Part 3 out of 4
that 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 to
you the choice of the manner in which you are to be
cooked. Do you wish to be fried in a pan, or do you prefer
to 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 lose
the opportunity to taste such a rare fish? A Marionette
fish 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 and
wail 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 a
cupboard 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, and
the anchovies. Pinocchio's turn came last. Seeing himself
so near to death (and such a horrible death!) he began
to tremble so with fright that he had no voice left with
which to beg for his life.
The poor boy beseeched only with his eyes. But the
Green Fisherman, not even noticing that it was he, turned
him over and over in the flour until he looked like a
Marionette made of chalk.
Then he took him by the head and--
Pinocchio returns to the Fairy's house
and 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 celebrate
the great event
Mindful of what the Fisherman had said, Pinocchio knew
that all hope of being saved had gone. He closed his eyes
and waited for the final moment.
Suddenly, a large Dog, attracted by the odor of the
boiling oil, came running into the cave.
"Get out!" cried the Fisherman threateningly and still
holding onto the Marionette, who was all covered with flour.
But the poor Dog was very hungry, and whining and
wagging 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 take
no refusal, turned in a rage toward the Fisherman and
bared his terrible fangs. And at that moment, a pitiful
little voice was heard saying: "Save me, Alidoro; if you
don't, I fry!"
The Dog immediately recognized Pinocchio's voice.
Great was his surprise to find that the voice came from
the little flour-covered bundle that the Fisherman held
in his hand.
Then what did he do? With one great leap, he grasped
that bundle in his mouth and, holding it lightly between
his teeth, ran through the door and disappeared like a flash!
The Fisherman, angry at seeing his meal snatched from
under his nose, ran after the Dog, but a bad fit of coughing
made him stop and turn back.
Meanwhile, Alidoro, as soon as he had found the road
which led to the village, stopped and dropped Pinocchio
softly 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 world
to 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. That
odor tickled my hunger and I followed it. Oh, if I had
come a moment later!"
"Don't speak about it," wailed Pinocchio, still
trembling with fright. "Don't say a word. If you had come
a moment later, I would be fried, eaten, and digested by
this 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 Dog
were good friends. Then they bid each other good-by
and the Dog went home.
Pinocchio, left alone, walked toward a little hut near
by, where an old man sat at the door sunning himself,
"Tell me, good man, have you heard anything of a
poor 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, jumping
around with joy. "Then the wound was not serious?"
"But it might have been--and even mortal," answered
the 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,
"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 long
as it should be. Scared out of his wits, he cried out:
"Don't listen to me, good man! All the wonderful
things I have said are not true at all. I know Pinocchio
well and he is indeed a very wicked fellow, lazy and
disobedient, who instead of going to school, runs away with
his 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 myself
against a newly painted wall," he lied, ashamed to
say that he had been made ready for the frying pan.
"What have you done with your coat and your hat
and your breeches?"
"I met thieves and they robbed me. Tell me, my good
man, have you not, perhaps, a little suit to give me, so
that I may go home?"
"My boy, as for clothes, I have only a bag in which I
keep 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 after
cutting a big hole at the top and two at the sides, he
slipped 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 so
unhappy that he went along taking two steps forward
and one back, and as he went he said to himself:
"How shall I ever face my good little Fairy? What
will she say when she sees me? Will she forgive this last
trick 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 on
promises which I never keep!"
He came to the village late at night. It was so dark he
could see nothing and it was raining pitchforks.
Pinocchio went straight to the Fairy's house, firmly
resolved to knock at the door.
When he found himself there, he lost courage and ran
back a few steps. A second time he came to the door and
again he ran back. A third time he repeated his
performance. The fourth time, before he had time to lose
his courage, he grasped the knocker and made a faint sound
He waited and waited and waited. Finally, after a full
half hour, a top-floor window (the house had four stories)
opened and Pinocchio saw a large Snail look out. A tiny
light glowed on top of her head. "Who knocks at this
late 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 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 shivering
from the cold rain on his back, knocked a second time,
this time louder than before.
At that second knock, a window on the third floor
opened and the same Snail looked out.
"Dear little Snail," cried Pinocchio from the street.
"I have been waiting two hours for you! And two hours
on a dreadful night like this are as long as two years.
"My boy," answered the Snail in a calm, peaceful
voice, "my dear boy, I am a snail and snails are never in
a 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 the
knocker with both hands, fully determined to awaken the
whole house and street with it. As soon as he touched the
knocker, however, it became an eel and wiggled away into
"Really?" cried Pinocchio, blind with rage. "If the
knocker 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 the
door and his leg followed almost to the knee. No matter
how he pulled and tugged, he could not pull it out. There
he stayed as if nailed to the door.
Poor Pinocchio! The rest of the night he had to spend
with one foot through the door and the other one in the air.
As dawn was breaking, the door finally opened. That brave
little animal, the Snail, had taken exactly nine hours to go
from 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."
In fact, after three hours and a half, Pinocchio saw her
return with a silver tray on her head. On the tray there
was 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 chicken
of cardboard, and the brilliant fruit of colored alabaster!
He wanted to cry, he wanted to give himself up to
despair, he wanted to throw away the tray and all that
was on it. Instead, either from pain or weakness, he fell
to the floor in a dead faint.
When he regained his senses, he found himself stretched
out 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. At
the end of it, he passed first in all his examinations, and
his 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 friends
and schoolmates must be invited to celebrate the great
event! The Fairy promised to prepare two hundred cups
of coffee-and-milk and four hundred slices of toast
buttered 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 BUT
which is apt to spoil everything.
Pinocchio, instead of becoming a boy, runs away
to the Land of Toys with his friend, Lamp-Wick
Coming at last out of the surprise into which the Fairy's
words had thrown him, Pinocchio asked for permission to
give 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 one
to suffer, not anyone else."
"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 good
Fairy good-by, and singing and dancing, he left the house.
In a little more than an hour, all his friends were
invited. Some accepted quickly and gladly. Others had to
be coaxed, but when they heard that the toast was to be
buttered on both sides, they all ended by accepting
the 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 him
Lamp-Wick, for he was long and thin and had a woebegone
look about him.
Lamp-Wick was the laziest boy in the school and the
biggest mischief-maker, but Pinocchio loved him dearly.
That day, he went straight to his friend's house to invite him
to 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--"
"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?"
"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 find
a place that will agree better with you and me? No schools,
no teachers, no books! In that blessed place there is no
such thing as study. Here, it is only on Saturdays that
we have no school. In the Land of Toys, every day, except
Sunday, is a Saturday. Vacation begins on the first
of January and ends on the last day of December. That
is 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 till
night. At night one goes to bed, and next morning, the
good 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? You
must make up your mind."
"No, no, and again no! I have promised my kind Fairy
to become a good boy, and I want to keep my word. Just
see: 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 us
within the boundaries of that marvelous country."
"How I wish midnight would strike!"
"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 you
really sure that there are no schools in the Land of Toys?"
"Not even the shadow of one."
"Not even one teacher?"
"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 promised
my good Fairy to behave myself, and I am going to
keep my word."
"Good-by, then, and remember me to the grammar
schools, to the high schools, and even to the colleges if
you meet them on the way."
"Good-by, Lamp-Wick. Have a pleasant trip, enjoy
yourself, and remember your friends once in a while."
With these words, the Marionette started on his way
home. Turning once more to his friend, he asked him:
"But are you sure that, in that country, each week is
composed of six Saturdays and one Sunday?"
"And that vacation begins on the first of January and
ends on the thirty-first of December?"
"Very, very sure!"
"What a great country!" repeated Pinocchio, puzzled
as to what to do.
Then, in sudden determination, he said hurriedly:
"Good-by for the last time, and good luck."
"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 makes
very 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. A
queer sound could be heard, soft as a little bell, and faint
and 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 last
time, are you coming or not?"
"But is it really true that in that country boys never
have to study?"
"Never, never, never!"
"What a wonderful, beautiful, marvelous country! Oh--h--h!!"
After five months of play, Pinocchio wakes up one fine morning
and finds a great surprise awaiting him
Finally the wagon arrived. It made no noise, for its
wheels were bound with straw and rags.
It was drawn by twelve pair of donkeys, all of the same
size, but all of different color. Some were gray, others
white, 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-four
donkeys, instead of being iron-shod like any other beast
of 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 wider
than he was long, round and shiny as a ball of butter, with
a face beaming like an apple, a little mouth that always
smiled, and a voice small and wheedling like that of a cat
begging for food.
No sooner did any boy see him than he fell in love with
him, and nothing satisfied him but to be allowed to ride
in his wagon to that lovely place called the Land of Toys.
In fact the wagon was so closely packed with boys of
all ages that it looked like a box of sardines. They were
uncomfortable, they were piled one on top of the other,
they could hardly breathe; yet not one word of complaint
was heard. The thought that in a few hours they would
reach a country where there were no schools, no books,
no teachers, made these boys so happy that they felt
neither hunger, nor thirst, nor sleep, nor discomfort.
No sooner had the wagon stopped than the little fat
man turned to Lamp-Wick. With bows and smiles, he
asked in a wheedling tone:
"Tell me, my fine boy, do you also want to come to
my wonderful country?"
"Indeed I do."
"But I warn you, my little dear, there's no more room
in the wagon. It is full."
"Never mind," answered Lamp-Wick. "If there's no
room 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 return
home, 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 four
other voices from the wagon.
"Come with us and we'll always be happy," shouted the
one 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 and
weaken in his good resolutions.
"Don't worry so much. Only think that we are going
to a land where we shall be allowed to make all the racket
we 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 place
"No, indeed. I could not permit such a thing. I much
prefer riding one of these donkeys," cried Pinocchio.
No sooner said than done. He approached the first
donkey and tried to mount it. But the little animal turned
suddenly and gave him such a terrible kick in the stomach
that Pinocchio was thrown to the ground and fell with
his legs in the air.
At this unlooked-for entertainment, the whole company
of runaways laughed uproariously.
The little fat man did not laugh. He went up to the
rebellious animal, and, still smiling, bent over him lovingly
and bit off half of his right ear.
In the meantime, Pinocchio lifted himself up from the
ground, 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 two
hind feet and, at this unexpected move, the poor Marionette
found himself once again sprawling right in the
middle of the road.
Again the boys shouted with laughter. But the Little
Man, instead of laughing, became so loving toward the
little animal that, with another kiss, he bit off half of
his 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, the
Marionette fancied he heard a very quiet voice whispering to him:
"Poor silly! You have done as you wished. But you
are going to be a sorry boy before very long."
Pinocchio, greatly frightened, looked about him to see
whence the words had come, but he saw no one. The
donkeys galloped, the wagon rolled on smoothly, the
boys slept (Lamp-Wick snored like a dormouse) and the
little, fat driver sang sleepily between his teeth.
After a mile or so, Pinocchio again heard the same
faint voice whispering: "Remember, little simpleton!
Boys who stop studying and turn their backs upon books
and schools and teachers in order to give all their time
to 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 I
am weeping now--but it will be too late!"
At these whispered words, the Marionette grew more
and more frightened. He jumped to the ground, ran up
to the donkey on whose back he had been riding, and
taking his nose in his hands, looked at him. Think how
great was his surprise when he saw that the donkey was
weeping--weeping just like a boy!
"Hey, Mr. Driver!" cried the Marionette. "Do you know what
strange 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 lived
for three years with a band of trained dogs."
"Come, come," said the Little Man, "do not lose time over
a 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 wagon
started again. Toward dawn the next morning they finally
reached that much-longed-for country, the Land of Toys.
This great land was entirely different from any other
place in the world. Its population, large though it was,
was composed wholly of boys. The oldest were about
fourteen years of age, the youngest, eight. In the street,
there was such a racket, such shouting, such blowing of
trumpets, that it was deafening. Everywhere groups of
boys were gathered together. Some played at marbles, at
hopscotch, at ball. Others rode on bicycles or on wooden
horses. 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 hands
with their feet in the air. Generals in full uniform leading
regiments of cardboard soldiers passed by. Laughter,
shrieks, howls, catcalls, hand-clapping followed this
parade. One boy made a noise like a hen, another like
a rooster, and a third imitated a lion in his den. All
together they created such a pandemonium that it would
have 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 the
walls of the houses, written with charcoal, were words
like these: HURRAH FOR THE LAND OF TOYS! DOWN WITH
ARITHMETIC! NO MORE SCHOOL!
As soon as they had set foot in that land, Pinocchio,
Lamp-Wick, and all the other boys who had traveled with
them started out on a tour of investigation. They
wandered everywhere, they looked into every nook and
corner, 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 each
time that, by chance, he met his friend Lamp-Wick.
"Was I right or wrong?" answered Lamp-Wick. "And
to think you did not want to come! To think that even
yesterday the idea came into your head to return home
to see your Fairy and to start studying again! If today
you are free from pencils and books and school, you owe
it to me, to my advice, to my care. Do you admit it? Only
true friends count, after all."
"It's true, Lamp-Wick, it's true. If today I am a really
happy boy, it is all because of you. And to think that the
teacher, when speaking of you, used to say, `Do not go
with that Lamp-Wick! He is a bad companion and some
day he will lead you astray.'"
"Poor teacher!" answered the other, nodding his head.
"Indeed I know how much he disliked me and how he
enjoyed 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 and
enjoying themselves from morn till night, without ever
seeing a book, or a desk, or a school. But, my children,
there came a morning when Pinocchio awoke and found
a great surprise awaiting him, a surprise which made him
feel 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 bray
Everyone, at one time or another, has found some surprise
awaiting him. Of the kind which Pinocchio had on that
eventful 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 and
there he found--
He found that, during the night, his ears had grown
at least ten full inches!
You must know that the Marionette, even from his
birth, had very small ears, so small indeed that to the
naked eye they could hardly be seen. Fancy how he felt
when he noticed that overnight those two dainty organs
had 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 beautiful
pair 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 against
the wall, but the more he shrieked, the longer and the
more hairy grew his ears.
At those piercing shrieks, a Dormouse came into the
room, a fat little Dormouse, who lived upstairs. Seeing
Pinocchio so grief-stricken, she asked him anxiously:
"What is the matter, dear little neighbor?"
"I am sick, my little Dormouse, very, very sick--and
from an illness which frightens me! Do you understand
how to feel the pulse?"
"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 no
longer 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 tugging
at 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 books
and schools and teachers and spend all their days with toys
and 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 wanted
to be obedient. I wanted to study and to succeed
in school, but Lamp-Wick said to me, `Why do you want
to waste your time studying? Why do you want to go
to school? Come with me to the Land of Toys.
There we'll never study again. There we can enjoy
ourselves 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 heedless
Marionette--heedless and heartless. Oh! If I had only
had a bit of heart, I should never have abandoned
that good Fairy, who loved me so well and who has been
so kind to me! And by this time, I should no longer be a
Marionette. I should have become a real boy, like all these
friends of mine! Oh, if I meet Lamp-Wick I am going
to tell him what I think of him--and more, too!"
After this long speech, Pinocchio walked to the door
of the room. But when he reached it, remembering his
donkey ears, he felt ashamed to show them to the public
and 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 everyone
whom 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 surprise
awaited 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 happier
and thought to himself:
"My friend must be suffering from the same sickness
that 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 you
wearing 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 bag
down 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 other
in a mocking way.
Finally the Marionette, in a voice sweet as honey and
soft as a flute, said to his companion:
"Tell me, Lamp-Wick, dear friend, have you ever
suffered 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,
"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?"
Pinocchio began to count, "One! Two! Three!"
At the word "Three!" the two boys pulled off their
caps 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 the
same 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--laughed
till they ached--laughed till they cried.
But all of a sudden Lamp-Wick stopped laughing. He tottered
and 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 laughter
turned to tears as he stumbled about helplessly.
They had hardly finished speaking, when both of them fell
on all fours and began running and jumping around the room.
As they ran, their arms turned into legs, their faces lengthened
into snouts and their backs became covered with long gray hairs.
This was humiliation enough, but the most horrible
moment was the one in which the two poor creatures felt
their 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 moans
and cries, they burst forth into loud donkey brays, which
sounded very much like, "Haw! Haw! Haw!"
At that moment, a loud knocking was heard at the door
and a voice called to them:
"Open! I am the Little Man, the driver of the wagon
which 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 sold
to a man who wants to use his skin
for a drumhead
Very sad and downcast were the two poor little fellows
as they stood and looked at each other. Outside the room,
the Little Man grew more and more impatient, and finally
gave the door such a violent kick that it flew open. With
his usual sweet smile on his lips, he looked at Pinocchio
and Lamp-Wick and said to them:
"Fine work, boys! You have brayed well, so well that
I 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 and
smoothed down their hairy coats. Then he took out a
currycomb 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 away
from the Land of Toys, in the hope of selling them at a
In fact, he did not have to wait very long for an offer.
Lamp-Wick was bought by a farmer whose donkey had died
the 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's
profession was? This horrid little being, whose face shone
with kindness, went about the world looking for boys.
Lazy boys, boys who hated books, boys who wanted to
run away from home, boys who were tired of school--all
these were his joy and his fortune. He took them with
him to the Land of Toys and let them enjoy themselves
to their heart's content. When, after months of all play
and no work, they became little donkeys, he sold them on
the 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 hardships
even from the first day.
After putting him in a stable, his new master filled his
manger 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 Donkey
a 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 understood
the Donkey perfectly.
"Haw! Haw! Haw! Hay gives me a headache!"
"Do you pretend, by any chance, that I should feed you duck
or 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 he
was left alone. It was many hours since he had eaten
anything and he started to yawn from hunger. As he
yawned, 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 how
much happier I should be if I had studied! Just now,
instead of hay, I should be eating some good bread
and butter. Patience!"
Next morning, when he awoke, Pinocchio looked in
the manger for more hay, but it was all gone. He had
eaten it all during the night.
He tried the straw, but, as he chewed away at it, he
noticed to his great disappointment that it tasted neither
like rice nor like macaroni.
"Patience!" he repeated as he chewed. "If only my
misfortune might serve as a lesson to disobedient boys
who refuse to study! Patience! Have patience!"
"Patience indeed!" shouted his master just then, as he
came into the stable. "Do you think, perhaps, my little
Donkey, that I have brought you here only to give you
food and drink? Oh, no! You are to help me earn some
fine gold pieces, do you hear? Come along, now. I am
going to teach you to jump and bow, to dance a waltz and
a polka, and even to stand on your head."
Poor Pinocchio, whether he liked it or not, had to learn
all these wonderful things; but it took him three long
months and cost him many, many lashings before he was
The day came at last when Pinocchio's master was
able to announce an extraordinary performance. The
announcements, posted all around the town, and written
in large letters, read thus:
GREAT SPECTACLE TONIGHT
LEAPS AND EXERCISES BY THE GREAT ARTISTS
AND THE FAMOUS HORSES
First Public Appearance
THE STAR OF THE DANCE
The Theater will be as Light as Day
That night, as you can well imagine, the theater was filled
to 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 and
sizes, wriggling and dancing about in a fever of impatience
to see the famous Donkey dance.
When the first part of the performance was over, the
Owner and Manager of the circus, in a black coat, white
knee breeches, and patent leather boots, presented himself
to the public and in a loud, pompous voice made the
"Most honored friends, Gentlemen and Ladies!
"Your humble servant, the Manager of this theater,
presents himself before you tonight in order to introduce
to you the greatest, the most famous Donkey in the world,
a Donkey that has had the great honor in his short life of
performing before the kings and queens and emperors of
all the great courts of Europe.
"We thank you for your attention!"
This speech was greeted by much laughter and
applause. And the applause grew to a roar when Pinocchio,
the famous Donkey, appeared in the circus ring. He was
handsomely arrayed. A new bridle of shining leather with
buckles of polished brass was on his back; two white
camellias were tied to his ears; ribbons and tassels of red
silk adorned his mane, which was divided into many
curls. A great sash of gold and silver was fastened around
his waist and his tail was decorated with ribbons of many
brilliant 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 time
tonight to tell you of the great difficulties which I have
encountered while trying to tame this animal, since I
found him in the wilds of Africa. Observe, I beg of you,
the savage look of his eye. All the means used by
centuries of civilization in subduing wild beasts failed in this
case. I had finally to resort to the gentle language of the
whip in order to bring him to my will. With all my
kindness, however, I never succeeded in gaining my Donkey's
love. He is still today as savage as the day I found
him. He still fears and hates me. But I have found in
him one great redeeming feature. Do you see this little
bump on his forehead? It is this bump which gives him
his great talent of dancing and using his feet as nimbly
as a human being. Admire him, O signori, and enjoy
yourselves. I let you, now, be the judges of my success as a
teacher of animals. Before I leave you, I wish to state
that there will be another performance tomorrow night.
If the weather threatens rain, the great spectacle will take
place 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 ground
and remained kneeling until the Manager, with the crack
of the whip, cried sharply: "Walk!"
The Donkey lifted himself on his four feet and walked
around the ring. A few minutes passed and again the
voice 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 rang
in the air.
At the shot, the little Donkey fell to the ground as if
he 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 raised
his eyes. There, in front of him, in a box sat a beautiful
woman. Around her neck she wore a long gold chain,
from which hung a large medallion. On the medallion
was 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 happy
that 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 not
good manners to bray before the public, the Manager
hit him on the nose with the handle of the whip.
The poor little Donkey stuck out a long tongue and licked
his 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 can
jump through the rings."
Pinocchio tried two or three times, but each time he
came near the ring, he found it more to his taste to go
under it. The fourth time, at a look from his master he
leaped through it, but as he did so his hind legs caught
in the ring and he fell to the floor in a heap.
When he got up, he was lame and could hardly limp as
far 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 Manager
to 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.
"I'll give you four cents. Don't think I'm buying him
for work. I want only his skin. It looks very tough and
I can use it to make myself a drumhead. I belong to a
musical band in my village and I need a drum."
I leave it to you, my dear children, to picture to
yourself the great pleasure with which Pinocchio heard that
he was to become a drumhead!
As soon as the buyer had paid the four cents, the
Donkey changed hands. His new owner took him to a high
cliff overlooking the sea, put a stone around his neck,
tied a rope to one of his hind feet, gave him a push, and
threw him into the water.
Pinocchio sank immediately. And his new master sat
on the cliff waiting for him to drown, so as to skin him
and 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 Shark
Down into the sea, deeper and deeper, sank Pinocchio, and
finally, after fifty minutes of waiting, the man on the cliff
said to himself:
"By this time my poor little lame Donkey must be
drowned. Up with him and then I can get to work on my
He pulled the rope which he had tied to Pinocchio's
leg--pulled and pulled and pulled and, at last, he saw
appear on the surface of the water--Can you guess what?
Instead of a dead donkey, he saw a very much alive
Marionette, wriggling and squirming like an eel.
Seeing that wooden Marionette, the poor man thought
he was dreaming and sat there with his mouth wide open
and 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.
"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 ago
were a donkey, are now standing before me a wooden Marionette?"
"It may be the effect of salt water. The sea is fond of
playing 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 the
Marionette'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 wooden
Marionette, just as I am today. One day I was about to
become a boy, a real boy, but on account of my laziness
and my hatred of books, and because I listened to bad
companions, I ran away from home. One beautiful morning,
I awoke to find myself changed into a donkey--long
ears, 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, who
tried to make me dance and jump through the rings. One
night, during a performance, I had a bad fall and became
lame. Not knowing what to do with a lame donkey, the Circus
Owner 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 me
harm--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 donkeys
in 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 feeling
sorry for me, you tied a stone to my neck and threw me
to the bottom of the sea. That was very good and kind
of you to want me to suffer as little as possible
and I shall remember you always. And now my Fairy
will take care of me, even if you--"
"Your Fairy? Who is she?"
"She is my mother, and, like all other mothers who
love their children, she never loses sight of me, even
though I do not deserve it. And today this good Fairy
of mine, as soon as she saw me in danger of drowning,
sent a thousand fishes to the spot where I lay. They
thought I was really a dead donkey and began to eat me.
What great bites they took! One ate my ears, another my
nose, a third my neck and my mane. Some went at my
legs and some at my back, and among the others, there
was one tiny fish so gentle and polite that he did me
the great favor of eating even my tail."
"From now on," said the man, horrified, "I swear I shall
never again taste fish. How I should enjoy opening a mullet
or 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 finished
eating my donkey coat, which covered me from head to
foot, they naturally came to the bones--or rather, in my
case, to the wood, for as you know, I am made of very
hard wood. After the first few bites, those greedy fish
found out that the wood was not good for their teeth, and,
afraid of indigestion, they turned and ran here and there
without saying good-by or even as much as thank you to
me. Here, dear Master, you have my story. You know
now why you found a Marionette and not a dead donkey
when you pulled me out of the water."
"I laugh at your story!" cried the man angrily. "I know
that 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 market
once 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 the
sea. 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 again
and 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 moving
swiftly on the blue surface of the water, a little black dot
which now and then lifted a leg or an arm in the air.
One would have thought that Pinocchio had turned into
a porpoise playing in the sun.
After swimming for a long time, Pinocchio saw a large
rock in the middle of the sea, a rock as white as marble.
High on the rock stood a little Goat bleating and calling
and beckoning to the Marionette to come to her.
There was something very strange about that little
Goat. Her coat was not white or black or brown as that
of any other goat, but azure, a deep brilliant color that
reminded 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 could
toward the white rock. He was almost halfway over,
when suddenly a horrible sea monster stuck its head out
of the water, an enormous head with a huge mouth, wide
open, showing three rows of gleaming teeth, the mere
sight 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 frightened
him almost to death! He tried to swim away from him,
to change his path, to escape, but that immense mouth
kept 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 one
of her hoofs to help him up out of the water.
Alas! It was too late. The monster overtook him and
the Marionette found himself in between the rows of
gleaming 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 have
sucked 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 not
remember where he was. Around him all was darkness,
a darkness so deep and so black that for a moment he
thought he had put his head into an inkwell. He listened
for a few moments and heard nothing. Once in a while a
cold wind blew on his face. At first he could not understand
where that wind was coming from, but after a while
he 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 he
became convinced that he was really and truly in the
Shark's stomach, he burst into sobs and tears. "Help!
Help!" he cried. "Oh, poor me! Won't someone come
to save me?"
"Who is there to help you, unhappy boy?" said a rough
voice, 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 the
same 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 me
without even a `by your leave'! And now what are we
to 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 enough
to think that if one is born a fish, it is more dignified to die
under the water than in the frying pan."
"What nonsense!" cried Pinocchio.
"Mine is an opinion," replied the Tunny, "and opinions
should 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?" asked
"His body, not counting the tail, is almost a mile long."
While talking in the darkness, Pinocchio thought he
saw a faint light in the distance.
"What can that be?" he said to the Tunny.
"Some other poor fish, waiting as patiently as we to
be digested by the Shark."
"I want to see him. He may be an old fish and may
know some way of escape."
"I wish you all good luck, dear Marionette."
"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 know
Pinocchio, as soon as he had said good-by to his good
friend, the Tunny, tottered away in the darkness and
began to walk as well as he could toward the faint light
which glowed in the distance.
As he walked his feet splashed in a pool of greasy and
slippery water, which had such a heavy smell of fish fried
in oil that Pinocchio thought it was Lent.
The farther on he went, the brighter and clearer grew
the tiny light. On and on he walked till finally he found
--I give you a thousand guesses, my dear children! He
found a little table set for dinner and lighted by a candle
stuck in a glass bottle; and near the table sat a little old
man, white as the snow, eating live fish. They wriggled
so that, now and again, one of them slipped out of the old
man's mouth and escaped into the darkness under the table.
At this sight, the poor Marionette was filled with such
great and sudden happiness that he almost dropped in a
faint. He wanted to laugh, he wanted to cry, he wanted
to say a thousand and one things, but all he could do was
to stand still, stuttering and stammering brokenly. At
last, with a great effort, he was able to let out a scream of
joy and, opening wide his arms he threw them around the
old 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?" answered
the old man, rubbing his eyes. "Are you really my own
"Yes, yes, yes! It is I! Look at me! And you have
forgiven me, haven't you? Oh, my dear Father, how
good you are! And to think that I--Oh, but if you
only knew how many misfortunes have fallen on my head
and how many troubles I have had! Just think that on
the day you sold your old coat to buy me my A-B-C
book so that I could go to school, I ran away to the
Marionette Theater and the proprietor caught me and
wanted to burn me to cook his roast lamb! He was the
one who gave me the five gold pieces for you, but I met
the Fox and the Cat, who took me to the Inn of the Red
Lobster. There they ate like wolves and I left the Inn
alone and I met the Assassins in the wood. I ran and they
ran after me, always after me, till they hanged me to the
branch of a giant oak tree. Then the Fairy of the Azure
Hair sent the coach to rescue me and the doctors, after
looking at me, said, `If he is not dead, then he is surely
alive,' and then I told a lie and my nose began to grow.
It grew and it grew, till I couldn't get it through the
door of the room. And then I went with the Fox and the
Cat to the Field of Wonders to bury the gold pieces. The
Parrot laughed at me and, instead of two thousand gold
pieces, I found none. When the Judge heard I had been
robbed, he sent me to jail to make the thieves happy; and
when I came away I saw a fine bunch of grapes hanging on
a vine. The trap caught me and the Farmer put a collar on
me and made me a watchdog. He found out I was innocent
when I caught the Weasels and he let me go. The Serpent
with the tail that smoked started to laugh and a vein in his
chest broke and so I went back to the Fairy's house. She
was dead, and the Pigeon, seeing me crying, said to me, `I
have seen your father building a boat to look for you in
America,' and I said to him, `Oh, if I only had wings!' and
he said to me, `Do you want to go to your father?' and I
said, `Perhaps, but how?' and he said, `Get on my back. I'll
take you there.' We flew all night long, and next morning
the fishermen were looking toward the sea, crying, `There
is 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 to
go to you; but how could I? The sea was rough and the
whitecaps overturned the boat. Then a Terrible Shark
came up out of the sea and, as soon as he saw me in the
water, swam quickly toward me, put out his tongue, and
swallowed 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--two
years, my Pinocchio, which have been like two centuries."
"And how have you lived? Where did you find the
candle? And the matches with which to light it--where
did you get them?"
"You must know that, in the storm which swamped my
boat, a large ship also suffered the same fate. The sailors
were all saved, but the ship went right to the bottom of
the 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, that
ship was loaded with meat, preserved foods, crackers,
bread, bottles of wine, raisins, cheese, coffee, sugar, wax
candles, and boxes of matches. With all these blessings, I
have been able to live happily on for two whole years, but
now I am at the very last crumbs. Today there is nothing
left in the cupboard, and this candle you see here is the
last one I have."
"And then, my dear, we'll find ourselves in darkness."
"Then, my dear Father," said Pinocchio, "there is no
time to lose. We must try to escape."
"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 shoulders
and I, who am a fine swimmer, will carry you safely
to the shore."
"Dreams, my boy!" answered Geppetto, shaking his
head and smiling sadly. "Do you think it possible for a
Marionette, a yard high, to have the strength to carry me
on his shoulders and swim?"
"Try it and see! And in any case, if it is written that we
must die, we shall at least die together."
Not adding another word, Pinocchio took the candle in his hand
and 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 and
the whole body of the Shark. When they reached the
throat of the monster, they stopped for a while to wait for
the right moment in which to make their escape.
I want you to know that the Shark, being very old and
suffering from asthma and heart trouble, was obliged to
sleep with his mouth open. Because of this, Pinocchio was
able to catch a glimpse of the sky filled with stars, as he
looked 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 sea
is 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 throat
of the monster till they came to that immense open mouth.
There they had to walk on tiptoes, for if they tickled the
Shark's long tongue he might awaken--and where would
they be then? The tongue was so wide and so long that
it looked like a country road. The two fugitives were just
about to dive into the sea when the Shark sneezed very
suddenly and, as he sneezed, he gave Pinocchio and
Geppetto such a jolt that they found themselves thrown on
their backs and dashed once more and very unceremoniously
into the stomach of the monster.
To make matters worse, the candle went out and father
and 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 be
careful 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 hand
and, always walking on tiptoes, they climbed up the monster's
throat for a second time. They then crossed the
whole tongue and jumped over three rows of teeth. But
before they took the last great leap, the Marionette said
to 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 his
shoulders, Pinocchio, very sure of what he was doing,
dived into the water and started to swim. The sea was like
oil, the moon shone in all splendor, and the Shark continued
to sleep so soundly that not even a cannon shot would
have awakened him.
Pinocchio finally ceases to be
a 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 an
effort to reach land as soon as possible. All at once he
noticed that Geppetto was shivering and shaking as if with
a high fever.
Was he shivering from fear or from cold? Who knows?
Perhaps a little of both. But Pinocchio, thinking his father
was 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 feel
discouraged, his strength was leaving him, and his breathing
was becoming more and more labored. He felt he could
not go on much longer, and the shore was still far away.
He swam a few more strokes. Then he turned to Geppetto
and cried out weakly:
"Help me, Father! Help, for I am dying!"
Father and son were really about to drown when they
heard 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 showed
me 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, both
of you, and let me lead you. In a twinkling you will be
safe on land."
Geppetto and Pinocchio, as you can easily imagine, did not
refuse the invitation; indeed, instead of hanging onto
the 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 the
first 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 not
enough words with which to thank you! Allow me to
embrace you as a sign of my eternal gratitude."