Pinocchio: The Tale Of A Puppet Part 2




It was a wild and stormy night. The thunder was tremendous and the lightning so vivid that the sky seemed on fire.

Pinocchio had a great fear of thunder, but hunger was stronger than fear. He therefore closed the house door and made a rush for the village, which he reached in a hundred bounds, with his tongue hanging out and panting for breath like a dog after game.

But he found it all dark and deserted. The shops were closed, the windows shut, and there was not so much as a dog in the street. It seemed the land of the dead.

Pinocchio, urged by desperation and hunger, took hold of the bell of a house and began to ring it with all his might, saying to himself:

"That will bring somebody."

And so it did. A little old man appeared at a window with a night-cap on his head and called to him angrily:

"What do you want at such an hour?"

"Would you be kind enough to give me a little bread?"

"Wait there, I will be back directly," said the little old man, thinking it was one of those rascally boys who amuse themselves at night by ringing the house-bells to rouse respectable people who are sleeping quietly.

After half a minute the window was again opened and the voice of the same little old man shouted to Pinocchio:

"Come underneath and hold out your cap."

Pinocchio pulled off his cap; but, just as he held it out, an enormous basin of water was poured down on him, soaking him from head to foot as if he had been a pot of dried-up geraniums.

He returned home like a wet chicken, quite exhausted with fatigue and hunger; and, having no longer strength to stand, he sat down and rested his damp and muddy feet on a brazier full of burning embers.

And then he fell asleep, and whilst he slept his feet, which were wooden, took fire, and little by little they burnt away and became cinders.

Pinocchio continued to sleep and to snore as if his feet belonged to some one else. At last about daybreak he awoke because some one was knocking at the door.

"Who is there?" he asked, yawning and rubbing his eyes.

"It is I!" answered a voice.

And Pinocchio recognized Geppetto's voice.



Poor Pinocchio, whose eyes were still half shut from sleep, had not as yet discovered that his feet were burnt off. The moment, therefore, that he heard his father's voice he slipped off his stool to run and open the door; but, after stumbling two or three times, he fell his whole length on the floor.

And the noise he made in falling was as if a sack of wooden ladles had been thrown from a fifth story.

"Open the door!" shouted Geppetto from the street.

"Dear papa, I cannot," answered the puppet, crying and rolling about on the ground.

"Why can't you?"

"Because my feet have been eaten."

"And who has eaten your feet?"

"The cat," said Pinocchio, seeing the cat, who was amusing herself by making some shavings dance with her forepaws.

"Open the door, I tell you!" repeated Geppetto. "If you don't, when I get into the house you shall have the cat from me!"

"I cannot stand up, believe me. Oh, poor me! poor me! I shall have to walk on my knees for the rest of my life!"

Geppetto, believing that all this lamentation was only another of the puppet's tricks, thought of a means of putting an end to it, and, climbing up the wall, he got in at the window.

He was very angry and at first he did nothing but scold; but when he saw his Pinocchio lying on the ground and really without feet he was quite overcome. He took him in his arms and began to kiss and caress him, and to say a thousand endearing things to him, and as the big tears ran down his cheeks he said, sobbing:

"My little Pinocchio! how did you manage to burn your feet?"

"I don't know, papa, but it has been such a dreadful night that I shall remember it as long as I live. It thundered and lightened, and I was very hungry, and then the Talking-Cricket said to me: 'It serves you right; you have been wicked and you deserve it,' and I said to him: 'Take care, Cricket!' and he said: 'You are a puppet and you have a wooden head,' and I threw the handle of a hammer at him, and he died, but the fault was his, for I didn't wish to kill him, and the proof of it is that I put an earthenware saucer on a brazier of burning embers, but a chicken flew out and said: 'Adieu until we meet again, and many compliments to all at home': and I got still more hungry, for which reason that little old man in a night-cap, opening the window, said to me: 'Come underneath and hold out your hat,' and poured a basinful of water on my head, because asking for a little bread isn't a disgrace, is it? and I returned home at once, and because I was always very hungry I put my feet on the brazier to dry them, and then you returned, and I found they were burnt off, and I am always hungry, but I have no longer any feet! Oh! oh! oh! oh!" And poor Pinocchio began to cry and to roar so loudly that he was heard five miles off.

Geppetto, who from all this jumbled account had only understood one thing, which was that the puppet was dying of hunger, drew from his pocket three pears and, giving them to him, said:

"These three pears were intended for my breakfast, but I will give them to you willingly. Eat them, and I hope they will do you good."

"If you wish me to eat them, be kind enough to peel them for me."

"Peel them?" said Geppetto, astonished. "I should never have thought, my boy, that you were so dainty and fastidious. That is bad! In this world we should accustom ourselves from childhood to like and to eat everything, for there is no saying to what we may be brought. There are so many chances!"

"You are no doubt right," interrupted Pinocchio, "but I will never eat fruit that has not been peeled. I cannot bear rind."

So good Geppetto peeled the three pears and put the rind on a corner of the table.

Having eaten the first pear in two mouthfuls, Pinocchio was about to throw away the core, but Geppetto caught hold of his arm and said to him:

"Do not throw it away; in this world everything may be of use."

"But core I am determined I will not eat," shouted the puppet, turning upon him like a viper.

"Who knows! there are so many chances!" repeated Geppetto, without losing his temper.

And so the three cores, instead of being thrown out of the window, were placed on the corner of the table, together with the three rinds.

Having eaten, or rather having devoured the three pears, Pinocchio yawned tremendously, and then said in a fretful tone:

"I am as hungry as ever!"

"But, my boy, I have nothing more to give you!"

"Nothing, really nothing?"

"I have only the rind and the cores of the three pears."

"One must have patience!" said Pinocchio; "if there is nothing else I will eat a rind."

And he began to chew it. At first he made a wry face, but then one after another he quickly disposed of the rinds: and after the rinds even the cores, and when he had eaten up everything he clapped his hands on his sides in his satisfaction and said joyfully:

"Ah! now I feel comfortable."

"You see, now," observed Geppetto, "that I was right when I said to you that it did not do to accustom ourselves to be too particular or too dainty in our tastes. We can never know, my dear boy, what may happen to us. There are so many chances!"



No sooner had the puppet satisfied his hunger than he began to cry and to grumble because he wanted a pair of new feet.

But Geppetto, to punish him for his naughtiness, allowed him to cry and to despair for half the day. He then said to him:

"Why should I make you new feet? To enable you, perhaps, to escape again from home?"

"I promise you," said the puppet, sobbing, "that for the future I will be good."

"All boys," replied Geppetto, "when they are bent upon obtaining something, say the same thing."

"I promise you that I will go to school and that I will study and bring home a good report."

"All boys, when they are bent on obtaining something, repeat the same story."

"But I am not like other boys! I am better than all of them and I always speak the truth. I promise you, papa, that I will learn a trade and that I will be the consolation and the staff of your old age."

Geppetto's eyes filled with tears and his heart was sad at seeing his poor Pinocchio in such a pitiable state. He did not say another word, but, taking his tools and two small pieces of well-seasoned wood, he set to work with great diligence.

In less than an hour the feet were finished: two little feet—swift, well-knit and nervous. They might have been modelled by an artist of genius.

Geppetto then said to the puppet:

"Shut your eyes and go to sleep!"

And Pinocchio shut his eyes and pretended to be asleep.

And whilst he pretended to sleep, Geppetto, with a little glue which he had melted in an egg-shell, fastened his feet in their place, and it was so well done that not even a trace could be seen of where they were joined.

No sooner had the puppet discovered that he had feet than he jumped down from the table on which he was lying and began to spring and to cut a thousand capers about the room, as if he had gone mad with the greatness of his delight.

"To reward you for what you have done for me," said Pinocchio to his father, "I will go to school at once."

"Good boy."

"But to go to school I shall want some clothes."

Geppetto, who was poor and who had not so much as a penny in his pocket, then made him a little dress of flowered paper, a pair of shoes from the bark of a tree, and a cap of the crumb of bread.

Pinocchio ran immediately to look at himself in a crock of water, and he was so pleased with his appearance that he said, strutting about like a peacock:

"I look quite like a gentleman!"

"Yes, indeed," answered Geppetto, "for bear in mind that it is not fine clothes that make the gentleman, but rather clean clothes."

"By the bye," added the puppet, "to go to school I am still in want—indeed, I am without the best thing, and the most important."

"And what is it?"

"I have no spelling-book."

"You are right: but what shall we do to get one?"

"It is quite easy. We have only to go to the bookseller's and buy it."

"And the money?"

"I have got none."

"Neither have I," added the good old man, very sadly.

And Pinocchio, although he was a very merry boy, became sad also, because poverty, when it is real poverty, is understood by everybody—even by boys.

"Well, patience!" exclaimed Geppetto, all at once rising to his feet, and putting on his old corduroy coat, all patched and darned, he ran out of the house.

He returned shortly, holding in his hand a spelling-book for Pinocchio, but the old coat was gone. The poor man was in his shirt-sleeves and out of doors it was snowing.

"And the coat, papa?"

"I have sold it."

"Why did you sell it?"

"Because I found it too hot."

Pinocchio understood this answer in an instant, and unable to restrain the impulse of his good heart he sprang up and, throwing his arms around Geppetto's neck, he began kissing him again and again.



As soon as it stopped snowing Pinocchio set out for school with his fine spelling-book under his arm. As he went along he began to imagine a thousand things in his little brain and to build a thousand castles in the air, one more beautiful than the other.

And, talking to himself, he said:

"Today at school I will learn to read at once; then tomorrow I will begin to write, and the day after tomorrow to figure. Then, with my acquirements, I will earn a great deal of money, and with the first money I have in my pocket I will immediately buy for my papa a beautiful new cloth coat. But what am I saying? Cloth, indeed! It shall be all made of gold and silver, and it shall have diamond buttons. That poor man really deserves it, for to buy me books and have me taught he has remained in his shirt-sleeves. And in this cold! It is only fathers who are capable of such sacrifices!"

Whilst he was saying this with great emotion, he thought that he heard music in the distance that sounded like fifes and the beating of a big drum: Fi-fie-fi, fi-fi-fi; zum, zum, zum.

He stopped and listened. The sounds came from the end of a cross street that led to a little village on the seashore.

"What can that music be? What a pity that I have to go to school, or else—"

And he remained irresolute. It was, however, necessary to come to a decision. Should he go to school? or should he go after the fifes?

"Today I will go and hear the fifes, and tomorrow I will go to school," finally decided the young scapegrace, shrugging his shoulders.

The more he ran the nearer came the sounds of the fifes and the beating of the big drum: Fi-fi-fi; zum, zum, zum, zum.

At last he found himself in the middle of a square quite full of people, who were all crowded round a building made of wood and canvas, and painted a thousand colors.

"What is that building?" asked Pinocchio, turning to a little boy who belonged to the place.

"Read the placard—it is all written—and then you will know."

"I would read it willingly, but it so happens that today I don't know how to read."

"Bravo, blockhead! Then I will read it to you. The writing on that placard in those letters red as fire is:

"The Great Puppet Theater."

"Has the play begun long?"

"It is beginning now."

"How much does it cost to go in?"

"A dime."

Pinocchio, who was in a fever of curiosity, lost all control of himself, and without any shame he said to the little boy to whom he was talking:

"Would you lend me a dime until tomorrow?"

"I would lend it to you willingly," said the other, "but it so happens that today I cannot give it to you."

"I will sell you my jacket for a dime," the puppet then said to him.

"What do you think that I could do with a jacket of flowered paper? If there were rain and it got wet, it would be impossible to get it off my back."

"Will you buy my shoes?"

"They would only be of use to light the fire."

"How much will you give me for my cap?"

"That would be a wonderful acquisition indeed! A cap of bread crumb! There would be a risk of the mice coming to eat it whilst it was on my head."

Pinocchio was on thorns. He was on the point of making another offer, but he had not the courage. He hesitated, felt irresolute and remorseful. At last he said:

"Will you give me a dime for this new spelling-book?"

"I am a boy and I don't buy from boys," replied his little interlocutor, who had much more sense than he had.

"I will buy the spelling-book for a dime," called out a hawker of old clothes, who had been listening to the conversation.

And the book was sold there and then. And to think that poor Geppetto had remained at home trembling with cold in his shirt-sleeves in order that his son should have a spelling-book.



When Pinocchio came into the little puppet theater, an incident occurred that almost produced a revolution.

The curtain had gone up and the play had already begun.

On the stage Harlequin and Punch were as usual quarrelling with each other and threatening every moment to come to blows.

All at once Harlequin stopped short and, turning to the public, he pointed with his hand to some one far down in the pit and exclaimed in a dramatic tone:

"Gods of the firmament! Do I dream or am I awake? But surely that is Pinocchio!"

"It is indeed Pinocchio!" cried Punch.

"It is indeed himself!" screamed Miss Rose, peeping from behind the scenes.

"It is Pinocchio! it is Pinocchio!" shouted all the puppets in chorus, leaping from all sides on to the stage. "It is Pinocchio! It is our brother Pinocchio! Long live Pinocchio!"

"Pinocchio, come up here to me," cried Harlequin, "and throw yourself into the arms of your wooden brothers!"

At this affectionate invitation Pinocchio made a leap from the end of the pit into the reserved seats; another leap landed him on the head of the leader of the orchestra, and he then sprang upon the stage.

The embraces, the friendly pinches, and the demonstrations of warm brotherly affection that Pinocchio received from the excited crowd of actors and actresses of the puppet dramatic company are beyond description.

The sight was doubtless a moving one, but the public in the pit, finding that the play was stopped, became impatient and began to shout: "We will have the play—go on with the play!"

It was all breath thrown away. The puppets, instead of continuing the recital, redoubled their noise and outcries, and, putting Pinocchio on their shoulders, they carried him in triumph before the footlights.

At that moment out came the showman. He was very big, and so ugly that the sight of him was enough to frighten anyone. His beard was as black as ink, and so long that it reached from his chin to the ground. I need only say that he trod upon it when he walked. His mouth was as big as an oven, and his eyes were like two lanterns of red glass with lights burning inside them. He carried a large whip made of snakes and foxes' tails twisted together, which he cracked constantly.

At his unexpected appearance there was a profound silence: no one dared to breathe. A fly might have been heard in the stillness. The poor puppets of both sexes trembled like so many leaves.

"Why have you come to raise a disturbance in my theater?" asked the showman of Pinocchio, in the gruff voice of a hobgoblin suffering from a severe cold in the head.

"Believe me, honored sir, it was not my fault!"

"That is enough! Tonight we will settle our accounts."

As soon as the play was over the showman went into the kitchen, where a fine sheep, preparing for his supper, was turning slowly on the spit in front of the fire. As there was not enough wood to finish roasting and browning it, he called Harlequin and Punch, and said to them:

"Bring that puppet here: you will find him hanging on a nail. It seems to me that he is made of very dry wood and I am sure that if he were thrown on the fire he would make a beautiful blaze for the roast."

At first Harlequin and Punch hesitated; but, appalled by a severe glance from their master, they obeyed. In a short time they returned to the kitchen carrying poor Pinocchio, who was wriggling like an eel taken out of water and screaming desperately: "Papa! papa! save me! I will not die, I will not die!"



The showman, Fire-Eater—for that was his name—looked like a wicked man, especially with his black beard that covered his chest and legs like an apron. On the whole, however, he had not a bad heart. In proof of this, when he saw poor Pinocchio brought before him, struggling and screaming "I will not die, I will not die!" he was quite moved and felt very sorry for him. He tried to hold out, but after a little he could stand it no longer and he sneezed violently. When he heard the sneeze, Harlequin, who up to that moment had been in the deepest affliction and bowed down like a weeping willow, became quite cheerful and, leaning towards Pinocchio, he whispered to him softly:

"Good news, brother. The showman has sneezed and that is a sign that he pities you, and consequently you are saved."

Most men, when they feel compassion for somebody, either weep or at least pretend to dry their eyes. Fire-Eater, on the contrary, whenever he was really overcome, had the habit of sneezing.

After he had sneezed, the showman, still acting the ruffian, shouted to Pinocchio:

"Have done crying! Your lamentations have given me a pain in my stomach. I feel a spasm that almost—Etchoo! etchoo!" and he sneezed again twice.

"Bless you!" said Pinocchio.

"Thank you! And your papa and your mamma, are they still alive?" asked Fire-Eater.

"Papa, yes; my mamma I have never known."

"Who can say what a sorrow it would be for your poor old father if I were to have you thrown amongst those burning coals! Poor old man! I pity him! Etchoo! etchoo! etchoo!" and he sneezed again three times.

"Bless you" said Pinocchio.

"Thank you! All the same, some compassion is due to me, for as you see I have no more wood with which to finish roasting my mutton, and, to tell you the truth, under the circumstances you would have been of great use to me! However, I have had pity on you, so I must have patience. Instead of you I will burn under the spit one of the puppets belonging to my company. Ho there, gendarmes!"

At this call two wooden gendarmes immediately appeared. They were very long and very thin, and had on cocked hats, and held unsheathed swords in their hands.

The showman said to them in a hoarse voice:

"Take Harlequin, bind him securely, and then throw him on the fire to burn. I am determined that my mutton shall be well roasted."

Only imagine that poor Harlequin! His terror was so great that his legs bent under him, and he fell with his face on the ground.

At this agonizing sight Pinocchio, weeping bitterly, threw himself at the showman's feet and, bathing his long beard with his tears, he began to say, in a supplicating voice:

"Have pity, Sir Fire-Eater!"

"Here there are no sirs," the showman answered severely.

"Have pity, Sir Knight!"

"Here there are no knights!"

"Have pity, Commander!"

"Here there are no commanders!"

"Have pity, Excellence!"

Upon hearing himself called Excellence the showman began to smile and became at once kinder and more tractable. Turning to Pinocchio, he asked:

"Well, what do you want from me?"

"I implore you to pardon poor Harlequin."

"For him there can be no pardon. As I have spared you he must be put on the fire, for I am determined that my mutton shall be well roasted."

"In that case," cried Pinocchio proudly, rising and throwing away his cap of bread crumb—"in that case I know my duty. Come on, gendarmes! Bind me and throw me amongst the flames. No, it is not just that poor Harlequin, my true friend, should die for me!"

These words, pronounced in a loud, heroic voice, made all the puppets who were present cry. Even the gendarmes, although they were made of wood, wept like two newly born lambs.

Fire-Eater at first remained as hard and unmoved as ice, but little by little he began to melt and to sneeze. And, having sneezed four or five times, he opened his arms affectionately and said to Pinocchio:

"You are a good, brave boy! Come here and give me a kiss."

Pinocchio ran at once and, climbing like a squirrel up the showman's beard, he deposited a hearty kiss on the point of his nose.

"Then the pardon is granted?" asked poor Harlequin in a faint voice that was scarcely audible.

"The pardon is granted!" answered Fire-Eater; he then added, sighing and shaking his head:

"I must have patience! Tonight I shall have to resign myself to eat the mutton half raw; but another time, woe to him who displeases me!"

At the news of the pardon the puppets all ran to the stage and, having lighted the lamps and chandeliers as if for a full-dress performance, they began to leap and to dance merrily. At dawn they were still dancing.



The following day Fire-Eater called Pinocchio to one side and asked him:

"What is your father's name?"


"And what trade does he follow?"

"He is a beggar."

"Does he gain much?"

"Gain much? Why, he has never a penny in his pocket. Only think, in order to buy a spelling-book so that I could go to school he was obliged to sell the only coat he had to wear—a coat that, between patches and darns, was not fit to be seen."

"Poor devil! I feel almost sorry for him! Here are five gold pieces. Go at once and take them to him with my compliments."

Pinocchio was overjoyed and thanked the showman a thousand times. He embraced all the puppets of the company one by one, even to the gendarmes, and set out to return home.

But he had not gone far when he met on the road a Fox lame of one foot, and a Cat blind of both eyes, and they were going along helping each other like good companions in misfortune. The Fox, who was lame, walked leaning on the Cat; and the Cat, who was blind, was guided by the Fox.

"Good-day, Pinocchio," said the Fox, greeting him politely.

"How do you come to know my name?" asked the puppet.

"I know your father well."

"Where did you see him?"

"I saw him yesterday at the door of his house."

"And what was he doing?"

"He was in his shirt-sleeves and shivering with cold."

"Poor papa! But that is over; for the future he shall shiver no more!"


"Because I have become a gentleman."

"A gentleman—you!" said the Fox, and he began to laugh rudely and scornfully. The Cat also began to laugh, but to conceal it she combed her whiskers with her forepaws.

"There is little to laugh at," cried Pinocchio angrily. "I am really sorry to make your mouth water, but if you know anything about it, you can see that these are five gold pieces."

Splash! Splash! They fell Into the
Very Middle of the Ditch

And he pulled out the money that Fire-Eater had given him.

At the jingling of the money the Fox, with an involuntary movement, stretched out the paw that seemed crippled, and the Cat opened wide two eyes that looked like two green lanterns. It is true that she shut them again, and so quickly that Pinocchio observed nothing.

"And now," asked the Fox, "what are you going to do with all that money?"

"First of all," answered the puppet, "I intend to buy a new coat for my papa, made of gold and silver, and with diamond buttons; and then I will buy a spelling-book for myself."

"For yourself?"

"Yes indeed, for I wish to go to school to study in earnest."

"Look at me!" said the Fox. "Through my foolish passion for study I have lost a leg."

"Look at me!" said the Cat. "Through my foolish passion for study I have lost the sight of both my eyes."

At that moment a white Blackbird, that was perched on the hedge by the road, began his usual song, and said:

"Pinocchio, don't listen to the advice of bad companions; if you do you will repent it!"

Poor Blackbird! If only he had not spoken! The Cat, with a great leap, sprang upon him, and without even giving him time to say "Oh!" ate him in a mouthful, feathers and all.

Having eaten him and cleaned her mouth she shut her eyes again and feigned blindness as before.

"Poor Blackbird!" said Pinocchio to the Cat, "why did you treat him so badly?"

"I did it to give him a lesson. He will learn another time not to meddle in other people's conversation."

They had gone almost half-way when the Fox, halting suddenly, said to the puppet:

"Would you like to double your money?"

"In what way?"

"Would you like to make out of your five miserable sovereigns, a hundred, a thousand, two thousand?"

"I should think so! but in what way?"

"The way is easy enough. Instead of returning home you must go with us."

"And where do you wish to take me?"

"To the land of the Owls."

Pinocchio reflected a moment, and then he said resolutely:

"No, I will not go. I am already close to the house, and I will return home to my papa, who is waiting for me. Who can tell how often the poor old man must have sighed yesterday when I did not come back! I have indeed been a bad son, and the Talking-Cricket was right when he said: 'Disobedient boys never come to any good in the world.' I have found it to be true, for many misfortunes have happened to me. Even yesterday in Fire-Eater's house I ran the risk—Oh! it makes me shudder only to think of it!"

"Well, then," said the Fox, "you are quite decided to go home? Go, then, and so much the worse for you."

"So much the worse for you!" repeated the Cat.

"Think well of it, Pinocchio, for you are giving a kick to fortune."

"To fortune!" repeated the Cat.

"Between today and tomorrow your five sovereigns would have become two thousand."

"Two thousand!" repeated the Cat.

"But how is it possible that they could become so many?" asked Pinocchio, remaining with his mouth open from astonishment.

"I will explain it to you at once," said the Fox. "You must know that in the land of the Owls there is a sacred field called by everybody the Field of Miracles. In this field you must dig a little hole, and you put into it, we will say, one gold sovereign. You then cover up the hole with a little earth; you must water it with two pails of water from the fountain, then sprinkle it with two pinches of salt, and when night comes you can go quietly to bed. In the meanwhile, during the night, the gold piece will grow and flower, and in the morning when you get up and return to the field, what do you find? You find a beautiful tree laden with as many gold sovereigns as a fine ear of corn has grains in the month of June."

"So that," said Pinocchio, more and more bewildered, "supposing I buried my five sovereigns in that field, how many should I find there the following morning?"

"That is an exceedingly easy calculation," replied the Fox, "a calculation that you can make on the ends of your fingers. Every sovereign will give you an increase of five hundred; multiply five hundred by five, and the following morning will find you with two thousand five hundred shining gold pieces in your pocket."

"Oh! how delightful!" cried Pinocchio, dancing for joy. "As soon as ever I have obtained those sovereigns, I will keep two thousand for myself and the other five hundred I will make a present of to you two."

"A present to us?" cried the Fox with indignation and appearing much offended. "What are you dreaming of?"

"What are you dreaming of?" repeated the Cat.

"We do not work," said the Fox, "for interest: we work solely to enrich others."

"Others!" repeated the Cat.

"What good people!" thought Pinocchio to himself, and, forgetting there and then his papa, the new coat, the spelling-book, and all his good resolutions, he said to the Fox and the Cat:

"Let us be off at once. I will go with you."