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The Adventures of Pinocchio
by C. Collodi
[Pseudonym of Carlo Lorenzini]
Translated from the Italian by Carol Della Chiesa
How it happened that Mastro Cherry, carpenter,
found a piece of wood that wept and laughed like a child
Centuries ago there lived--
"A king!" my little readers will say immediately.
No, children, you are mistaken. Once upon a time
there was a piece of wood. It was not an expensive piece
of wood. Far from it. Just a common block of firewood,
one of those thick, solid logs that are put on the fire in
winter to make cold rooms cozy and warm.
I do not know how this really happened, yet the fact
remains that one fine day this piece of wood found itself
in the shop of an old carpenter. His real name was
Mastro Antonio, but everyone called him Mastro Cherry,
for the tip of his nose was so round and red and shiny
that it looked like a ripe cherry.
As soon as he saw that piece of wood, Mastro Cherry
was 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 to
make the leg of a table."
He grasped the hatchet quickly to peel off the bark and
shape the wood. But as he was about to give it the first
blow, he stood still with arm uplifted, for he had heard a
wee, 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's
face! His funny face became still funnier.
He turned frightened eyes about the room to find out
where that wee, little voice had come from and he saw
no one! He looked under the bench--no one! He peeped
inside the closet--no one! He searched among the shavings--
no one! He opened the door to look up and down
the 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 tiny
voice 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 his
head, his mouth opened wide, and his tongue hung down
on 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 no
one around? Might it be that this piece of wood has
learned to weep and cry like a child? I can hardly
believe it. Here it is--a piece of common firewood, good
only 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 hands
and started to knock it about unmercifully. He threw it
to the floor, against the walls of the room, and even up
to the ceiling.
He listened for the tiny voice to moan and cry.
He waited two minutes--nothing; five minutes--nothing;
"Oh, I see," he said, trying bravely to laugh and
ruffling up his wig with his hand. "It can easily be seen
I only imagined I heard the tiny voice! Well, well--to
work once more!"
The poor fellow was scared half to death, so he tried
to sing a gay song in order to gain courage.
He set aside the hatchet and picked up the plane to
make the wood smooth and even, but as he drew it to
and fro, he heard the same tiny voice. This time it giggled
as it spoke:
"Stop it! Oh, stop it! Ha, ha, ha! You tickle my stomach."
This time poor Mastro Cherry fell as if shot. When
he opened his eyes, he found himself sitting on the floor.
His face had changed; fright had turned even the tip of
his 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 somersaults
In that very instant, a loud knock sounded on the door.
"Come in," said the carpenter, not having an atom of
strength left with which to stand up.
At the words, the door opened and a dapper little old
man came in. His name was Geppetto, but to the boys of
the neighborhood he was Polendina, on account of the
wig he always wore which was just the color of yellow corn.
 Cornmeal mush
Geppetto had a very bad temper. Woe to the one who
called him Polendina! He became as wild as a beast and
no one could soothe him.
"Good day, Mastro Antonio," said Geppetto. "What
are 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, Mastro
Antonio, 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 wooden
Marionette. It must be wonderful, one that will be able to
dance, fence, and turn somersaults. With it I intend to go
around the world, to earn my crust of bread and cup of
wine. What do you think of it?"
"Bravo, Polendina!" cried the same tiny voice which
came from no one knew where.
On hearing himself called Polendina, Mastro Geppetto
turned 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."
And growing angrier each moment, they went from
words to blows, and finally began to scratch and bite and
slap each other.
When the fight was over, Mastro Antonio had Geppetto's
yellow wig in his hands and Geppetto found the carpenter's
curly 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 on
his own head, shook hands and swore to be good friends
for the rest of their lives.
"Well then, Mastro Geppetto," said the carpenter, to
show 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 immediately
to his bench to get the piece of wood which had frightened
him so much. But as he was about to give it to his friend,
with a violent jerk it slipped out of his hands and hit
against poor Geppetto's thin legs.
"Ah! Is this the gentle way, Mastro Antonio, in which
you 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!"
"Geppetto, do not insult me or I shall call you Polendina."
On hearing himself called Polendina for the third time,
Geppetto lost his head with rage and threw himself upon
the carpenter. Then and there they gave each other a
After this fight, Mastro Antonio had two more scratches
on his nose, and Geppetto had two buttons missing from
his coat. Thus having settled their accounts, they shook
hands 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 Marionette
and calls it Pinocchio. The first pranks of the Marionette
Little as Geppetto's house was, it was neat and
comfortable. It was a small room on the ground floor, with a
tiny window under the stairway. The furniture could not
have been much simpler: a very old chair, a rickety old
bed, and a tumble-down table. A fireplace full of burning
logs was painted on the wall opposite the door. Over the
fire, there was painted a pot full of something which kept
boiling happily away and sending up clouds of what looked
like real steam.
As soon as he reached home, Geppetto took his tools
and began to cut and shape the wood into a Marionette.
"What shall I call him?" he said to himself. "I think
I'll call him PINOCCHIO. This name will make his fortune.
I knew a whole family of Pinocchi once--Pinocchio the
father, Pinocchia the mother, and Pinocchi the children--
and they were all lucky. The richest of them begged for
After choosing the name for his Marionette, Geppetto
set seriously to work to make the hair, the forehead, the
eyes. Fancy his surprise when he noticed that these eyes
moved and then stared fixedly at him. Geppetto, seeing
this, 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 began
to stretch as soon as finished. It stretched and stretched
and 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. In
despair he let it alone.
Next he made the mouth.
No sooner was it finished than it began to laugh and
poke fun at him.
"Stop laughing!" said Geppetto angrily; but he might
as 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 made
believe he saw nothing and went on with his work.
After the mouth, he made the chin, then the neck, the
shoulders, the stomach, the arms, and the hands.
As he was about to put the last touches on the finger
tips, Geppetto felt his wig being pulled off. He glanced
up and what did he see? His yellow wig was in the Marionette's
hand. "Pinocchio, give me my wig!"
But instead of giving it back, Pinocchio put it on his
own head, which was half swallowed up in it.
At that unexpected trick, Geppetto became very sad
and downcast, more so than he had ever been before.
"Pinocchio, you wicked boy!" he cried out. "You are
not yet finished, and you start out by being impudent to
your 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 they
were done, Geppetto felt a sharp kick on the tip of his nose.
"I deserve it!" he said to himself. "I should have thought
of this before I made him. Now it's too late!"
He took hold of the Marionette under the arms and put
him on the floor to teach him to walk.
Pinocchio's legs were so stiff that he could not move
them, and Geppetto held his hand and showed him how to
put out one foot after the other.
When his legs were limbered up, Pinocchio started
walking by himself and ran all around the room. He came
to the open door, and with one leap he was out into the
street. Away he flew!
Poor Geppetto ran after him but was unable to catch
him, for Pinocchio ran in leaps and bounds, his two
wooden 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 Marionette
running like the wind, stood still to stare and to laugh
until they cried.
At last, by sheer luck, a Carabineer happened
along, who, hearing all that noise, thought that it might
be a runaway colt, and stood bravely in the middle of the
street, with legs wide apart, firmly resolved to stop it and
prevent any trouble.
 A military policeman
Pinocchio saw the Carabineer from afar and tried his
best to escape between the legs of the big fellow, but
The Carabineer grabbed him by the nose (it was an
extremely long one and seemed made on purpose for that
very 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, he
discovered that he had forgotten to make them!
All he could do was to seize Pinocchio by the back of
the neck and take him home. As he was doing so, he shook
him 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 ground
and refused to take another step. One person after another
gathered around the two.
Some said one thing, some another.
"Poor Marionette," called out a man. "I am not
surprised 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, "but
with boys he's a real tyrant. If we leave that poor
Marionette in his hands he may tear him to pieces!"
They said so much that, finally, the Carabineer ended
matters by setting Pinocchio at liberty and dragging
Geppetto to prison. The poor old fellow did not know how to
defend himself, but wept and wailed like a child and said
between his sobs:
"Ungrateful boy! To think I tried so hard to make you
a well-behaved Marionette! I deserve it, however! I should
have given the matter more thought."
What happened after this is an almost unbelievable
story, but you may read it, dear children, in the chapters
The story of Pinocchio and the Talking Cricket,
in which one sees that bad children do not like
to be corrected by those who know more than they do
Very little time did it take to get poor old Geppetto to
prison. In the meantime that rascal, Pinocchio, free now
from the clutches of the Carabineer, was running wildly
across fields and meadows, taking one short cut after
another toward home. In his wild flight, he leaped over
brambles and bushes, and across brooks and ponds, as if
he 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 threw
himself on the floor, happy at his escape.
But his happiness lasted only a short time, for just then
he heard someone saying:
"Who is calling me?" asked Pinocchio, greatly frightened.
Pinocchio turned and saw a large cricket crawling
slowly up the wall.
"Tell me, Cricket, who are you?"
"I am the Talking Cricket and I have been living in this
room 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't
turn 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 I
stay here the same thing will happen to me which happens
to all other boys and girls. They are sent to school, and
whether 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 like
that, you will grow into a perfect donkey and that you'll
be 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 at
least learn a trade, so that you can earn an honest living?"
"Shall I tell you something?" asked Pinocchio, who was
beginning 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, and
wandering around from morning till night."
"Let me tell you, for your own good, Pinocchio," said
the Talking Cricket in his calm voice, "that those who
follow 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."
"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, took
a hammer from the bench, and threw it with all his
strength at the Talking Cricket.
Perhaps he did not think he would strike it. But, sad
to relate, my dear children, he did hit the Cricket, straight
on its head.
With a last weak "cri-cri-cri" the poor Cricket fell from
the 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 window
If the Cricket's death scared Pinocchio at all, it was only
for 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 moments
the queer, empty feeling had become hunger, and the
hunger grew bigger and bigger, until soon he was as
ravenous as a bear.
Poor Pinocchio ran to the fireplace where the pot was
boiling and stretched out his hand to take the cover off,
but to his amazement the pot was only painted! Think how
he 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 only
relief poor Pinocchio had was to yawn; and he certainly
did yawn, such a big yawn that his mouth stretched
out to the tips of his ears. Soon he became dizzy and faint.
He wept and wailed to himself: "The Talking Cricket
was right. It was wrong of me to disobey Father and to
run away from home. If he were here now, I wouldn't be
so 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 a
hen's egg. In a jiffy he pounced upon it. It was an egg.
The Marionette's joy knew no bounds. It is impossible
to describe it, you must picture it to yourself. Certain that
he was dreaming, he turned the egg over and over in his
hands, fondled it, kissed it, and talked to it:
"And now, how shall I cook you? Shall I make an
omelet? No, it is better to fry you in a pan!
Or shall I drink you? No, the best way is to
fry you in the pan. You will taste better."
No sooner said than done. He placed a little pan over a
foot warmer full of hot coals. In the pan, instead of oil or
butter, he poured a little water. As soon as the water
started to boil--tac!--he broke the eggshell. But in place
of the white and the yolk of the egg, a little yellow Chick,
fluffy and gay and smiling, escaped from it. Bowing
politely to Pinocchio, he said to him:
"Many, many thanks, indeed, Mr. Pinocchio, for having
saved me the trouble of breaking my shell! Good-by
and good luck to you and remember me to the family!"
With these words he spread out his wings and, darting
to the open window, he flew away into space till he was
out of sight.
The poor Marionette stood as if turned to stone, with
wide eyes, open mouth, and the empty halves of the egg-
shell in his hands. When he came to himself, he began to
cry and shriek at the top of his lungs, stamping his feet on
the ground and wailing all the while:
"The Talking Cricket was right! If I had not run away
from home and if Father were here now, I should not be
dying of hunger. Oh, how horrible it is to be hungry!"
And as his stomach kept grumbling more than ever and
he had nothing to quiet it with, he thought of going out
for a walk to the near-by village, in the hope of finding
some 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 off
Pinocchio hated the dark street, but he was so hungry
that, in spite of it, he ran out of the house. The night was
pitch black. It thundered, and bright flashes of lightning
now and again shot across the sky, turning it into a sea of
fire. An angry wind blew cold and raised dense clouds of
dust, 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 a
dozen 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 stores
were closed, the doors, the windows. In the streets, not
even a dog could be seen. It seemed the Village of the
Pinocchio, in desperation, ran up to a doorway, threw
himself 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 the
window 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 the
old fellow, thinking he had to deal with one of those boys
who love to roam around at night ringing people's bells
while 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 the
window just in time to feel a shower of ice-cold water
pour down on his poor wooden head, his shoulders, and
over his whole body.
He returned home as wet as a rag, and tired out from
weariness and hunger.
As he no longer had any strength left with which to
stand, he sat down on a little stool and put his two feet on
the stove to dry them.
There he fell asleep, and while he slept, his wooden
feet began to burn. Slowly, very slowly, they blackened
and turned to ashes.
Pinocchio snored away happily as if his feet were not
his own. At dawn he opened his eyes just as a loud knocking
sounded 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 gives
his own breakfast to the Marionette
The poor Marionette, who was still half asleep, had not
yet found out that his two feet were burned and gone. As
soon as he heard his Father's voice, he jumped up from his
seat to open the door, but, as he did so, he staggered and
fell headlong to the floor.
In falling, he made as much noise as a sack of wood
falling 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 Marionette
in 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 animal
busily playing with some shavings in the corner of the room.
"Open! I say," repeated Geppetto, "or I'll give you a
sound 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 were
only other pranks of the Marionette, climbed up the side
of the house and went in through the window.
At first he was very angry, but on seeing Pinocchio
stretched out on the floor and really without feet, he felt
very sad and sorrowful. Picking him up from the floor, he
fondled and caressed him, talking to him while the tears
ran 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 has
been 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 to
me, `You deserve it; you were bad;' and I said to him,
`Careful, Cricket;' and he said to me, `You are a Marionette
and you have a wooden head;' and I threw the hammer at
him and killed him. It was his own fault, for I didn't want
to kill him. And I put the pan on the coals, but the Chick
flew away and said, `I'll see you again! Remember me to
the family.' And my hunger grew, and I went out, and the
old man with a nightcap looked out of the window and
threw water on me, and I came home and put my feet on
the stove to dry them because I was still hungry, and I fell
asleep and now my feet are gone but my hunger isn't!
Oh!--Oh!--Oh!" And poor Pinocchio began to scream
and cry so loudly that he could be heard for miles around.
Geppetto, who had understood nothing of all that
jumbled talk, except that the Marionette was hungry, felt sorry
for him, and pulling three pears out of his pocket, offered
them to him, saying:
"These three pears were for my breakfast, but I give
them 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. "I
should never have thought, dear boy of mine, that you
were so dainty and fussy about your food. Bad, very bad!
In this world, even as children, we must accustom ourselves
to eat of everything, for we never know what life may
hold in store for us!"
"You may be right," answered Pinocchio, "but I will not
eat the pears if they are not peeled. I don't like them."
And good old Geppetto took out a knife, peeled the
three pears, and put the skins in a row on the table.
Pinocchio ate one pear in a twinkling and started to
throw the core away, but Geppetto held his arm.
"Oh, no, don't throw it away! Everything in this world
may 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 next
to 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."
"I have only these three cores and these skins."
"Very well, then," said Pinocchio, "if there is nothing
else I'll eat them."
At first he made a wry face, but, one after another, the
skins 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 dainty
about food. My dear, we never know what life may have
in store for us!"
Geppetto makes Pinocchio a new pair of feet,
and sells his coat to buy him an A-B-C book
The 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 his
mischief, let him alone the whole morning. After dinner
he said to him:
"Why should I make your feet over again? To see you
run 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,"
"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 of
your old age."
Geppetto, though trying to look very stern, felt his eyes
fill with tears and his heart soften when he saw Pinocchio
so unhappy. He said no more, but taking his tools and two
pieces 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 an
"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 glue
melted in an eggshell, doing his work so well that the joint
could hardly be seen.
As soon as the Marionette felt his new feet, he gave one
leap 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 go
to school now. But to go to school I need a suit of clothes."
Geppetto did not have a penny in his pocket, so he
made his son a little suit of flowered paper, a pair of shoes
from 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, and
he felt so happy that he said proudly:
"Now I look like a gentleman."
"Truly," answered Geppetto. "But remember that fine
clothes do not make the man unless they be neat and clean."
"Very true," answered Pinocchio, "but, in order to go
to 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 sad
and downcast at these words. When poverty shows itself,
even mischievous boys understand what it means.
"What does it matter, after all?" cried Geppetto all at
once, as he jumped up from his chair. Putting on his old
coat, full of darns and patches, he ran out of the house
without another word.
After a while he returned. In his hands he had the
A-B-C book for his son, but the old coat was gone. The
poor 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 neck
and kissed him over and over.
Pinocchio sells his A-B-C book to
pay his way into the Marionette Theater
See Pinocchio hurrying off to school with his new A-B-C
book under his arm! As he walked along, his brain was busy
planning hundreds of wonderful things, building hundreds
of 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, clever
as I am, I can earn a lot of money. With the very first
pennies I make, I'll buy Father a new cloth coat. Cloth,
did I say? No, it shall be of gold and silver with diamond
buttons. 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 are
indeed good to their children!"
As he talked to himself, he thought he heard sounds of
pipes 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 little
street that led to a small village along the shore.
"What can that noise be? What a nuisance that I have
to go to school! Otherwise. . ."
There he stopped, very much puzzled. He felt he had
to 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 to
school. 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 the
sounds 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 of
people standing in front of a little wooden building painted
in 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?"
Pinocchio, who was wild with curiosity to know what
was going on inside, lost all his pride and said to the boy
"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 flowered
paper? 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 might
come and eat it from my head!"
Pinocchio was almost in tears. He was just about to
make 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 the
little fellow with far more common sense than the Marionette.
"I'll give you four pennies for your A-B-C book," said
a ragpicker who stood by.
Then and there, the book changed hands. And to think
that poor old Geppetto sat at home in his shirt sleeves,
shivering with cold, having sold his coat to buy that little
book 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 life
Quick as a flash, Pinocchio disappeared into the
Marionette Theater. And then something happened which
almost 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 spectacle
and 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 of
the orchestra, yelling wildly at the same time:
"Look, look! Am I asleep or awake? Or do I really see
"Yes, yes! It is Pinocchio!" screamed Pulcinella.
"It is! It is!" shrieked Signora Rosaura, peeking in from
the 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 brother
Pinocchio! Hurrah for Pinocchio!"
"Pinocchio, come up to me!" shouted Harlequin. "Come
to the arms of your wooden brothers!"
At such a loving invitation, Pinocchio, with one leap
from the back of the orchestra, found himself in the front
rows. With another leap, he was on the orchestra leader's
head. With a third, he landed on the stage.
It is impossible to describe the shrieks of joy, the warm
embraces, the knocks, and the friendly greetings with
which that strange company of dramatic actors and
actresses received Pinocchio.
It was a heart-rending spectacle, but the audience,
seeing that the play had stopped, became angry and began
"The play, the play, we want the play!"
The yelling was of no use, for the Marionettes, instead
of going on with their act, made twice as much racket as
before, and, lifting up Pinocchio on their shoulders, carried
him around the stage in triumph.
At that very moment, the Director came out of his
room. He had such a fearful appearance that one look
at him would fill you with horror. His beard was as
black as pitch, and so long that it reached from his chin
down to his feet. His mouth was as wide as an oven, his
teeth like yellow fangs, and his eyes, two glowing red
coals. In his huge, hairy hands, a long whip, made of
green snakes and black cats' tails twisted together, swished
through the air in a dangerous way.
At the unexpected apparition, no one dared even to
breathe. One could almost hear a fly go by. Those poor
Marionettes, one and all, trembled like leaves in a storm.
"Why have you brought such excitement into my
theater;" the huge fellow asked Pinocchio with the voice
of 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 to
the kitchen, where a fine big lamb was slowly turning
on 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 were
made of well-seasoned wood. He'll make a fine fire for
Harlequin and Pulcinella hesitated a bit. Then,
frightened by a look from their master, they left the
kitchen to obey him. A few minutes later they returned,
carrying poor Pinocchio, who was wriggling and squirming
like 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 death
In 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 of
this is that, when he saw the poor Marionette being
brought in to him, struggling with fear and crying, "I
don't want to die! I don't want to die!" he felt sorry for
him 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 been
as sad as a weeping willow, smiled happily and leaning
toward the Marionette, whispered to him:
"Good news, brother mine! Fire Eater has sneezed
and this is a sign that he feels sorry for you.
You are saved!"
For be it known, that, while other people, when sad
and sorrowful, weep and wipe their eyes, Fire Eater, on
the other hand, had the strange habit of sneezing each
time he felt unhappy. The way was just as good as any
other 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 feeling
down 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 to
use you as firewood. Poor old man! I feel sorry for
him! E--tchee! E--tchee! E--tchee!" Three more sneezes
sounded, 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 no
more 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 and
thin as a yard of rope, with queer hats on their heads
and 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 scared
that his legs doubled up under him and he fell to the floor.
Pinocchio, at that heartbreaking sight, threw himself
at the feet of Fire Eater and, weeping bitterly, asked
in 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, the
Director of the Marionette Theater sat up very straight
in his chair, stroked his long beard, and becoming suddenly
kind 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, who
has never done the least harm in his life."
"There is no mercy here, Pinocchio. I have spared
you. Harlequin must burn in your place. I am hungry
and my dinner must be cooked."
"In that case," said Pinocchio proudly, as he stood
up and flung away his cap of dough, "in that case, my
duty is clear. Come, officers! Tie me up and throw me
on 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 all
the other Marionettes cry. Even the officers, who were
made of wood also, cried like two babies.
Fire Eater at first remained hard and cold as a piece
of ice; but then, little by little, he softened and began to
sneeze. And after four or five sneezes, he opened wide
his 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 the
long black beard, he gave Fire Eater a loving kiss on the
tip of his nose.
"Has pardon been granted to me?" asked poor
Harlequin with a voice that was hardly a breath.
"Pardon is yours!" answered Fire Eater; and sighing
and wagging his head, he added: "Well, tonight I shall
have to eat my lamb only half cooked, but beware the
next time, Marionettes."
At the news that pardon had been given, the
Marionettes 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 them
The next day Fire Eater called Pinocchio aside and asked him:
"What is your father's name?"
"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 his
pockets. Just think that, in order to buy me an A-B-C
book for school, he had to sell the only coat he owned, a
coat so full of darns and patches that it was a pity."
"Poor fellow! I feel sorry for him. Here, take these
five gold pieces. Go, give them to him with my kindest regards."
Pinocchio, as may easily be imagined, thanked him
a thousand times. He kissed each Marionette in turn,
even the officers, and, beside himself with joy, set out on
his homeward journey.
He had gone barely half a mile when he met a lame
Fox and a blind Cat, walking together like two good
friends. The lame Fox leaned on the Cat, and the blind
Cat let the Fox lead him along.
"Good morning, Pinocchio," said the Fox, greeting him
"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 will
suffer no longer."
"Because I have become a rich man."
"You, a rich man?" said the Fox, and he began to laugh
out loud. The Cat was laughing also, but tried to hide it
by 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 Eater
had given him.
At the cheerful tinkle of the gold, the Fox unconsciously
held out his paw that was supposed to be lame, and the
Cat opened wide his two eyes till they looked like live
coals, but he closed them again so quickly that Pinocchio
did not notice.
"And may I ask," inquired the Fox, "what you are
going to do with all that money?"
"First of all," answered the Marionette, "I want to
buy a fine new coat for my father, a coat of gold and
silver with diamond buttons; after that, I'll buy an A-B-C
book for myself."
"For myself. I want to go to school and study hard."
"Look at me," said the Fox. "For the silly reason of
wanting 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 fence
along 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 words
to himself! In the twinkling of an eyelid, the Cat leaped
on him, and ate him, feathers and all.
After eating the bird, he cleaned his whiskers, closed
his 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 long
distance. 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 thousand
gold 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 going
where Father is waiting for me. How unhappy he must
be that I have not yet returned! I have been a bad son,
and the Talking Cricket was right when he said that a
disobedient boy cannot be happy in this world. I have
learned this at my own expense. Even last night in
the 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?" asked
"I'll explain," said the Fox. "You must know that,
just outside the City of Simple Simons, there is a blessed
field called the Field of Wonders. In this field you dig
a hole and in the hole you bury a gold piece. After covering
up the hole with earth you water it well, sprinkle
a bit of salt on it, and go to bed. During the night, the
gold piece sprouts, grows, blossoms, and next morning
you find a beautiful tree, that is loaded with gold pieces."
"So that if I were to bury my five gold pieces," cried
Pinocchio with growing wonder, "next morning I should
"It is very simple to figure out," answered the Fox.
"Why, you can figure it on your fingers! Granted that
each piece gives you five hundred, multiply five hundred
by five. Next morning you will find twenty-five hundred
new, sparkling gold pieces."
"Fine! Fine!" cried Pinocchio, dancing about with joy.
"And as soon as I have them, I shall keep two thousand
for 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 Lobster
Cat and Fox and Marionette walked and walked and walked.
At last, toward evening, dead tired, they came to the
Inn of the Red Lobster.
"Let us stop here a while," said the Fox, "to eat a bite
and 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 the
same table. However, not one of them was very hungry.
The poor Cat felt very weak, and he was able to
eat only thirty-five mullets with tomato sauce and four
portions of tripe with cheese. Moreover, as he was so
in need of strength, he had to have four more helpings of
butter and cheese.
The Fox, after a great deal of coaxing, tried his best
to eat a little. The doctor had put him on a diet, and he
had to be satisfied with a small hare dressed with a dozen
young and tender spring chickens. After the hare, he
ordered some partridges, a few pheasants, a couple of
rabbits, 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 bread
and a few nuts and then hardly touched them. The poor
fellow, with his mind on the Field of Wonders, was
suffering from a gold-piece indigestion.
Supper over, the Fox said to the Innkeeper:
"Give us two good rooms, one for Mr. Pinocchio and
the other for me and my friend. Before starting out,
we'll take a little nap. Remember to call us at midnight
sharp, for we must continue on our journey."
"Yes, sir," answered the Innkeeper, winking in a knowing way
at the Fox and the Cat, as if to say, "I understand."
As soon as Pinocchio was in bed, he fell fast asleep
and began to dream. He dreamed he was in the middle
of 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 to
say, "Let him who wants us take us!"
Just as Pinocchio stretched out his hand to take a
handful of them, he was awakened by three loud knocks at
the door. It was the Innkeeper who had come to tell him
that 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 which
said that his first-born was suffering from chilblains
and was on the point of death. He could not even wait
to say good-by to you."
"Did they pay for the supper?"
"How could they do such a thing? Being people of
great refinement, they did not want to offend you so
deeply as not to allow you the honor of paying the bill."
"Too bad! That offense would have been more than
pleasing 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 and
started on his way toward the field that was to make
him a rich man.
He walked on, not knowing where he was going, for
it was dark, so dark that not a thing was visible. Round
about him, not a leaf stirred. A few bats skimmed his
nose now and again and scared him half to death. Once
or twice he shouted, "Who goes there?" and the far-away
hills echoed back to him, "Who goes there? Who goes
there? Who goes. . . ?"
As he walked, Pinocchio noticed a tiny insect
glimmering on the trunk of a tree, a small being that glowed
with a pale, soft light.
"Who are you?" he asked.
"I am the ghost of the Talking Cricket," answered the
little being in a faint voice that sounded as if it came from
a 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 have
left to your poor old father who is weeping because he
has not seen you for many a day."
"Tomorrow my father will be a rich man, for these
four 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 you
from the Assassins."
There was silence for a minute and the light of the
Talking Cricket disappeared suddenly, just as if someone
had snuffed it out. Once again the road was plunged
Pinocchio, not having listened to the good advice
of the Talking Cricket, falls into the hands of the Assassins
"Dear, oh, dear! When I come to think of it," said the
Marionette to himself, as he once more set out on his
journey, "we boys are really very unlucky. Everybody
scolds us, everybody gives us advice, everybody warns us.
If we were to allow it, everyone would try to be father
and mother to us; everyone, even the Talking Cricket.
Take me, for example. Just because I would not listen to
that bothersome Cricket, who knows how many misfortunes
may be awaiting me! Assassins indeed! At least
I have never believed in them, nor ever will. To speak
sensibly, I think assassins have been invented by fathers
and mothers to frighten children who want to run away
at night. And then, even if I were to meet them on
the road, what matter? I'll just run up to them, and say,
`Well, signori, what do you want? Remember that you
can't fool with me! Run along and mind your business.'
At such a speech, I can almost see those poor fellows
running 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 thought
he heard a slight rustle among the leaves behind him.
He turned to look and behold, there in the darkness
stood two big black shadows, wrapped from head to foot
in black sacks. The two figures leaped toward him as
softly as if they were ghosts.
"Here they come!" Pinocchio said to himself, and,
not knowing where to hide the gold pieces, he stuck all
four 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, Pinocchio
could not say a word, so he tried with head and hands
and body to show, as best he could, that he was only a
poor 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't
"Out with that money or you're a dead man," said the
taller 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 the
money hidden under your tongue. Out with it!"
But Pinocchio was as stubborn as ever.
"Are you deaf? Wait, young man, we'll get it from
you in a twinkling!"
One of them grabbed the Marionette by the nose and
the other by the chin, and they pulled him unmercifully
from side to side in order to make him open his mouth.
All was of no use. The Marionette's lips might have
been nailed together. They would not open.
In desperation the smaller of the two Assassins pulled
out a long knife from his pocket, and tried to pry Pinocchio's
mouth open with it.
Quick as a flash, the Marionette sank his teeth deep
into the Assassin's hand, bit it off and spat it out. Fancy
his surprise when he saw that it was not a hand, but a
Encouraged by this first victory, he freed himself from
the claws of his assailers and, leaping over the bushes
along the road, ran swiftly across the fields. His pursuers
were 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 a
giant 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 the
foot of the pine, and set fire to it. In a twinkling the
tree began to sputter and burn like a candle blown by
the wind. Pinocchio saw the flames climb higher and
higher. 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 full
of 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. Pinocchio
who 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 turned
his head to see. But there were the two somber figures
still following him, though their black sacks were drenched
and dripping with water.
The Assassins chase Pinocchio, catch him,
and hang him to the branch of a giant oak tree
As he ran, the Marionette felt more and more certain that
he would have to give himself up into the hands of his
pursuers. Suddenly he saw a little cottage gleaming white
as the snow among the trees of the forest.
"If I have enough breath left with which to reach that
little house, I may be saved," he said to himself.
Not waiting another moment, he darted swiftly through
the woods, the Assassins still after him.
After a hard race of almost an hour, tired and out of
breath, Pinocchio finally reached the door of the cottage
and knocked. No one answered.
He knocked again, harder than before, for behind him
he heard the steps and the labored breathing of his
persecutors. The same silence followed.
As knocking was of no use, Pinocchio, in despair,
began to kick and bang against the door, as if he wanted
to break it. At the noise, a window opened and a lovely
maiden looked out. She had azure hair and a face white
as wax. Her eyes were closed and her hands crossed on
her breast. With a voice so weak that it hardly could be
heard, 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 the
window closed without a sound.
"Oh, Lovely Maiden with Azure Hair," cried
Pinocchio, "open, I beg of you. Take pity on a poor boy who
is being chased by two Assass--"
He did not finish, for two powerful hands grasped him
by the neck and the same two horrible voices growled
threateningly: "Now we have you!"
The Marionette, seeing death dancing before him,
trembled so hard that the joints of his legs rattled and
the coins tinkled under his tongue.
"Well," the Assassins asked, "will you open your
mouth now or not? Ah! You do not answer? Very well,
this time you shall open it."
Taking out two long, sharp knives, they struck two
heavy blows on the Marionette's back.
Happily for him, Pinocchio was made of very hard
wood and the knives broke into a thousand pieces. The
Assassins looked at each other in dismay, holding the
handles of the knives in their hands.
"I understand," said one of them to the other, "there
is nothing left to do now but to hang him."
"To hang him," repeated the other.
They tied Pinocchio's hands behind his shoulders and
slipped the noose around his neck. Throwing the rope
over the high limb of a giant oak tree, they pulled till
the poor Marionette hung far up in space.
Satisfied with their work, they sat on the grass waiting
for Pinocchio to give his last gasp. But after three hours
the Marionette's eyes were still open, his mouth still shut
and 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 you
dead and gone and with your mouth wide open."
With these words they went.
A few minutes went by and then a wild wind started
to blow. As it shrieked and moaned, the poor little
sufferer was blown to and fro like the hammer of a bell.
The rocking made him seasick and the noose, becoming
tighter and tighter, choked him. Little by little a film
covered his eyes.
Death was creeping nearer and nearer, and the Marionette
still hoped for some good soul to come to his rescue,
but no one appeared. As he was about to die, he thought
of his poor old father, and hardly conscious of what he
was saying, murmured to himself:
"Oh, Father, dear Father! If you were only here!"
These were his last words. He closed his eyes, opened
his mouth, stretched out his legs, and hung there, as if
he 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 Pinocchio
is dead or alive
If the poor Marionette had dangled there much longer,
all hope would have been lost. Luckily for him, the
Lovely Maiden with Azure Hair once again looked out of
her window. Filled with pity at the sight of the poor little
fellow being knocked helplessly about by the wind, she
clapped her hands sharply together three times.
At the signal, a loud whirr of wings in quick flight was
heard and a large Falcon came and settled itself on the
"What do you command, my charming Fairy?" asked the Falcon,
bending his beak in deep reverence (for it must
be known that, after all, the Lovely Maiden with Azure
Hair 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 limb
of that giant oak tree?"
"I see him."
"Very well. Fly immediately to him. With your
strong beak, break the knot which holds him tied,
take him down, and lay him softly on the grass
at 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 found
I was wrong, for as soon as I loosened the knot around
his neck, he gave a long sigh and mumbled with a faint
voice, `Now I feel better!'"
The Fairy clapped her hands twice. A magnificent
Poodle appeared, walking on his hind legs just like a
man. He was dressed in court livery. A tricorn trimmed
with gold lace was set at a rakish angle over a wig of white
curls that dropped down to his waist. He wore a jaunty
coat of chocolate-colored velvet, with diamond buttons,
and with two huge pockets which were always filled with
bones, dropped there at dinner by his loving mistress.
Breeches of crimson velvet, silk stockings, and low,
silver-buckled slippers completed his costume. His tail
was encased in a blue silk covering, which was to protect
it from the rain.
"Come, Medoro," said the Fairy to him. "Get my
best coach ready and set out toward the forest. On
reaching the oak tree, you will find a poor, half-dead
Marionette stretched out on the grass. Lift him up
tenderly, 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 the
stable. It was drawn by one hundred pairs of white mice,
and the Poodle sat on the coachman's seat and snapped
his whip gayly in the air, as if he were a real coachman
in a hurry to get to his destination.
In a quarter of an hour the coach was back. The
Fairy, who was waiting at the door of the house, lifted
the poor little Marionette in her arms, took him to a
dainty room with mother-of-pearl walls, put him to bed,
and sent immediately for the most famous doctors of the
neighborhood 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, turning
to 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 felt
Pinocchio'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 a
sure 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 mind
this Marionette is alive; but if, by any evil chance, he
were 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 he
is 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 breaking
his father's heart!"