Home. My good Fairy wants me to return home before night.""Wait two minutes more.""It's too late!""Only two minutes.""And if the Fairy scolds me?""Let her scold. After she gets tired, she will stop," said Lamp-Wick.
"Are you going alone or with others?""Alone? There will be more than a hundred of us!""Will you walk?""At midnight the wagon passes here that is to take uswithin the boundaries of that marvelous country.""How I wish midnight would strike!""Why?""To see you all set out together.""Stay here a while longer and you will see us!""No, no. I want to return home.""Wait two more minutes.""I have waited too long as it is. The Fairy will be worried.""Poor Fairy! Is she afraid the bats will eat you up?""Listen, Lamp-Wick," said the Marionette, "are youreally sure that there are no schools in the Land of Toys?""Not even the shadow of one.""Not even one teacher?""Not one.""And one does not have to study?""Never, never, never!""What a great land!" said Pinocchio, feeling his mouth water.
"What a beautiful land! I have never been there,but I can well imagine it.""Why don't you come, too?""It is useless for you to tempt me! I told you I promisedmy good Fairy to behave myself, and I am going tokeep my word.""Good-by, then, and remember me to the grammarschools, to the high schools, and even to the colleges ifyou meet them on the way.""Good-by, Lamp-Wick. Have a pleasant trip, enjoyyourself, and remember your friends once in a while."With these words, the Marionette started on his wayhome. Turning once more to his friend, he asked him:
"But are you sure that, in that country, each week iscomposed of six Saturdays and one Sunday?""Very sure!""And that vacation begins on the first of January andends on the thirty-first of December?""Very, very sure!""What a great country!" repeated Pinocchio, puzzledas to what to do.
Then, in sudden determination, he said hurriedly:
"Good-by for the last time, and good luck.""Good-by.""How soon will you go?""Within two hours.""What a pity! If it were only one hour, I might wait for you.""And the Fairy?""By this time I'm late, and one hour more or less makesvery little difference.""Poor Pinocchio! And if the Fairy scolds you?""Oh, I'll let her scold. After she gets tired, she will stop."In the meantime, the night became darker and darker.
All at once in the distance a small light flickered. Aqueer sound could be heard, soft as a little bell, and faintand muffled like the buzz of a far-away mosquito.
"There it is!" cried Lamp-Wick, jumping to his feet.
"What?" whispered Pinocchio.
"The wagon which is coming to get me. For the lasttime, are you coming or not?""But is it really true that in that country boys neverhave to study?""Never, never, never!""What a wonderful, beautiful, marvelous country! Oh--h--h!!"
After five months of play, Pinocchio wakes up one fine morningand finds a great surprise awaiting himFinally the wagon arrived. It made no noise, for itswheels were bound with straw and rags.
It was drawn by twelve pair of donkeys, all of the samesize, but all of different color. Some were gray, otherswhite, and still others a mixture of brown and black.
Here and there were a few with large yellow and blue stripes.
The strangest thing of all was that those twenty-fourdonkeys, instead of being iron-shod like any other beastof burden, had on their feet laced shoes made of leather,just like the ones boys wear.
And the driver of the wagon?
Imagine to yourselves a little, fat man, much widerthan he was long, round and shiny as a ball of butter, witha face beaming like an apple, a little mouth that alwayssmiled, and a voice small and wheedling like that of a catbegging for food.
No sooner did any boy see him than he fell in love withhim, and nothing satisfied him but to be allowed to ridein his wagon to that lovely place called the Land of Toys.
In fact the wagon was so closely packed with boys ofall ages that it looked like a box of sardines. They wereuncomfortable, they were piled one on top of the other,they could hardly breathe; yet not one word of complaintwas heard. The thought that in a few hours they wouldreach a country where there were no schools, no books,no teachers, made these boys so happy that they feltneither hunger, nor thirst, nor sleep, nor discomfort.
No sooner had the wagon stopped than the little fatman turned to Lamp-Wick. With bows and smiles, heasked in a wheedling tone:
"Tell me, my fine boy, do you also want to come tomy wonderful country?""Indeed I do.""But I warn you, my little dear, there's no more roomin the wagon. It is full.""Never mind," answered Lamp-Wick. "If there's noroom inside, I can sit on the top of the coach."And with one leap, he perched himself there.
"What about you, my love?" asked the Little Man,turning politely to Pinocchio. "What are you going to do?
Will you come with us, or do you stay here?""I stay here," answered Pinocchio. "I want to returnhome, as I prefer to study and to succeed in life.""May that bring you luck!""Pinocchio!" Lamp-Wick called out. "Listen to me.
Come with us and we'll always be happy.""No, no, no!""Come with us and we'll always be happy," cried fourother voices from the wagon.
"Come with us and we'll always be happy," shouted theone hundred and more boys in the wagon, all together.
"And if I go with you, what will my good Fairy say?"asked the Marionette, who was beginning to waver andweaken in his good resolutions.
"Don't worry so much. Only think that we are goingto a land where we shall be allowed to make all the racketwe like from morning till night."Pinocchio did not answer, but sighed deeply once--twice--a third time. Finally, he said:
"Make room for me. I want to go, too!""The seats are all filled," answered the Little Man,"but to show you how much I think of you, take my placeas coachman.""And you?""I'll walk.""No, indeed. I could not permit such a thing. I muchprefer riding one of these donkeys," cried Pinocchio.
No sooner said than done. He approached the firstdonkey and tried to mount it. But the little animal turnedsuddenly and gave him such a terrible kick in the stomachthat Pinocchio was thrown to the ground and fell withhis legs in the air.
At this unlooked-for entertainment, the whole companyof runaways laughed uproariously.
The little fat man did not laugh. He went up to therebellious animal, and, still smiling, bent over him lovinglyand bit off half of his right ear.
In the meantime, Pinocchio lifted himself up from theground, and with one leap landed on the donkey's back.
The leap was so well taken that all the boys shouted,"Hurrah for Pinocchio!" and clapped their hands in hearty applause.
Suddenly the little donkey gave a kick with his twohind feet and, at this unexpected move, the poor Marionettefound himself once again sprawling right in themiddle of the road.
Again the boys shouted with laughter. But the LittleMan, instead of laughing, became so loving toward thelittle animal that, with another kiss, he bit off half ofhis left ear.
"You can mount now, my boy," he then said to Pinocchio.
"Have no fear. That donkey was worried about something,but I have spoken to him and now he seems quiet and reasonable."Pinocchio mounted and the wagon started on its way.
While the donkeys galloped along the stony road, theMarionette fancied he heard a very quiet voice whispering to him:
"Poor silly! You have done as you wished. But youare going to be a sorry boy before very long."Pinocchio, greatly frightened, looked about him to seewhence the words had come, but he saw no one. Thedonkeys galloped, the wagon rolled on smoothly, theboys slept (Lamp-Wick snored like a dormouse) and thelittle, fat driver sang sleepily between his teeth.
After a mile or so, Pinocchio again heard the samefaint voice whispering: "Remember, little simpleton!
Boys who stop studying and turn their backs upon booksand schools and teachers in order to give all their timeto nonsense and pleasure, sooner or later come to grief.
Oh, how well I know this! How well I can prove it to you!
A day will come when you will weep bitterly, even as Iam weeping now--but it will be too late!"At these whispered words, the Marionette grew moreand more frightened. He jumped to the ground, ran upto the donkey on whose back he had been riding, andtaking his nose in his hands, looked at him. Think howgreat was his surprise when he saw that the donkey wasweeping--weeping just like a boy!
"Hey, Mr. Driver!" cried the Marionette. "Do you know whatstrange thing is happening here! This donkey weeps.""Let him weep. When he gets married, he will have time to laugh.""Have you perhaps taught him to speak?""No, he learned to mumble a few words when he livedfor three years with a band of trained dogs.""Poor beast!""Come, come," said the Little Man, "do not lose time overa donkey that can weep. Mount quickly and let us go.
The night is cool and the road is long."Pinocchio obeyed without another word. The wagonstarted again. Toward dawn the next morning they finallyreached that much-longed-for country, the Land of Toys.
This great land was entirely different from any otherplace in the world. Its population, large though it was,was composed wholly of boys. The oldest were aboutfourteen years of age, the youngest, eight. In the street,there was such a racket, such shouting, such blowing oftrumpets, that it was deafening. Everywhere groups ofboys were gathered together. Some played at marbles, athopscotch, at ball. Others rode on bicycles or on woodenhorses. Some played at blindman's buff, others at tag.
Here a group played circus, there another sang and recited.
A few turned somersaults, others walked on their handswith their feet in the air. Generals in full uniform leadingregiments of cardboard soldiers passed by. Laughter,shrieks, howls, catcalls, hand-clapping followed thisparade. One boy made a noise like a hen, another likea rooster, and a third imitated a lion in his den. Alltogether they created such a pandemonium that it wouldhave been necessary for you to put cotton in your ears.
The squares were filled with small wooden theaters,overflowing with boys from morning till night, and on thewalls of the houses, written with charcoal, were wordslike these: HURRAH FOR THE LAND OF TOYS! DOWN WITHARITHMETIC! NO MORE SCHOOL!
As soon as they had set foot in that land, Pinocchio,Lamp-Wick, and all the other boys who had traveled withthem started out on a tour of investigation. Theywandered everywhere, they looked into every nook andcorner, house and theater. They became everybody's friend.
Who could be happier than they?
What with entertainments and parties, the hours, the days,the weeks passed like lightning.
"Oh, what a beautiful life this is!" said Pinocchio eachtime that, by chance, he met his friend Lamp-Wick.
"Was I right or wrong?" answered Lamp-Wick. "Andto think you did not want to come! To think that evenyesterday the idea came into your head to return hometo see your Fairy and to start studying again! If todayyou are free from pencils and books and school, you oweit to me, to my advice, to my care. Do you admit it? Onlytrue friends count, after all.""It's true, Lamp-Wick, it's true. If today I am a reallyhappy boy, it is all because of you. And to think that theteacher, when speaking of you, used to say, `Do not gowith that Lamp-Wick! He is a bad companion and someday he will lead you astray.'""Poor teacher!" answered the other, nodding his head.
"Indeed I know how much he disliked me and how heenjoyed speaking ill of me. But I am of a generous nature,and I gladly forgive him.""Great soul!" said Pinocchio, fondly embracing his friend.
Five months passed and the boys continued playing andenjoying themselves from morn till night, without everseeing a book, or a desk, or a school. But, my children,there came a morning when Pinocchio awoke and founda great surprise awaiting him, a surprise which made himfeel very unhappy, as you shall see.
Pinocchio's ears become like those of a Donkey.
In a little while he changes into a real Donkey and begins to brayEveryone, at one time or another, has found some surpriseawaiting him. Of the kind which Pinocchio had on thateventful morning of his life, there are but few.
What was it? I will tell you, my dear little readers.
On awakening, Pinocchio put his hand up to his head andthere he found--Guess!
He found that, during the night, his ears had grownat least ten full inches!
You must know that the Marionette, even from hisbirth, had very small ears, so small indeed that to thenaked eye they could hardly be seen. Fancy how he feltwhen he noticed that overnight those two dainty organshad become as long as shoe brushes!
He went in search of a mirror, but not finding any,he just filled a basin with water and looked at himself.
There he saw what he never could have wished to see.
His manly figure was adorned and enriched by a beautifulpair of donkey's ears.
I leave you to think of the terrible grief, the shame,the despair of the poor Marionette.
He began to cry, to scream, to knock his head againstthe wall, but the more he shrieked, the longer and themore hairy grew his ears.
At those piercing shrieks, a Dormouse came into theroom, a fat little Dormouse, who lived upstairs. SeeingPinocchio so grief-stricken, she asked him anxiously:
"What is the matter, dear little neighbor?""I am sick, my little Dormouse, very, very sick--andfrom an illness which frightens me! Do you understandhow to feel the pulse?""A little.""Feel mine then and tell me if I have a fever."The Dormouse took Pinocchio's wrist between her paws and,after a few minutes, looked up at him sorrowfully and said:
"My friend, I am sorry, but I must give you some very sad news.""What is it?""You have a very bad fever.""But what fever is it?""The donkey fever.""I don't know anything about that fever," answered the Marionette,beginning to understand even too well what was happening to him.
"Then I will tell you all about it," said the Dormouse.
"Know then that, within two or three hours, you will nolonger be a Marionette, nor a boy.""What shall I be?""Within two or three hours you will become a real donkey,just like the ones that pull the fruit carts to market.""Oh, what have I done? What have I done?" cried Pinocchio,grasping his two long ears in his hands and pulling and tuggingat them angrily, just as if they belonged to another.
"My dear boy," answered the Dormouse to cheer him up a bit,"why worry now? What is done cannot be undone, you know.
Fate has decreed that all lazy boys who come to hate booksand schools and teachers and spend all their days with toysand games must sooner or later turn into donkeys.""But is it really so?" asked the Marionette, sobbing bitterly.
"I am sorry to say it is. And tears now are useless.
You should have thought of all this before.""But the fault is not mine. Believe me, little Dormouse,the fault is all Lamp-Wick's.""And who is this Lamp-Wick?""A classmate of mine. I wanted to return home. I wantedto be obedient. I wanted to study and to succeedin school, but Lamp-Wick said to me, `Why do you wantto waste your time studying? Why do you want to goto school? Come with me to the Land of Toys.
There we'll never study again. There we can enjoyourselves and be happy from morn till night.'""And why did you follow the advice of that false friend?""Why? Because, my dear little Dormouse, I am a heedlessMarionette--heedless and heartless. Oh! If I had onlyhad a bit of heart, I should never have abandonedthat good Fairy, who loved me so well and who has beenso kind to me! And by this time, I should no longer be aMarionette. I should have become a real boy, like all thesefriends of mine! Oh, if I meet Lamp-Wick I am goingto tell him what I think of him--and more, too!"After this long speech, Pinocchio walked to the doorof the room. But when he reached it, remembering hisdonkey ears, he felt ashamed to show them to the publicand turned back. He took a large cotton bag from a shelf,put it on his head, and pulled it far down to his very nose.
Thus adorned, he went out. He looked for Lamp-Wick everywhere,along the streets, in the squares, inside the theatres,everywhere; but he was not to be found. He asked everyonewhom he met about him, but no one had seen him. In desperation,he returned home and knocked at the door.
"Who is it?" asked Lamp-Wick from within.
"It is I!" answered the Marionette.
"Wait a minute."After a full half hour the door opened. Another surpriseawaited Pinocchio! There in the room stood his friend,with a large cotton bag on his head, pulled far down to his very nose.
At the sight of that bag, Pinocchio felt slightly happierand thought to himself:
"My friend must be suffering from the same sicknessthat I am! I wonder if he, too, has donkey fever?"But pretending he had seen nothing, he asked with a smile:
"How are you, my dear Lamp-Wick?""Very well. Like a mouse in a Parmesan cheese.""Is that really true?""Why should I lie to you?""I beg your pardon, my friend, but why then are youwearing that cotton bag over your ears?""The doctor has ordered it because one of my knees hurts.
And you, dear Marionette, why are you wearing that cotton bagdown to your nose?""The doctor has ordered it because I have bruised my foot.""Oh, my poor Pinocchio!""Oh, my poor Lamp-Wick!"An embarrassingly long silence followed these words,during which time the two friends looked at each otherin a mocking way.
Finally the Marionette, in a voice sweet as honey andsoft as a flute, said to his companion:
"Tell me, Lamp-Wick, dear friend, have you eversuffered from an earache?""Never! And you?""Never! Still, since this morning my ear has been torturing me.""So has mine.""Yours, too? And which ear is it?""Both of them. And yours?""Both of them, too. I wonder if it could be the same sickness.""I'm afraid it is.""Will you do me a favor, Lamp-Wick?""Gladly! With my whole heart.""Will you let me see your ears?""Why not? But before I show you mine, I want to see yours,dear Pinocchio.""No. You must show yours first.""No, my dear! Yours first, then mine.""Well, then," said the Marionette, "let us make a contract.""Let's hear the contract!""Let us take off our caps together. All right?""All right.""Ready then!"Pinocchio began to count, "One! Two! Three!"At the word "Three!" the two boys pulled off theircaps and threw them high in air.
And then a scene took place which is hard to believe,but it is all too true. The Marionette and his friend,Lamp-Wick, when they saw each other both stricken by thesame misfortune, instead of feeling sorrowful and ashamed,began to poke fun at each other, and after much nonsense,they ended by bursting out into hearty laughter.
They laughed and laughed, and laughed again--laughedtill they ached--laughed till they cried.
But all of a sudden Lamp-Wick stopped laughing. He totteredand almost fell. Pale as a ghost, he turned to Pinocchio and said:
"Help, help, Pinocchio!""What is the matter?""Oh, help me! I can no longer stand up.""I can't either," cried Pinocchio; and his laughterturned to tears as he stumbled about helplessly.
They had hardly finished speaking, when both of them fellon all fours and began running and jumping around the room.
As they ran, their arms turned into legs, their faces lengthenedinto snouts and their backs became covered with long gray hairs.
This was humiliation enough, but the most horriblemoment was the one in which the two poor creatures felttheir tails appear. Overcome with shame and grief,they tried to cry and bemoan their fate.
But what is done can't be undone! Instead of moansand cries, they burst forth into loud donkey brays, whichsounded very much like, "Haw! Haw! Haw!"At that moment, a loud knocking was heard at the doorand a voice called to them:
"Open! I am the Little Man, the driver of the wagonwhich brought you here. Open, I say, or beware!"
Pinocchio, having become a Donkey,is bought by the owner of a Circus,who wants to teach him to do tricks.
The Donkey becomes lame and is soldto a man who wants to use his skinfor a drumheadVery sad and downcast were the two poor little fellowsas they stood and looked at each other. Outside the room,the Little Man grew more and more impatient, and finallygave the door such a violent kick that it flew open. Withhis usual sweet smile on his lips, he looked at Pinocchioand Lamp-Wick and said to them:
"Fine work, boys! You have brayed well, so well thatI recognized your voices immediately, and here I am."On hearing this, the two Donkeys bowed their heads in shame,dropped their ears, and put their tails between their legs.
At first, the Little Man petted and caressed them andsmoothed down their hairy coats. Then he took out acurrycomb and worked over them till they shone like glass.
Satisfied with the looks of the two little animals,he bridled them and took them to a market place far awayfrom the Land of Toys, in the hope of selling them at agood price.
In fact, he did not have to wait very long for an offer.
Lamp-Wick was bought by a farmer whose donkey had diedthe day before. Pinocchio went to the owner of a circus,who wanted to teach him to do tricks for his audiences.
And now do you understand what the Little Man'sprofession was? This horrid little being, whose face shonewith kindness, went about the world looking for boys.
Lazy boys, boys who hated books, boys who wanted torun away from home, boys who were tired of school--allthese were his joy and his fortune. He took them withhim to the Land of Toys and let them enjoy themselvesto their heart's content. When, after months of all playand no work, they became little donkeys, he sold them onthe market place. In a few years, he had become a millionaire.
What happened to Lamp-Wick? My dear children, I do not know.
Pinocchio, I can tell you, met with great hardshipseven from the first day.
After putting him in a stable, his new master filled hismanger with straw, but Pinocchio, after tasting a mouthful,spat it out.
Then the man filled the manger with hay.
But Pinocchio did not like that any better.
"Ah, you don't like hay either?" he cried angrily.
"Wait, my pretty Donkey, I'll teach you not to be so particular."Without more ado, he took a whip and gave the Donkeya hearty blow across the legs.
Pinocchio screamed with pain and as he screamed he brayed:
"Haw! Haw! Haw! I can't digest straw!""Then eat the hay!" answered his master, who understoodthe Donkey perfectly.
"Haw! Haw! Haw! Hay gives me a headache!""Do you pretend, by any chance, that I should feed you duckor chicken?" asked the man again, and, angrier than ever,he gave poor Pinocchio another lashing.
At that second beating, Pinocchio became very quiet and said no more.
After that, the door of the stable was closed and hewas left alone. It was many hours since he had eatenanything and he started to yawn from hunger. As heyawned, he opened a mouth as big as an oven.
Finally, not finding anything else in the manger,he tasted the hay. After tasting it, he chewed it well,closed his eyes, and swallowed it.
"This hay is not bad," he said to himself. "But howmuch happier I should be if I had studied! Just now,instead of hay, I should be eating some good breadand butter. Patience!"Next morning, when he awoke, Pinocchio looked inthe manger for more hay, but it was all gone. He hadeaten it all during the night.
He tried the straw, but, as he chewed away at it, henoticed to his great disappointment that it tasted neitherlike rice nor like macaroni.
"Patience!" he repeated as he chewed. "If only mymisfortune might serve as a lesson to disobedient boyswho refuse to study! Patience! Have patience!""Patience indeed!" shouted his master just then, as hecame into the stable. "Do you think, perhaps, my littleDonkey, that I have brought you here only to give youfood and drink? Oh, no! You are to help me earn somefine gold pieces, do you hear? Come along, now. I amgoing to teach you to jump and bow, to dance a waltz anda polka, and even to stand on your head."Poor Pinocchio, whether he liked it or not, had to learnall these wonderful things; but it took him three longmonths and cost him many, many lashings before he waspronounced perfect.
The day came at last when Pinocchio's master wasable to announce an extraordinary performance. Theannouncements, posted all around the town, and writtenin large letters, read thus:
GREAT SPECTACLE TONIGHTLEAPS AND EXERCISES BY THE GREAT ARTISTSAND THE FAMOUS HORSESof theCOMPANYFirst Public Appearanceof theFAMOUS DONKEYcalledPINOCCHIOTHE STAR OF THE DANCEThe Theater will be as Light as DayThat night, as you can well imagine, the theater was filledto overflowing one hour before the show was scheduled to start.
Not an orchestra chair could be had, not a balcony seat,nor a gallery seat; not even for their weight in gold.
The place swarmed with boys and girls of all ages andsizes, wriggling and dancing about in a fever of impatienceto see the famous Donkey dance.
When the first part of the performance was over, theOwner and Manager of the circus, in a black coat, whiteknee breeches, and patent leather boots, presented himselfto the public and in a loud, pompous voice made thefollowing announcement:
"Most honored friends, Gentlemen and Ladies!
"Your humble servant, the Manager of this theater,presents himself before you tonight in order to introduceto you the greatest, the most famous Donkey in the world,a Donkey that has had the great honor in his short life ofperforming before the kings and queens and emperors ofall the great courts of Europe.
"We thank you for your attention!"This speech was greeted by much laughter andapplause. And the applause grew to a roar when Pinocchio,the famous Donkey, appeared in the circus ring. He washandsomely arrayed. A new bridle of shining leather withbuckles of polished brass was on his back; two whitecamellias were tied to his ears; ribbons and tassels of redsilk adorned his mane, which was divided into manycurls. A great sash of gold and silver was fastened aroundhis waist and his tail was decorated with ribbons of manybrilliant colors. He was a handsome Donkey indeed!
The Manager, when introducing him to the public,added these words:
"Most honored audience! I shall not take your timetonight to tell you of the great difficulties which I haveencountered while trying to tame this animal, since Ifound him in the wilds of Africa. Observe, I beg of you,the savage look of his eye. All the means used bycenturies of civilization in subduing wild beasts failed in thiscase. I had finally to resort to the gentle language of thewhip in order to bring him to my will. With all mykindness, however, I never succeeded in gaining my Donkey'slove. He is still today as savage as the day I foundhim. He still fears and hates me. But I have found inhim one great redeeming feature. Do you see this littlebump on his forehead? It is this bump which gives himhis great talent of dancing and using his feet as nimblyas a human being. Admire him, O signori, and enjoyyourselves. I let you, now, be the judges of my success as ateacher of animals. Before I leave you, I wish to statethat there will be another performance tomorrow night.
If the weather threatens rain, the great spectacle will takeplace at eleven o'clock in the morning."The Manager bowed and then turned to Pinocchio and said:
"Ready, Pinocchio! Before starting your performance,salute your audience!"Pinocchio obediently bent his two knees to the groundand remained kneeling until the Manager, with the crackof the whip, cried sharply: "Walk!"The Donkey lifted himself on his four feet and walkedaround the ring. A few minutes passed and again thevoice of the Manager called:
"Quickstep!" and Pinocchio obediently changed his step.
"Gallop!" and Pinocchio galloped.
"Full speed!" and Pinocchio ran as fast as he could.
As he ran the master raised his arm and a pistol shot rangin the air.
At the shot, the little Donkey fell to the ground as ifhe were really dead.
A shower of applause greeted the Donkey as he arose to his feet.
Cries and shouts and handclappings were heard on all sides.
At all that noise, Pinocchio lifted his head and raisedhis eyes. There, in front of him, in a box sat a beautifulwoman. Around her neck she wore a long gold chain,from which hung a large medallion. On the medallionwas painted the picture of a Marionette.
"That picture is of me! That beautiful lady is my Fairy!"said Pinocchio to himself, recognizing her. He felt so happythat he tried his best to cry out:
"Oh, my Fairy! My own Fairy!"But instead of words, a loud braying was heard in the theater,so loud and so long that all the spectators--men, women,and children, but especially the children--burst out laughing.
Then, in order to teach the Donkey that it was notgood manners to bray before the public, the Managerhit him on the nose with the handle of the whip.
The poor little Donkey stuck out a long tongue and lickedhis nose for a long time in an effort to take away the pain.
And what was his grief when on looking up toward the boxes,he saw that the Fairy had disappeared!
He felt himself fainting, his eyes filled with tears,and he wept bitterly. No one knew it, however,least of all the Manager, who, cracking his whip, cried out:
"Bravo, Pinocchio! Now show us how gracefully you canjump through the rings."Pinocchio tried two or three times, but each time hecame near the ring, he found it more to his taste to gounder it. The fourth time, at a look from his master heleaped through it, but as he did so his hind legs caughtin the ring and he fell to the floor in a heap.
When he got up, he was lame and could hardly limp asfar as the stable.
"Pinocchio! We want Pinocchio! We want the little Donkey!"cried the boys from the orchestra, saddened by the accident.
No one saw Pinocchio again that evening.
The next morning the veterinary--that is, the animal doctor--declared that he would be lame for the rest of his life.
"What do I want with a lame donkey?" said the Managerto the stableboy. "Take him to the market and sell him."When they reached the square, a buyer was soon found.
"How much do you ask for that little lame Donkey?" he asked.
"Four dollars.""I'll give you four cents. Don't think I'm buying himfor work. I want only his skin. It looks very tough andI can use it to make myself a drumhead. I belong to amusical band in my village and I need a drum."I leave it to you, my dear children, to picture toyourself the great pleasure with which Pinocchio heard thathe was to become a drumhead!
As soon as the buyer had paid the four cents, theDonkey changed hands. His new owner took him to a highcliff overlooking the sea, put a stone around his neck,tied a rope to one of his hind feet, gave him a push, andthrew him into the water.
Pinocchio sank immediately. And his new master saton the cliff waiting for him to drown, so as to skin himand make himself a drumhead.
Pinocchio is thrown into the sea, eaten by fishes,and becomes a Marionette once more. As he swims to land,he is swallowed by the Terrible SharkDown into the sea, deeper and deeper, sank Pinocchio, andfinally, after fifty minutes of waiting, the man on the cliffsaid to himself:
"By this time my poor little lame Donkey must bedrowned. Up with him and then I can get to work on mybeautiful drum."He pulled the rope which he had tied to Pinocchio'sleg--pulled and pulled and pulled and, at last, he sawappear on the surface of the water--Can you guess what?
Instead of a dead donkey, he saw a very much aliveMarionette, wriggling and squirming like an eel.
Seeing that wooden Marionette, the poor man thoughthe was dreaming and sat there with his mouth wide openand his eyes popping out of his head.
Gathering his wits together, he said:
"And the Donkey I threw into the sea?""I am that Donkey," answered the Marionette laughing.
"You?""I.""Ah, you little cheat! Are you poking fun at me?""Poking fun at you? Not at all, dear Master.
I am talking seriously.""But, then, how is it that you, who a few minutes agowere a donkey, are now standing before me a wooden Marionette?""It may be the effect of salt water. The sea is fond ofplaying these tricks.""Be careful, Marionette, be careful! Don't laugh at me!
Woe be to you, if I lose my patience!""Well, then, my Master, do you want to know my whole story?
Untie my leg and I can tell it to you better."The old fellow, curious to know the true story of theMarionette's life, immediately untied the rope which held his foot.
Pinocchio, feeling free as a bird of the air, began his tale:
"Know, then, that, once upon a time, I was a woodenMarionette, just as I am today. One day I was about tobecome a boy, a real boy, but on account of my lazinessand my hatred of books, and because I listened to badcompanions, I ran away from home. One beautiful morning,I awoke to find myself changed into a donkey--longears, gray coat, even a tail! What a shameful day for me!
I hope you will never experience one like it, dear Master.
I was taken to the fair and sold to a Circus Owner, whotried to make me dance and jump through the rings. Onenight, during a performance, I had a bad fall and becamelame. Not knowing what to do with a lame donkey, the CircusOwner sent me to the market place and you bought me.""Indeed I did! And I paid four cents for you.
Now who will return my money to me?""But why did you buy me? You bought me to do meharm--to kill me--to make a drumhead out of me!""Indeed I did! And now where shall I find another skin?""Never mind, dear Master. There are so many donkeysin this world.""Tell me, impudent little rogue, does your story end here?""One more word," answered the Marionette, "and I am through.
After buying me, you brought me here to kill me. But feelingsorry for me, you tied a stone to my neck and threw meto the bottom of the sea. That was very good and kindof you to want me to suffer as little as possibleand I shall remember you always. And now my Fairywill take care of me, even if you--""Your Fairy? Who is she?""She is my mother, and, like all other mothers wholove their children, she never loses sight of me, eventhough I do not deserve it. And today this good Fairyof mine, as soon as she saw me in danger of drowning,sent a thousand fishes to the spot where I lay. Theythought I was really a dead donkey and began to eat me.
What great bites they took! One ate my ears, another mynose, a third my neck and my mane. Some went at mylegs and some at my back, and among the others, therewas one tiny fish so gentle and polite that he did methe great favor of eating even my tail.""From now on," said the man, horrified, "I swear I shallnever again taste fish. How I should enjoy opening a mulletor a whitefish just to find there the tail of a dead donkey!""I think as you do," answered the Marionette,laughing. "Still, you must know that when the fish finishedeating my donkey coat, which covered me from head tofoot, they naturally came to the bones--or rather, in mycase, to the wood, for as you know, I am made of veryhard wood. After the first few bites, those greedy fishfound out that the wood was not good for their teeth, and,afraid of indigestion, they turned and ran here and therewithout saying good-by or even as much as thank you tome. Here, dear Master, you have my story. You knownow why you found a Marionette and not a dead donkeywhen you pulled me out of the water.""I laugh at your story!" cried the man angrily. "I knowthat I spent four cents to get you and I want my money back.
Do you know what I can do; I am going to take you to the marketonce more and sell you as dry firewood.""Very well, sell me. I am satisfied," said Pinocchio.
But as he spoke, he gave a quick leap and dived into thesea. Swimming away as fast as he could, he cried out, laughing:
"Good-by, Master. If you ever need a skin for your drum, remember me."He swam on and on. After a while, he turned around againand called louder than before:
"Good-by, Master. If you ever need a piece of good dry firewood, remember me."In a few seconds he had gone so far he could hardly be seen.
All that could be seen of him was a very small black dot movingswiftly on the blue surface of the water, a little black dotwhich now and then lifted a leg or an arm in the air.
One would have thought that Pinocchio had turned intoa porpoise playing in the sun.
After swimming for a long time, Pinocchio saw a largerock in the middle of the sea, a rock as white as marble.
High on the rock stood a little Goat bleating and callingand beckoning to the Marionette to come to her.
There was something very strange about that littleGoat. Her coat was not white or black or brown as thatof any other goat, but azure, a deep brilliant color thatreminded one of the hair of the lovely maiden.
Pinocchio's heart beat fast, and then faster and faster.
He redoubled his efforts and swam as hard as he couldtoward the white rock. He was almost halfway over,when suddenly a horrible sea monster stuck its head outof the water, an enormous head with a huge mouth, wideopen, showing three rows of gleaming teeth, the meresight of which would have filled you with fear.
Do you know what it was?
That sea monster was no other than the enormous Shark,which has often been mentioned in this story and which,on account of its cruelty, had been nicknamed"The Attila of the Sea" by both fish and fishermen.
Poor Pinocchio! The sight of that monster frightenedhim almost to death! He tried to swim away from him,to change his path, to escape, but that immense mouthkept coming nearer and nearer.
"Hasten, Pinocchio, I beg you!" bleated the little Goat on the high rock.
And Pinocchio swam desperately with his arms, his body, his legs, his feet.
"Quick, Pinocchio, the monster is coming nearer!"Pinocchio swam faster and faster, and harder and harder.
"Faster, Pinocchio! The monster will get you! There he is!
There he is! Quick, quick, or you are lost!"Pinocchio went through the water like a shot--swifter and swifter.
He came close to the rock. The Goat leaned over and gave him oneof her hoofs to help him up out of the water.
Alas! It was too late. The monster overtook him andthe Marionette found himself in between the rows ofgleaming white teeth. Only for a moment, however,for the Shark took a deep breath and, as he breathed,he drank in the Marionette as easily as he would havesucked an egg. Then he swallowed him so fast that Pinocchio,falling down into the body of the fish, lay stunned for a half hour.
When he recovered his senses the Marionette could notremember where he was. Around him all was darkness,a darkness so deep and so black that for a moment hethought he had put his head into an inkwell. He listenedfor a few moments and heard nothing. Once in a while acold wind blew on his face. At first he could not understandwhere that wind was coming from, but after a whilehe understood that it came from the lungs of the monster.
I forgot to tell you that the Shark was suffering from asthma,so that whenever he breathed a storm seemed to blow.
Pinocchio at first tried to be brave, but as soon as hebecame convinced that he was really and truly in theShark's stomach, he burst into sobs and tears. "Help!
Help!" he cried. "Oh, poor me! Won't someone cometo save me?""Who is there to help you, unhappy boy?" said a roughvoice, like a guitar out of tune.
"Who is talking?" asked Pinocchio, frozen with terror.
"It is I, a poor Tunny swallowed by the Shark at thesame time as you. And what kind of a fish are you?""I have nothing to do with fishes. I am a Marionette.""If you are not a fish, why did you let this monster swallow you?""I didn't let him. He chased me and swallowed mewithout even a `by your leave'! And now what are weto do here in the dark?""Wait until the Shark has digested us both, I suppose.""But I don't want to be digested," shouted Pinocchio,starting to sob.
"Neither do I," said the Tunny, "but I am wise enoughto think that if one is born a fish, it is more dignified to dieunder the water than in the frying pan.""What nonsense!" cried Pinocchio.
"Mine is an opinion," replied the Tunny, "and opinionsshould be respected.""But I want to get out of this place. I want to escape.""Go, if you can!""Is this Shark that has swallowed us very long?" askedthe Marionette.
"His body, not counting the tail, is almost a mile long."While talking in the darkness, Pinocchio thought hesaw a faint light in the distance.
"What can that be?" he said to the Tunny.
"Some other poor fish, waiting as patiently as we tobe digested by the Shark.""I want to see him. He may be an old fish and mayknow some way of escape.""I wish you all good luck, dear Marionette.""Good-by, Tunny.""Good-by, Marionette, and good luck.""When shall I see you again?""Who knows? It is better not to think about it."
In the Shark's body Pinocchio finds whom?
Read this chapter, my children, and you will knowPinocchio, as soon as he had said good-by to his goodfriend, the Tunny, tottered away in the darkness andbegan to walk as well as he could toward the faint lightwhich glowed in the distance.
As he walked his feet splashed in a pool of greasy andslippery water, which had such a heavy smell of fish friedin oil that Pinocchio thought it was Lent.
The farther on he went, the brighter and clearer grewthe tiny light. On and on he walked till finally he found--I give you a thousand guesses, my dear children! Hefound a little table set for dinner and lighted by a candlestuck in a glass bottle; and near the table sat a little oldman, white as the snow, eating live fish. They wriggledso that, now and again, one of them slipped out of the oldman's mouth and escaped into the darkness under the table.
At this sight, the poor Marionette was filled with suchgreat and sudden happiness that he almost dropped in afaint. He wanted to laugh, he wanted to cry, he wantedto say a thousand and one things, but all he could do wasto stand still, stuttering and stammering brokenly. Atlast, with a great effort, he was able to let out a scream ofjoy and, opening wide his arms he threw them around theold man's neck.
"Oh, Father, dear Father! Have I found you at last?
Now I shall never, never leave you again!""Are my eyes really telling me the truth?" answeredthe old man, rubbing his eyes. "Are you really my owndear Pinocchio?""Yes, yes, yes! It is I! Look at me! And you haveforgiven me, haven't you? Oh, my dear Father, howgood you are! And to think that I--Oh, but if youonly knew how many misfortunes have fallen on my headand how many troubles I have had! Just think that onthe day you sold your old coat to buy me my A-B-Cbook so that I could go to school, I ran away to theMarionette Theater and the proprietor caught me andwanted to burn me to cook his roast lamb! He was theone who gave me the five gold pieces for you, but I metthe Fox and the Cat, who took me to the Inn of the RedLobster. There they ate like wolves and I left the Innalone and I met the Assassins in the wood. I ran and theyran after me, always after me, till they hanged me to thebranch of a giant oak tree. Then the Fairy of the AzureHair sent the coach to rescue me and the doctors, afterlooking at me, said, `If he is not dead, then he is surelyalive,' and then I told a lie and my nose began to grow.
It grew and it grew, till I couldn't get it through thedoor of the room. And then I went with the Fox and theCat to the Field of Wonders to bury the gold pieces. TheParrot laughed at me and, instead of two thousand goldpieces, I found none. When the Judge heard I had beenrobbed, he sent me to jail to make the thieves happy; andwhen I came away I saw a fine bunch of grapes hanging ona vine. The trap caught me and the Farmer put a collar onme and made me a watchdog. He found out I was innocentwhen I caught the Weasels and he let me go. The Serpentwith the tail that smoked started to laugh and a vein in hischest broke and so I went back to the Fairy's house. Shewas dead, and the Pigeon, seeing me crying, said to me, `Ihave seen your father building a boat to look for you inAmerica,' and I said to him, `Oh, if I only had wings!' andhe said to me, `Do you want to go to your father?' and Isaid, `Perhaps, but how?' and he said, `Get on my back. I'lltake you there.' We flew all night long, and next morningthe fishermen were looking toward the sea, crying, `Thereis a poor little man drowning,' and I knew it was you,because my heart told me so and I waved to you from the shore--""I knew you also," put in Geppetto, "and I wanted togo to you; but how could I? The sea was rough and thewhitecaps overturned the boat. Then a Terrible Sharkcame up out of the sea and, as soon as he saw me in thewater, swam quickly toward me, put out his tongue, andswallowed me as easily as if I had been a chocolate peppermint.""And how long have you been shut away in here?""From that day to this, two long weary years--twoyears, my Pinocchio, which have been like two centuries.""And how have you lived? Where did you find thecandle? And the matches with which to light it--wheredid you get them?""You must know that, in the storm which swamped myboat, a large ship also suffered the same fate. The sailorswere all saved, but the ship went right to the bottom ofthe sea, and the same Terrible Shark that swallowed me,swallowed most of it.""What! Swallowed a ship?" asked Pinocchio in astonishment.
"At one gulp. The only thing he spat out was the main-mast, for it stuck in his teeth. To my own good luck, thatship was loaded with meat, preserved foods, crackers,bread, bottles of wine, raisins, cheese, coffee, sugar, waxcandles, and boxes of matches. With all these blessings, Ihave been able to live happily on for two whole years, butnow I am at the very last crumbs. Today there is nothingleft in the cupboard, and this candle you see here is thelast one I have.""And then?""And then, my dear, we'll find ourselves in darkness.""Then, my dear Father," said Pinocchio, "there is notime to lose. We must try to escape.""Escape! How?""We can run out of the Shark's mouth and dive into the sea.""You speak well, but I cannot swim, my dear Pinocchio.""Why should that matter? You can climb on my shouldersand I, who am a fine swimmer, will carry you safelyto the shore.""Dreams, my boy!" answered Geppetto, shaking hishead and smiling sadly. "Do you think it possible for aMarionette, a yard high, to have the strength to carry meon his shoulders and swim?""Try it and see! And in any case, if it is written that wemust die, we shall at least die together."Not adding another word, Pinocchio took the candle in his handand going ahead to light the way, he said to his father:
"Follow me and have no fear."They walked a long distance through the stomach andthe whole body of the Shark. When they reached thethroat of the monster, they stopped for a while to wait forthe right moment in which to make their escape.
I want you to know that the Shark, being very old andsuffering from asthma and heart trouble, was obliged tosleep with his mouth open. Because of this, Pinocchio wasable to catch a glimpse of the sky filled with stars, as helooked up through the open jaws of his new home.
"The time has come for us to escape," he whispered,turning to his father. "The Shark is fast asleep. The seais calm and the night is as bright as day. Follow me closely,dear Father, and we shall soon be saved."No sooner said than done. They climbed up the throatof the monster till they came to that immense open mouth.
There they had to walk on tiptoes, for if they tickled theShark's long tongue he might awaken--and where wouldthey be then? The tongue was so wide and so long thatit looked like a country road. The two fugitives were justabout to dive into the sea when the Shark sneezed verysuddenly and, as he sneezed, he gave Pinocchio andGeppetto such a jolt that they found themselves thrown ontheir backs and dashed once more and very unceremoniouslyinto the stomach of the monster.
To make matters worse, the candle went out and fatherand son were left in the dark.
"And now?" asked Pinocchio with a serious face.
"Now we are lost.""Why lost? Give me your hand, dear Father, and becareful not to slip!""Where will you take me?""We must try again. Come with me and don't be afraid."With these words Pinocchio took his father by the handand, always walking on tiptoes, they climbed up the monster'sthroat for a second time. They then crossed thewhole tongue and jumped over three rows of teeth. Butbefore they took the last great leap, the Marionette saidto his father:
"Climb on my back and hold on tightly to my neck.
I'll take care of everything else."As soon as Geppetto was comfortably seated on hisshoulders, Pinocchio, very sure of what he was doing,dived into the water and started to swim. The sea was likeoil, the moon shone in all splendor, and the Shark continuedto sleep so soundly that not even a cannon shot wouldhave awakened him.
Pinocchio finally ceases to bea Marionette and becomes a boy"My dear Father, we are saved!" cried the Marionette.
"All we have to do now is to get to the shore, and that is easy."Without another word, he swam swiftly away in aneffort to reach land as soon as possible. All at once henoticed that Geppetto was shivering and shaking as if witha high fever.
Was he shivering from fear or from cold? Who knows?
Perhaps a little of both. But Pinocchio, thinking his fatherwas frightened, tried to comfort him by saying:
"Courage, Father! In a few moments we shall be safe on land.""But where is that blessed shore?" asked the little old man,more and more worried as he tried to pierce the faraway shadows.
"Here I am searching on all sides and I see nothing but sea and sky.""I see the shore," said the Marionette. "Remember, Father,that I am like a cat. I see better at night than by day."Poor Pinocchio pretended to be peaceful and contented,but he was far from that. He was beginning to feeldiscouraged, his strength was leaving him, and his breathingwas becoming more and more labored. He felt he couldnot go on much longer, and the shore was still far away.
He swam a few more strokes. Then he turned to Geppettoand cried out weakly:
"Help me, Father! Help, for I am dying!"Father and son were really about to drown when theyheard a voice like a guitar out of tune call from the sea:
"What is the trouble?""It is I and my poor father.""I know the voice. You are Pinocchio.""Exactly. And you?""I am the Tunny, your companion in the Shark's stomach.""And how did you escape?""I imitated your example. You are the one who showedme the way and after you went, I followed.""Tunny, you arrived at the right moment! I implore you,for the love you bear your children, the little Tunnies,to help us, or we are lost!""With great pleasure indeed. Hang onto my tail, bothof you, and let me lead you. In a twinkling you will besafe on land."Geppetto and Pinocchio, as you can easily imagine, did notrefuse the invitation; indeed, instead of hanging ontothe tail, they thought it better to climb on the Tunny's back.
"Are we too heavy?" asked Pinocchio.
"Heavy? Not in the least. You are as light as sea-shells,"answered the Tunny, who was as large as a two-year-old horse.
As soon as they reached the shore, Pinocchio was thefirst to jump to the ground to help his old father.
Then he turned to the fish and said to him:
"Dear friend, you have saved my father, and I have notenough words with which to thank you! Allow me toembrace you as a sign of my eternal gratitude."The Tunny stuck his nose out of the water and Pinocchioknelt on the sand and kissed him most affectionatelyon his cheek. At this warm greeting, the poor Tunny,who was not used to such tenderness, wept like a child.
He felt so embarrassed and ashamed that he turned quickly,plunged into the sea, and disappeared.
In the meantime day had dawned.
Pinocchio offered his arm to Geppetto, who was soweak he could hardly stand, and said to him:
"Lean on my arm, dear Father, and let us go. We willwalk very, very slowly, and if we feel tired we can restby the wayside.""And where are we going?" asked Geppetto.
"To look for a house or a hut, where they will be kind enoughto give us a bite of bread and a bit of straw to sleep on."They had not taken a hundred steps when they saw tworough-looking individuals sitting on a stone begging for alms.
It was the Fox and the Cat, but one could hardly recognizethem, they looked so miserable. The Cat, after pretendingto be blind for so many years had really lost the sightof both eyes. And the Fox, old, thin, and almost hairless,had even lost his tail. That sly thief had fallen intodeepest poverty, and one day he had been forced to sell hisbeautiful tail for a bite to eat.
"Oh, Pinocchio," he cried in a tearful voice. "Give ussome alms, we beg of you! We are old, tired, and sick.""Sick!" repeated the Cat.
"Addio, false friends!" answered the Marionette.
"You cheated me once, but you will never catch me again.""Believe us! Today we are truly poor and starving.""Starving!" repeated the Cat.
"If you are poor; you deserve it! Remember the oldproverb which says: `Stolen money never bears fruit.'
Addio, false friends.""Have mercy on us!""On us.""Addio, false friends. Remember the old proverb which says:
`Bad wheat always makes poor bread!'""Do not abandon us.""Abandon us," repeated the Cat.
"Addio, false friends. Remember the old proverb:
`Whoever steals his neighbor's shirt, usually dies withouthis own.'"Waving good-by to them, Pinocchio and Geppettocalmly went on their way. After a few more steps,they saw, at the end of a long road near a clump of trees,a tiny cottage built of straw.
"Someone must live in that little hut," said Pinocchio.
"Let us see for ourselves."They went and knocked at the door.
"Who is it?" said a little voice from within.
"A poor father and a poorer son, without food and withno roof to cover them," answered the Marionette.
"Turn the key and the door will open," said the samelittle voice.
Pinocchio turned the key and the door opened. As soonas they went in, they looked here and there and everywherebut saw no one.
"Oh--ho, where is the owner of the hut?" cried Pinocchio,very much surprised.
"Here I am, up here!"Father and son looked up to the ceiling, and there on abeam sat the Talking Cricket.
"Oh, my dear Cricket," said Pinocchio, bowing politely.
"Oh, now you call me your dear Cricket, but do youremember when you threw your hammer at me to kill me?""You are right, dear Cricket. Throw a hammer at me now.
I deserve it! But spare my poor old father.""I am going to spare both the father and the son. I haveonly wanted to remind you of the trick you long agoplayed upon me, to teach you that in this world of ourswe must be kind and courteous to others, if we want tofind kindness and courtesy in our own days of trouble.""You are right, little Cricket, you are more than right,and I shall remember the lesson you have taught me. Butwill you tell how you succeeded in buying this prettylittle cottage?""This cottage was given to me yesterday by a little Goatwith blue hair.""And where did the Goat go?" asked Pinocchio.
"I don't know.""And when will she come back?""She will never come back. Yesterday she went awaybleating sadly, and it seemed to me she said: `Poor Pinocchio,I shall never see him again. . .the Shark must haveeaten him by this time.'""Were those her real words? Then it was she--it was--my dear little Fairy," cried out Pinocchio, sobbing bitterly.
After he had cried a long time, he wiped his eyes andthen he made a bed of straw for old Geppetto. He laid himon it and said to the Talking Cricket:
"Tell me, little Cricket, where shall I find a glass of milkfor my poor Father?""Three fields away from here lives Farmer John. He hassome cows. Go there and he will give you what you want."Pinocchio ran all the way to Farmer John's house. TheFarmer said to him:
"How much milk do you want?""I want a full glass.""A full glass costs a penny. First give me the penny.""I have no penny," answered Pinocchio, sad and ashamed.
"Very bad, my Marionette," answered the Farmer,"very bad. If you have no penny, I have no milk.""Too bad," said Pinocchio and started to go.
"Wait a moment," said Farmer John. "Perhaps we can come to terms.
Do you know how to draw water from a well?""I can try.""Then go to that well you see yonder and draw onehundred bucketfuls of water.""Very well.""After you have finished, I shall give you a glass ofwarm sweet milk.""I am satisfied."Farmer John took the Marionette to the well and showedhim how to draw the water. Pinocchio set to work as wellas he knew how, but long before he had pulled up the onehundred buckets, he was tired out and dripping withperspiration. He had never worked so hard in his life.
"Until today," said the Farmer, "my donkey has drawnthe water for me, but now that poor animal is dying.""Will you take me to see him?" said Pinocchio.
"Gladly."As soon as Pinocchio went into the stable, he spied alittle Donkey lying on a bed of straw in the corner of thestable. He was worn out from hunger and too much work.
After looking at him a long time, he said to himself:
"I know that Donkey! I have seen him before."And bending low over him, he asked: "Who are you?"At this question, the Donkey opened weary, dying eyesand answered in the same tongue: "I am Lamp-Wick."Then he closed his eyes and died.
"Oh, my poor Lamp-Wick," said Pinocchio in a faint voice,as he wiped his eyes with some straw he had picked up from the ground.
"Do you feel so sorry for a little donkey that has cost you nothing?"said the Farmer. "What should I do--I, who have paid my good money for him?""But, you see, he was my friend.""Your friend?""A classmate of mine.""What," shouted Farmer John, bursting out laughing.
"What! You had donkeys in your school? How you musthave studied!"The Marionette, ashamed and hurt by those words, did not answer,but taking his glass of milk returned to his father.
From that day on, for more than five months, Pinocchiogot up every morning just as dawn was breaking and wentto the farm to draw water. And every day he was givena glass of warm milk for his poor old father, who grewstronger and better day by day. But he was not satisfiedwith this. He learned to make baskets of reeds and soldthem. With the money he received, he and his father wereable to keep from starving.
Among other things, he built a rolling chair, strong andcomfortable, to take his old father out for an airing onbright, sunny days.
In the evening the Marionette studied by lamplight.
With some of the money he had earned, he bought himselfa secondhand volume that had a few pages missing, andwith that he learned to read in a very short time. As far aswriting was concerned, he used a long stick at one end ofwhich he had whittled a long, fine point. Ink he had none,so he used the juice of blackberries or cherries.
Little by little his diligence was rewarded. Hesucceeded, not only in his studies, but also in his work, and aday came when he put enough money together to keep hisold father comfortable and happy. Besides this, he wasable to save the great amount of fifty pennies. With it hewanted to buy himself a new suit.
One day he said to his father:
"I am going to the market place to buy myself a coat, acap, and a pair of shoes. When I come back I'll be sodressed up, you will think I am a rich man."He ran out of the house and up the road to the village,laughing and singing. Suddenly he heard his name called,and looking around to see whence the voice came, henoticed a large snail crawling out of some bushes.
"Don't you recognize me?" said the Snail.
"Yes and no.""Do you remember the Snail that lived with the Fairywith Azure Hair? Do you not remember how she openedthe door for you one night and gave you something to eat?""I remember everything," cried Pinocchio. "Answerme quickly, pretty Snail, where have you left my Fairy?
What is she doing? Has she forgiven me? Does sheremember me? Does she still love me? Is she very far awayfrom here? May I see her?"At all these questions, tumbling out one after another,the Snail answered, calm as ever:
"My dear Pinocchio, the Fairy is lying ill in a hospital.""In a hospital?""Yes, indeed. She has been stricken with trouble and illness,and she hasn't a penny left with which to buy a bite of bread.""Really? Oh, how sorry I am! My poor, dear little Fairy!
If I had a million I should run to her with it! But Ihave only fifty pennies. Here they are. I was just going tobuy some clothes. Here, take them, little Snail, and givethem to my good Fairy.""What about the new clothes?""What does that matter? I should like to sell these ragsI have on to help her more. Go, and hurry. Come backhere within a couple of days and I hope to have moremoney for you! Until today I have worked for my father.
Now I shall have to work for my mother also. Good-by,and I hope to see you soon."The Snail, much against her usual habit, began to runlike a lizard under a summer sun.
When Pinocchio returned home, his father asked him:
"And where is the new suit?""I couldn't find one to fit me. I shall have to look againsome other day."That night, Pinocchio, instead of going to bed at teno'clock waited until midnight, and instead of makingeight baskets, he made sixteen.
After that he went to bed and fell asleep. As he slept,he dreamed of his Fairy, beautiful, smiling, and happy,who kissed him and said to him, "Bravo, Pinocchio! Inreward for your kind heart, I forgive you for all yourold mischief. Boys who love and take good care of theirparents when they are old and sick, deserve praise eventhough they may not be held up as models of obedienceand good behavior. Keep on doing so well, and you will be happy."At that very moment, Pinocchio awoke and opened wide his eyes.
What was his surprise and his joy when, on lookinghimself over, he saw that he was no longer a Marionette,but that he had become a real live boy! He looked allabout him and instead of the usual walls of straw,he found himself in a beautifully furnished little room,the prettiest he had ever seen. In a twinkling, he jumpeddown from his bed to look on the chair standing near.
There, he found a new suit, a new hat, and a pair of shoes.
As soon as he was dressed, he put his hands in hispockets and pulled out a little leather purse on which werewritten the following words:
The Fairy with Azure Hair returnsfifty pennies to her dear Pinocchiowith many thanks for his kind heart.
The Marionette opened the purse to find the money,and behold--there were fifty gold coins!
Pinocchio ran to the mirror. He hardly recognized himself.
The bright face of a tall boy looked at him with wide-awake blue eyes,dark brown hair and happy, smiling lips.
Surrounded by so much splendor, the Marionette hardlyknew what he was doing. He rubbed his eyes two or three times,wondering if he were still asleep or awake and decided he must be awake.
"And where is Father?" he cried suddenly. He raninto the next room, and there stood Geppetto, grown yearsyounger overnight, spick and span in his new clothes andgay as a lark in the morning. He was once more MastroGeppetto, the wood carver, hard at work on a lovelypicture frame, decorating it with flowers and leaves, andheads of animals.
"Father, Father, what has happened? Tell me if you can,"cried Pinocchio, as he ran and jumped on his Father's neck.
"This sudden change in our house is all your doing,my dear Pinocchio," answered Geppetto.
"What have I to do with it?""Just this. When bad boys become good and kind,they have the power of making their homes gay and newwith happiness.""I wonder where the old Pinocchio of wood has hidden himself?""There he is," answered Geppetto. And he pointedto a large Marionette leaning against a chair, head turnedto one side, arms hanging limp, and legs twisted under him.
After a long, long look, Pinocchio said to himself withgreat content:
"How ridiculous I was as a Marionette! And howhappy I am, now that I have become a real boy!"