THE INN OF THE RED CRAW-FISH
They walked, and walked, and walked, until at last, towards evening, they arrived, all tired out, at the inn of The Red Craw-Fish.
"Let us stop here a little," said the Fox, "that we may have something to eat, and rest ourselves for an hour or two. We will start again at midnight, so as to arrive at the Field of Miracles by dawn tomorrow morning."
Having gone into the inn they all three sat down to table, but none of them had any appetite.
The Cat, who was suffering from indigestion and feeling seriously indisposed, could only eat thirty-five fish with tomato sauce and four portions of tripe with Parmesan cheese; and because she thought the tripe was not seasoned enough, she asked three times for the butter and grated cheese!
The Fox would also willingly have picked a little, but as his doctor had ordered him a strict diet, he was forced to content himself simply with a hare dressed with a sweet and sour sauce, and garnished lightly with fat chickens and early pullets. After the hare he sent for a made dish of partridges, rabbits, frogs, lizards and other delicacies; he could not touch anything else. He cared so little for food, he said, that he could put nothing to his lips.
The one who ate the least was Pinocchio. He asked for some walnuts and a hunch of bread, and left everything on his plate. The poor boy's thoughts were continually fixed on the Field of Miracles.
When they had supped, the Fox said to the host:
"Give us two good rooms, one for Mr. Pinocchio, and the other for me and my companion. We will snatch a little sleep before we leave. Remember, however, that at midnight we wish to be called to continue our journey."
"Yes, gentlemen," answered the host, and he winked at the Fox and the Cat, as much as to say: "I know what you are up to. We understand one another!"
No sooner had Pinocchio got into bed than he fell asleep at once and began to dream. And he dreamed that he was in the middle of a field, and the field was full of shrubs covered with clusters of gold sovereigns, and as they swung in the wind they went zin, zin, zin, almost as if they would say: "Let who will, come and take us." But just as Pinocchio was stretching out his hand to pick handfuls of those beautiful gold pieces and to put them in his pocket, he was suddenly awakened by three violent blows on the door of his room.
It was the host who had come to tell him that midnight had struck.
"Are my companions ready?" asked the puppet.
"Ready! Why, they left two hours ago."
"Why were they in such a hurry?"
"Because the Cat had received a message to say that her eldest kitten was ill with chilblains on his feet and was in danger of death."
"Did they pay for the supper?"
"What are you thinking of? They are too well educated to dream of offering such an insult to a gentleman like you."
"What a pity! It is an insult that would have given me so much pleasure!" said Pinocchio, scratching his head. He then asked:
"And where did my good friends say they would wait for me?"
"At the Field of Miracles, tomorrow morning at daybreak."
Pinocchio paid a sovereign for his supper and that of his companions, and then left.
Outside the inn it was so pitch dark that he had almost to grope his way, for it was impossible to see a hand's breadth in front of him. Some night-birds flying across the road from one hedge to the other brushed Pinocchio's nose with their wings as they passed, which caused him so much terror that, springing back, he shouted: "Who goes there?" and the echo in the surrounding hills repeated in the distance: "Who goes there? Who goes there?"
As he was walking along he saw a little insect shining dimly on the trunk of a tree, like a night-light in a lamp of transparent china.
"Who are you?" asked Pinocchio.
"I am the ghost of the Talking-Cricket," answered the insect in a low voice, so weak and faint that it seemed to come from the other world.
"What do you want with me?" said the puppet.
"I want to give you some advice. Go back and take the four sovereigns that you have left to your poor father, who is weeping and in despair because you have not returned to him."
"By tomorrow my papa will be a gentleman, for these four sovereigns will have become two thousand."
"Don't trust to those who promise to make you rich in a day. Usually they are either mad or rogues! Give ear to me, and go back, my boy."
"On the contrary, I am determined to go on."
"The hour is late!"
"I am determined to go on."
"The night is dark!"
"I am determined to go on."
"The road is dangerous!"
"I am determined to go on."
"Remember that boys who are bent on following their caprices, and will have their own way, sooner or later repent it."
"Always the same stories. Good-night, Cricket."
"Good-night, Pinocchio, and may Heaven preserve you from dangers and from assassins."
No sooner had he said these words than the Talking-Cricket vanished suddenly like a light that has been blown out, and the road became darker than ever.
PINOCCHIO FALLS AMONGST ASSASSINS
"Really," said the puppet to himself, as he resumed his journey, "how unfortunate we poor boys are. Everybody scolds us and gives us good advice. See now; because I don't choose to listen to that tiresome Cricket, who knows, according to him, how many misfortunes are to happen to me! I am even to meet with assassins! That is, however, of little consequence, for I don't believe in assassins—I have never believed in them. For me, I think that assassins have been invented purposely by papas to frighten boys who want to go out at night. Besides, supposing I was to come across them here in the road, do you imagine they would frighten me? Not the least in the world. I should go to meet them and cry: 'Gentlemen assassins, what do you want with me? Remember that with me there is no joking. Therefore go about your business and be quiet!' At this speech they would run away like the wind. If, however, they were so badly educated as not to run away, why, then I would run away myself and there would be an end of it."
But Pinocchio had not time to finish his reasoning, for at that moment he thought that he heard a slight rustle of leaves behind him.
He turned to look and saw in the gloom two evil-looking black figures completely enveloped in charcoal sacks. They were running after him on tiptoe and making great leaps like two phantoms.
"Here they are in reality!" he said to himself and, not knowing where to hide his gold pieces, he put them in his mouth precisely under his tongue.
Then he tried to escape. But he had not gone a step when he felt himself seized by the arm and heard two horrid, sepulchral voices saying to him:
"Your money or your life!"
Pinocchio, not being able to answer in words, owing to the money that was in his mouth, made a thousand low bows and a thousand pantomimes. He tried thus to make the two muffled figures, whose eyes were only visible through the holes in their sacks, understand that he was a poor puppet, and that he had not as much as a counterfeit nickel in his pocket.
"Come, now! Less nonsense and out with the money!" cried the two brigands threateningly.
And the puppet made a gesture with his hands to signify: "I have none."
"Deliver up your money or you are dead," said the tallest of the brigands.
"Dead!" repeated the other.
"And after we have killed you, we will also kill your father!"
"Also your father!"
"No, no, no, not my poor papa!" cried Pinocchio in a despairing voice, and as he said it the sovereigns clinked in his mouth.
"Ah! you rascal! Then you have hidden your money under your tongue! Spit it out at once!"
Pinocchio was obstinate.
"Ah! you pretend to be deaf, do you? Wait a moment, leave it to us to find a means to make you give it up."
And one of them seized the puppet by the end of his nose, and the other took him by the chin, and began to pull them brutally, the one up and the other down, to force him to open his mouth. But it was all to no purpose. Pinocchio's mouth seemed to be nailed and riveted together.
Then the shorter assassin drew out an ugly knife and tried to put it between his lips like a lever or chisel. But Pinocchio, as quick as lightning, caught his hand with his teeth, and with one bite bit it clear off and spat it out. Imagine his astonishment when instead of a hand he perceived that a cat's paw lay on the ground.
Encouraged by this first victory he used his nails to such purpose that he succeeded in liberating himself from his assailants, and, jumping the hedge by the roadside, he began to fly across the country. The assassins ran after him like two dogs chasing a hare, and the one who had lost a paw ran on one leg, and no one ever knew how he managed it.
After a race of some miles Pinocchio could go no more. Giving himself up for lost, he climbed the trunk of a very high pine tree and seated himself in the topmost branches. The assassins attempted to climb after him, but when they had reached half-way up they slid down again and arrived on the ground with the skin grazed from their hands and knees.
But they were not to be beaten by so little; collecting a quantity of dry wood, they piled it beneath the pine and set fire to it. In less time than it takes to tell, the pine began to burn and to flame like a candle blown by the wind. Pinocchio, seeing that the flames were mounting higher every instant, and not wishing to end his life like a roasted pigeon, made a stupendous leap from the top of the tree and started afresh across the fields and vineyards. The assassins followed him, and kept behind him without once giving up.
The day began to break and they were still pursuing him. Suddenly Pinocchio found his way barred by a wide, deep ditch full of stagnant water the color of coffee. What was he to do? "One! two! three!" cried the puppet, and, making a rush, he sprang to the other side. The assassins also jumped, but not having measured the distance properly—splash! splash! they fell into the very middle of the ditch. Pinocchio, who heard the plunge and the splashing of the water, shouted out, laughing, and without stopping:
"A fine bath to you, gentleman assassins."
And he felt convinced that they were drowned, when, turning to look, he perceived that, on the contrary, they were both running after him, still enveloped in their sacks, with the water dripping from them as if they had been two hollow baskets.
THE ASSASSINS HANG PINOCCHIO TO THE BIG OAK
At this sight the puppet's courage failed him and he was on the point of throwing himself on the ground and giving himself over for lost. Turning, however, his eyes in every direction, he saw, at some distance, a small house as white as snow.
"If only I had breath to reach that house," he said to himself, "perhaps I should be saved."
And, without delaying an instant, he recommenced running for his life through the wood, and the assassins after him.
At last, after a desperate race of nearly two hours, he arrived quite breathless at the door of the house, and knocked.
No one answered.
He knocked again with great violence, for he heard the sound of steps approaching him and the heavy panting of his persecutors. The same silence.
Seeing that knocking was useless, he began in desperation to kick and pommel the door with all his might. The window then opened and a beautiful Child appeared at it. She had blue hair and a face as white as a waxen image; her eyes were closed and her hands were crossed on her breast. Without moving her lips in the least, she said, in a voice that seemed to come from the other world:
"In this house there is no one. They are all dead."
"Then at least open the door for me yourself," shouted Pinocchio, crying and imploring.
"I am dead also."
"Dead? Then what are you doing there at the window?"
"I am waiting for the bier to come to carry me away."
Having said this she immediately disappeared and the window was closed again without the slightest noise.
"Oh! beautiful Child with blue hair," cried Pinocchio, "open the door, for pity's sake! Have compassion on a poor boy pursued by assas—"
But he could not finish the word, for he felt himself seized by the collar and the same two horrible voices said to him threateningly:
"You shall not escape from us again!"
The puppet, seeing death staring him in the face, was taken with such a violent fit of trembling that the joints of his wooden legs began to creak, and the sovereigns hidden under his tongue to clink.
"Now, then," demanded the assassins, "will you open your mouth—yes or no? Ah! no answer? Leave it to us: this time we will force you to open it!"
And, drawing out two long, horrid knives as sharp as razors, clash!—they attempted to stab him twice.
But the puppet, luckily for him, was made of very hard wood; the knives therefore broke into a thousand pieces and the assassins were left with the handles in their hands, staring at each other.
"I see what we must do," said one of them. "He must be hung! let us hang him!"
"Let us hang him!" repeated the other.
Without loss of time they tied his arms behind him, passed a running noose round his throat, and hung him to the branch of a tree called the Big Oak.
They then sat down on the grass and waited for his last struggle. But at the end of three hours the puppet's eyes were still open, his mouth closed, and he was kicking more than ever.
Losing patience, they turned to Pinocchio and said in a bantering tone:
"Good-bye till tomorrow. Let us hope that when we return you will be polite enough to allow yourself to be found quite dead, and with your mouth wide open."
And they walked off.
In the meantime a tempestuous northerly wind began to blow and roar angrily, and it beat the poor puppet from side to side, making him swing violently, like the clatter of a bell ringing for a wedding. And the swinging gave him atrocious spasms, and the running noose, becoming still tighter round his throat, took away his breath.
Little by little his eyes began to grow dim, but although he felt that death was near he still continued to hope that some charitable person would come to his assistance before it was too late. But when, after waiting and waiting, he found that no one came, absolutely no one, then he remembered his poor father, and, thinking he was dying, he stammered out:
"Oh, papa! papa! if only you were here!"
His breath failed him and he could say no more. He shut his eyes, opened his mouth, stretched his legs, gave a long shudder, and hung stiff and insensible.
Four Rabbits as Black as Ink Entered
Carrying a Little Bier
THE BEAUTIFUL CHILD RESCUES THE PUPPET
While poor Pinocchio, suspended to a branch of the Big Oak, was apparently more dead than alive, the beautiful Child with blue hair came again to the window. When she saw the unhappy puppet hanging by his throat, and dancing up and down in the gusts of the north wind, she was moved by compassion. Striking her hands together, she gave three little claps.
At this signal there came a sound of the sweep of wings flying rapidly and a large Falcon flew on to the window-sill.
"What are your orders, gracious Fairy?" he asked, inclining his beak in sign of reverence.
"Do you see that puppet dangling from a branch of the Big Oak?"
"I see him."
"Very well. Fly there at once: with your strong beak break the knot that keeps him suspended in the air, and lay him gently on the grass at the foot of the tree."
The Falcon flew away and after two minutes he returned, saying:
"I have done as you commanded."
"And how did you find him?"
"To see him he appeared dead, but he cannot really be quite dead, for I had no sooner loosened the running noose that tightened his throat than, giving a sigh, he muttered in a faint voice: 'Now I feel better!'"
The Fairy then struck her hands together twice and a magnificent Poodle appeared, walking upright on his hind legs exactly as if he had been a man.
He was in the full-dress livery of a coachman. On his head he had a three-cornered cap braided with gold, his curly white wig came down on to his shoulders, he had a chocolate-colored waistcoat with diamond buttons, and two large pockets to contain the bones that his mistress gave him at dinner. He had, besides, a pair of short crimson velvet breeches, silk stockings, cut-down shoes, and hanging behind him a species of umbrella case made of blue satin, to put his tail into when the weather was rainy.
"Be quick, Medoro, like a good dog!" said the Fairy to the Poodle. "Have the most beautiful carriage in my coach-house harnessed, and take the road to the wood. When you come to the Big Oak you will find a poor puppet stretched on the grass half dead. Pick him up gently and lay him flat on the cushions of the carriage and bring him here to me. Do you understand?"
The Poodle, to show that he had understood, shook the case of blue satin three or four times and ran off like a race-horse.
Shortly afterwards a beautiful little carriage came out of the coach-house. The cushions were stuffed with canary feathers and it was lined on the inside with whipped cream, custard and vanilla wafers. The little carriage was drawn by a hundred pairs of white mice, and the Poodle, seated on the coach-box, cracked his whip from side to side like a driver when he is afraid that he is behind time.
Scarcely had a quarter of an hour passed, when the carriage returned. The Fairy, who was waiting at the door of the house, took the poor puppet in her arms and carried him into a little room that was wainscoted with mother-of-pearl. She sent at once to summon the most famous doctors in the neighborhood.
They came immediately, one after the other: namely, a Crow, an Owl, and a Talking-Cricket.
"I wish to know from you, gentlemen," said the Fairy, "if this unfortunate puppet is alive or dead!"
At this request the Crow, advancing first, felt Pinocchio's pulse; he then felt his nose and then the little toe of his foot: and, having done this carefully, he pronounced solemnly the following words:
"To my belief the puppet is already quite dead; but, if unfortunately he should not be dead, then it would be a sign that he is still alive!"
"I regret," said the Owl, "to be obliged to contradict the Crow, my illustrious friend and colleague; but, in my opinion the puppet is still alive; but, if unfortunately he should not be alive, then it would be a sign that he is dead indeed!"
"And you—have you nothing to say?" asked the Fairy of the Talking-Cricket.
"In my opinion, the wisest thing a prudent doctor can do, when he does not know what he is talking about, is to be silent. For the rest, that puppet there has a face that is not new to me. I have known him for some time!"
Pinocchio, who up to that moment had lain immovable, like a real piece of wood, was seized with a fit of convulsive trembling that shook the whole bed.
"That puppet there," continued the Talking-Cricket, "is a confirmed rogue."
Pinocchio opened his eyes, but shut them again immediately.
"He is a ragamuffin, a do-nothing, a vagabond."
Pinocchio hid his face beneath the clothes.
"That puppet there is a disobedient son who will make his poor father die of a broken heart!"
At that instant a suffocated sound of sobs and crying was heard in the room. Imagine everybody's astonishment when, having raised the sheets a little, it was discovered that the sounds came from Pinocchio.
"When a dead person cries, it is a sign that he is on the road to get well," said the Crow solemnly.
"I grieve to contradict my illustrious friend and colleague," added the Owl; "but for me, when the dead person cries, it is a sign that he is sorry to die."
PINOCCHIO WILL NOT TAKE HIS MEDICINE
As soon as the three doctors had left the room the Fairy approached Pinocchio and, having touched his forehead, she perceived that he was in a high fever.
She therefore dissolved a certain white powder in half a tumbler of water and, offering it to the puppet, she said to him lovingly:
"Drink it and in a few days you will be cured."
Pinocchio looked at the tumbler, made a wry face, and then asked in a plaintive voice:
"Is it sweet or bitter?"
"It is bitter, but it will do you good."
"If it is bitter, I will not take it."
"Listen to me: drink it."
"I don't like anything bitter."
"Drink it, and when you have drunk it I will give you a lump of sugar to take away the taste."
"Where is the lump of sugar?"
"Here it is," said the Fairy, taking a piece from a gold sugar-basin.
"Give me first the lump of sugar and then I will drink that bad bitter water."
"Do you promise me?"
The Fairy gave him the sugar and Pinocchio, having crunched it up and swallowed it in a second, said, licking his lips:
"It would be a fine thing if sugar were medicine! I would take it every day."
"Now keep your promise and drink these few drops of water, which will restore you to health."
Pinocchio took the tumbler unwillingly in his hand and put the point of his nose to it: he then approached it to his lips: he then again put his nose to it, and at last said:
"It is too bitter! too bitter! I cannot drink it."
"How can you tell that, when you have not even tasted it?"
"I can imagine it! I know it from the smell. I want first another lump of sugar and then I will drink it!"
The Fairy then, with all the patience of a good mamma, put another lump of sugar in his mouth, and again presented the tumbler to him.
"I cannot drink it so!" said the puppet, making a thousand grimaces.
"Because that pillow that is down there on my feet bothers me."
The Fairy removed the pillow.
"It is useless. Even so I cannot drink it."
"What is the matter now?"
"The door of the room, which is half open, bothers me."
The Fairy went and closed the door.
"In short," cried Pinocchio, bursting into tears, "I will not drink that bitter water—no, no, no!"
"My boy, you will repent it."
"I don't care."
"Your illness is serious."
"I don't care."
"The fever in a few hours will carry you into the other world."
"I don't care."
"Are you not afraid of death?"
"I am not in the least afraid! I would rather die than drink that bitter medicine."
At that moment the door of the room flew open and four rabbits as black as ink entered carrying on their shoulders a little bier.
"What do you want with me?" cried Pinocchio, sitting up in bed in a great fright.
"We have come to take you," said the biggest rabbit.
"To take me? But I am not yet dead!"
"No, not yet? but you have only a few minutes to live, as you have refused the medicine that would have cured you of the fever."
"Oh, Fairy, Fairy!" the puppet then began to scream, "give me the tumbler at once; be quick, for pity's sake, for I will not die—no, I will not die."
And, taking the tumbler in both hands, he emptied it at a gulp.
"We must have patience!" said the rabbits; "this time we have made our journey in vain." And, taking the little bier again on their shoulders, they left the room, grumbling and murmuring between their teeth.
In fact, a few minutes afterwards, Pinocchio jumped down from the bed quite well, because wooden puppets have the privilege of being seldom ill and of being cured very quickly.
The Fairy, seeing him running and rushing about the room as gay and as lively as a young cock, said to him:
"Then my medicine has really done you good?"
"Good? I should think so! It has restored me to life!"
"Then why on earth did you require so much persuasion to take it?"
"Because you see that we boys are all like that! We are more afraid of medicine than of the illness."
"Disgraceful! Boys ought to know that a good remedy taken in time may save them from a serious illness, and perhaps even from death."
"Oh! but another time I shall not require so much persuasion. I shall remember those black rabbits with the bier on their shoulders and then I shall immediately take the tumbler in my hand, and down it will go!"
"Now, come here to me and tell me how it came about that you fell into the hands of those assassins."
"You see, the showman, Fire-Eater, gave me some gold pieces and said to me: 'Go, and take them to your father!' and instead I met on the road a Fox and a Cat, who said to me: 'Would you like those pieces of gold to become a thousand or two? Come with us and we will take you to the Field of Miracles,' and I said: 'Let us go.' And they said: 'Let us stop at the inn of The Red Craw-Fish,' and after midnight they left. And when I awoke I found that they were no longer there, because they had gone away. Then I began to travel by night, for you cannot imagine how dark it was; and on that account I met on the road two assassins in charcoal sacks who said to me: 'Out with your money,' and I said to them: 'I have got none,' because I had hidden the four gold pieces in my mouth, and one of the assassins tried to put his hand in my mouth, and I bit his hand off and spat it out, but instead of a hand it was a cat's paw. And the assassins ran after me, and I ran, and ran, until at last they caught me and tied me by the neck to a tree in this wood, and said to me: 'Tomorrow we shall return here and then you will be dead with your mouth open and we shall be able to carry off the pieces of gold that you have hidden under your tongue."
"And the four pieces—where have you put them?" asked the Fairy.
"I have lost them!" said Pinocchio, but he was telling a lie, for he had them in his pocket.
He had scarcely told the lie when his nose, which was already long, grew at once two inches longer.
"And where did you lose them?"
"In the wood near here."
At this second lie his nose went on growing.
"If you have lost them in the wood near here," said the Fairy, "we will look for them and we shall find them: because everything that is lost in that wood is always found."
"Ah! now I remember all about it," replied the puppet, getting quite confused; "I didn't lose the four gold pieces, I swallowed them whilst I was drinking your medicine."
At this lie his nose grew to such an extraordinary length that poor Pinocchio could not move in any direction. If he turned to one side he struck his nose against the bed or the window-panes, if he turned to the other he struck it against the walls or the door, if he raised his head a little he ran the risk of sticking it into one of the Fairy's eyes.
And the Fairy looked at him and laughed.
"What are you laughing at?" asked the puppet, very confused and anxious at finding his nose growing so prodigiously.
"I am laughing at the lie you have told."
"And how can you possibly know that I have told a lie?"
"Lies, my dear boy, are found out immediately, because they are of two sorts. There are lies that have short legs, and lies that have long noses. Your lie, as it happens, is one of those that have a long nose."
Pinocchio, not knowing where to hide himself for shame, tried to run out of the room; but he did not succeed, for his nose had increased so much that it could no longer pass through the door.
PINOCCHIO AGAIN MEETS THE FOX AND THE CAT
The Fairy allowed the puppet to cry for a good half-hour over his nose, which could no longer pass through the door of the room. This she did to give him a severe lesson, and to correct him of the disgraceful fault of telling lies—the most disgraceful fault that a boy can have. But when she saw him quite disfigured and his eyes swollen out of his head from weeping, she felt full of compassion for him. She therefore beat her hands together and at that signal a thousand large birds called Woodpeckers flew in at the window. They immediately perched on Pinocchio's nose and began to peck at it with such zeal that in a few minutes his enormous and ridiculous nose was reduced to its usual dimensions.
"What a good Fairy you are," said the puppet, drying his eyes, "and how much I love you!"
"I love you also," answered the Fairy; "and if you will remain with me you shall be my little brother and I will be your good little sister."
"I would remain willingly if it were not for my poor papa."
"I have thought of everything. I have already let your father know, and he will be here tonight."
"Really?" shouted Pinocchio, jumping for joy. "Then, little Fairy, if you consent, I should like to go and meet him. I am so anxious to give a kiss to that poor old man, who has suffered so much on my account, that I am counting the minutes."
"Go, then, but be careful not to lose yourself. Take the road through the wood and I am sure that you will meet him."
Pinocchio set out, and as soon as he was in the wood he began to run like a kid. But when he had reached a certain spot, almost in front of the Big Oak, he stopped, because he thought he heard people amongst the bushes. In fact, two persons came out on to the road. Can you guess who they were? His two traveling companions, the Fox and the Cat, with whom he had supped at the inn of The Red Craw-Fish.
"Why, here is our dear Pinocchio!" cried the Fox, kissing and embracing him. "How came you to be here?"
"How come you to be here?" repeated the Cat.
"It is a long story," answered the puppet, "which I will tell you when I have time. But do you know that the other night, when you left me alone at the inn, I met with assassins on the road?"
"Assassins! Oh, poor Pinocchio! And what did they want?"
"They wanted to rob me of my gold pieces."
"Villains!" said the Fox.
"Infamous villains!" repeated the Cat.
"But I ran away from them," continued the puppet, "and they followed me, and at last they overtook me and hung me to a branch of that oak tree."
And Pinocchio pointed to the Big Oak, which was two steps from them.
"Is it possible to hear of anything more dreadful?" said the Fox. "In what a world we are condemned to live! Where can respectable people like us find a safe refuge?"
Whilst they were thus talking Pinocchio observed that the Cat was lame of her front right leg, for in fact she had lost her paw with all its claws. He therefore asked her:
"What have you done with your paw?"
The Cat tried to answer, but became confused. Therefore the Fox said immediately:
"My friend is too modest, and that is why she doesn't speak. I will answer for her. I must tell you that an hour ago we met an old wolf on the road, almost fainting from want of food, who asked alms of us. Not having so much as a fish-bone to give him, what did my friend, who has really the heart of a Cæsar, do? She bit off one of her fore paws and threw it to that poor beast that he might appease his hunger."
And the Fox, in relating this, dried a tear.
Pinocchio was also touched and, approaching the Cat, he whispered into her ear:
"If all cats resembled you, how fortunate the mice would be!"
"And now, what are you doing here?" asked the Fox of the puppet.
"I am waiting for my papa, whom I expect to arrive every moment."
"And your gold pieces?"
"I have got them in my pocket, all but one that I spent at the inn of The Red Craw-Fish."
"And to think that, instead of four pieces, by tomorrow they might become one or two thousand! Why do you not listen to my advice? Why will you not go and bury them in the Field of Miracles?"
"Today it is impossible; I will go another day."
"Another day it will be too late!" said the Fox.
"Because the field has been bought by a gentleman and after tomorrow no one will be allowed to bury money there."
"How far off is the Field of Miracles?"
"Not two miles. Will you come with us? In half an hour you will be there. You can bury your money at once, and in a few minutes you will collect two thousand, and this evening you will return with your pockets full. Will you come with us?"
Pinocchio thought of the good Fairy, old Geppetto, and the warnings of the Talking-Cricket, and he hesitated a little before answering. He ended, however, by doing as all boys do who have not a grain of sense and who have no heart—he ended by giving his head a little shake and saying to the Fox and the Cat:
"Let us go: I will come with you."
And they went.
After having walked half the day they reached a town that was called "Trap for Blockheads." As soon as Pinocchio entered this town he saw that the streets were crowded with dogs who were yawning from hunger, shorn sheep trembling with cold, cocks without combs begging for a grain of Indian corn, large butterflies that could no longer fly because they had sold their beautiful colored wings, peacocks which had no tails and were ashamed to be seen, and pheasants that went scratching about in a subdued fashion, mourning for their brilliant gold and silver feathers gone forever.
In the midst of this crowd of beggars and shamefaced creatures some lordly carriage passed from time to time containing a Fox, or a thieving Magpie, or some other ravenous bird of prey.
"And where is the Field of Miracles?" asked Pinocchio.
"It is here, not two steps from us."
They crossed the town and, having gone beyond the walls, they came to a solitary field.
"Here we are," said the Fox to the puppet. "Now stoop down and dig with your hands a little hole in the ground and put your gold pieces into it."
Pinocchio obeyed. He dug a hole, put into it the four gold pieces that he had left, and then filled up the hole with a little earth.
"Now, then," said the Fox, "go to that canal close to us, fetch a can of water, and water the ground where you have sowed them."
Pinocchio went to the canal, and, as he had no can, he took off one of his old shoes and filling it with water he watered the ground over the hole.
He then asked:
"Is there anything else to be done?"
"Nothing else," answered the Fox. "We can now go away. You can return in about twenty minutes and you will find a shrub already pushing through the ground, with its branches quite loaded with money."
The poor puppet, beside himself with joy, thanked the Fox and the Cat a thousand times, and promised them a beautiful present.
"We wish for no presents," answered the two rascals. "It is enough for us to have taught you the way to enrich yourself without undergoing hard work, and we are as happy as people out for a holiday."
Thus saying, they took leave of Pinocchio, and, wishing him a good harvest, went about their business.