Pinocchio: The Tale Of A Puppet Part 4

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Click to read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

CHAPTER XIX

PINOCCHIO IS ROBBED OF HIS MONEY

The puppet returned to the town and began to count the minutes one by one, and when he thought that it must be time he took the road leading to the Field of Miracles.

And as he walked along with hurried steps his heart beat fast—tic, tac, tic, tac—like a drawing-room clock when it is really going well. Meanwhile he was thinking to himself:

"And if, instead of a thousand gold pieces, I were to find on the branches of the tree two thousand? And instead of two thousand, supposing I found five thousand? and instead of five thousand, that I found a hundred thousand? Oh! what a fine gentleman I should then become! I would have a beautiful palace, a thousand little wooden horses and a thousand stables to amuse myself with, a cellar full of currant wine and sweet syrups, and a library quite full of candies, tarts, plum-cakes, macaroons, and biscuits with cream."

Whilst he was building these castles in the air he had arrived in the neighborhood of the field, and he stopped to look about for a tree with its branches laden with money, but he saw nothing. He advanced another hundred steps—nothing; he entered the field and went right up to the little hole where he had buried his sovereigns—and nothing. He then became very thoughtful and, forgetting the rules of society and good manners, he took his hands out of his pocket and gave his head a long scratch.

At that moment he heard an explosion of laughter close to him and, looking up, he saw a large Parrot perched on a tree, who was pruning the few feathers he had left.

"Why are you laughing?" asked Pinocchio in an angry voice.

"I am laughing because in pruning my feathers I tickled myself under my wings."

The puppet did not answer, but went to the canal and, filling the same old shoe full of water, he proceeded to water the earth afresh that covered his gold pieces.

While he was thus occupied another laugh, still more impertinent than the first, rang out in the silence of that solitary place.

"Once for all," shouted Pinocchio in a rage, "may I know, you ill-educated Parrot, what you are laughing at?"

"I am laughing at those simpletons who believe in all the foolish things that are told them, and who allow themselves to be entrapped by those who are more cunning than they are."

"Are you perhaps speaking of me?"

"Yes, I am speaking of you, poor Pinocchio—of you who are simple enough to believe that money can be sown and gathered in fields in the same way as beans and gourds. I also believed it once and today I am suffering for it. Today—but it is too late—I have at last learned that to put a few pennies honestly together it is necessary to know how to earn them, either by the work of our own hands or by the cleverness of our own brains."

"I don't understand you," said the puppet, who was already trembling with fear.

"Have patience! I will explain myself better," rejoined the Parrot. "You must know, then, that while you were in the town the Fox and the Cat returned to the field; they took the buried money and then fled like the wind. And now he that catches them will be clever."

Pinocchio remained with his mouth open and, not choosing to believe the Parrot's words, he began with his hands and nails to dig up the earth that he had watered. And he dug, and dug, and dug, and made such a deep hole that a rick of straw might have stood upright in it, but the money was no longer there.

He rushed back to the town in a state of desperation and went at once to the Courts of Justice to denounce the two knaves who had robbed him to the judge.

The judge was a big ape of the gorilla tribe, an old ape respectable for his age, his white beard, but especially for his gold spectacles without glasses that he was always obliged to wear, on account of an inflammation of the eyes that had tormented him for many years.

Pinocchio related in the presence of the judge all the particulars of the infamous fraud of which he had been the victim. He gave the names, the surnames, and other details, of the two rascals, and ended by demanding justice.

The judge listened with great benignity; took a lively interest in the story; was much touched and moved; and when the puppet had nothing further to say he stretched out his hand and rang a bell.

At this summons two mastiffs immediately appeared dressed as gendarmes. The judge then, pointing to Pinocchio, said to them:

"That poor devil has been robbed of four gold pieces; take him away and put him immediately into prison."

The puppet was petrified on hearing this unexpected sentence and tried to protest; but the gendarmes, to avoid losing time, stopped his mouth and carried him off to the lockup.

And there he remained for four months—four long months—and he would have remained longer still if a fortunate chance had not released him. The young Emperor who reigned over the town of "Trap for Blockheads," having won a splendid victory over his enemies, ordered great public rejoicings. There were illuminations, fireworks, horse races and velocipede races, and as a further sign of triumph he commanded that the prisons should be opened and all the prisoners freed.

"If the others are to be let out of prison, I will go also," said Pinocchio to the jailor.

"No, not you," said the jailor, "because you do not belong to the fortunate class."

"I beg your pardon," replied Pinocchio, "I am also a criminal."

"In that case you are perfectly right," said the jailor, and, taking off his hat and bowing to him respectfully, he opened the prison doors and let him escape.

CHAPTER XX

PINOCCHIO STARTS BACK TO THE FAIRY'S HOUSE

You can imagine Pinocchio's joy when he found himself free. Without stopping to take breath he immediately left the town and took the road that led to the Fairy's house.

On account of the rainy weather the road had become a marsh into which he sank knee-deep. But the puppet would not give in. Tormented by the desire of seeing his father and his little sister with blue hair again, he ran on like a greyhound, and as he ran he was splashed with mud from head to foot. And he said to himself as he went along: "How many misfortunes have happened to me. But I deserved them, for I am an obstinate, passionate puppet. I am always bent upon having my own way, without listening to those who wish me well, and who have a thousand times more sense than I have! But from this time forth I am determined to change and to become orderly and obedient. For at last I have seen that disobedient boys come to no good and gain nothing. And has my papa waited for me? Shall I find him at the Fairy's house? Poor man, it is so long since I last saw him: I am dying to embrace him and to cover him with kisses! And will the Fairy forgive me my bad conduct to her? To think of all the kindness and loving care I received from her, to think that if I am now alive I owe it to her! Would it be possible to find a more ungrateful boy, or one with less heart than I have?"

Whilst he was saying this he stopped suddenly, frightened to death, and made four steps backwards.

What had he seen?

He had seen an immense Serpent stretched across the road. Its skin was green, it had red eyes, and a pointed tail that was smoking like a chimney.

It would be impossible to imagine the puppet's terror. He walked away to a safe distance and, sitting down on a heap of stones, waited until the Serpent should have gone about its business and left the road clear.

He waited an hour; two hours; three hours; but the Serpent was always there, and even from a distance he could see the red light of his fiery eyes and the column of smoke that ascended from the end of his tail.

At last Pinocchio, trying to feel courageous, approached to within a few steps, and said to the Serpent in a little soft, insinuating voice:

"Excuse me. Sir Serpent, but would you be so good as to move a little to one side—just enough to allow me to pass?"

He might as well have spoken to the wall. Nobody moved.

He began again in the same soft voice:

"You must know. Sir Serpent, that I am on my way home, where my father is waiting for me, and it is such a long time since I saw him last! Will you, therefore, allow me to continue my road?"

He waited for a sign in answer to this request, but there was none; in fact, the Serpent, who up to that moment had been sprightly and full of life, became motionless and almost rigid. He shut his eyes and his tail ceased smoking.

"Can he really be dead?" said Pinocchio, rubbing his hands with delight. He determined to jump over him and reach the other side of the road. But, just as he was going to leap, the Serpent raised himself suddenly on end, like a spring set in motion; and the puppet, drawing back, in his terror caught his feet and fell to the ground.

And he fell so awkwardly that his head stuck in the mud and his legs went into the air.

At the sight of the puppet kicking violently with his head in the mud, the Serpent went into convulsions of laughter, and laughed, and laughed, until he broke a blood-vessel in his chest and died. And that time he was really dead.

Pinocchio then set off running, in hopes that he should reach the Fairy's house before dark. But before long he began to suffer so dreadfully from hunger that he could not bear it, and he jumped into a field by the wayside, intending to pick some bunches of Muscatel grapes. Oh, that he had never done it!

He had scarcely reached the vines when crack—his legs were caught between two cutting iron bars and he became so giddy with pain that stars of every color danced before his eyes.

The poor puppet had been taken in a trap put there to capture some big polecats which were the scourge of the poultry-yards in the neighborhood.

CHAPTER XXI

PINOCCHIO ACTS AS WATCH-DOG

Pinocchio began to cry and scream, but his tears and groans were useless, for there was not a house to be seen, and not a living soul passed down the road.

At last night came on.

Partly from the pain of the trap, that cut his legs, and a little from fear at finding himself alone in the dark in the midst of the fields, the puppet was on the point of fainting. Just at that moment he saw a Firefly flitting over his head. He called to it and said:

"Oh, little Firefly, will you have pity on me and liberate me from this torture?"

"Poor boy!" said the Firefly, stopping and looking at him with compassion; "but how could your legs have been caught by those sharp irons?"

"I came into the field to pick two bunches of these Muscatel grapes, and—"

"But were the grapes yours?"

"No."

"Then who taught you to carry off other people's property?"

"I was so hungry."

"Hunger, my boy, is not a good reason for appropriating what does not belong to us."

"That is true, that is true!" said Pinocchio, crying. "I will never do it again."

At this moment their conversation was interrupted by a slight sound of approaching footsteps. It was the owner of the field coming on tiptoe to see if one of the polecats that ate his chickens during the night had been caught in his trap.

His astonishment was great when, having brought out his lantern from under his coat, he perceived that instead of a polecat a boy had been taken.

"Ah, little thief," said the angry peasant, "then it is you who carries off my chickens?"

"No, it is not I; indeed it is not!" cried Pinocchio, sobbing. "I only came into the field to take two bunches of grapes!"

"He who steals grapes is quite capable of stealing chickens. Leave it to me, I will give you a lesson that you will not forget in a hurry."

Opening the trap, he seized the puppet by the collar and carried him to his house as if he had been a young lamb.

When he reached the yard in front of the house he threw him roughly on the ground and, putting his foot on his neck, he said to him:

"It is late and I want to go to bed; we will settle our accounts tomorrow. In the meanwhile, as the dog who kept guard at night died today, you shall take his place at once. You shall be my watch-dog."

And, taking a great collar covered with brass knobs, he strapped it so tightly round his throat that he was not able to draw his head out of it. A heavy chain attached to the collar was fastened to the wall.

"If it should rain tonight," he then said to him, "you can go and lie down in the kennel; the straw that has served as a bed for my poor dog for the last four years is still there. If unfortunately robbers should come, remember to keep your ears pricked and to bark."

After giving him this last injunction the man went into the house, shut the door, and put up the chain.

Poor Pinocchio remained lying on the ground more dead than alive from the effects of cold, hunger and fear. From time to time he put his hands angrily to the collar that tightened his throat and said, crying:

"It serves me right! Decidedly, it serves me right! I was determined to be a vagabond and a good-for-nothing. I would listen to bad companions, and that is why I always meet with misfortunes. If I had been a good little boy, as so many are; if I had remained at home with my poor papa, I should not now be in the midst of the fields and obliged to be the watch-dog to a peasant's house. Oh, if I could be born again! But now it is too late and I must have patience!"

Relieved by this little outburst, which came straight from his heart, he went into the dog-kennel and fell asleep.

CHAPTER XXII

PINOCCHIO DISCOVERS THE ROBBERS

He had been sleeping heavily for about two hours when, towards midnight, he was aroused by a whispering of strange voices that seemed to come from the courtyard. Putting the point of his nose out of the kennel, he saw four little beasts with dark fur, that looked like cats, standing consulting together. But they were not cats; they were polecats—carnivorous little animals, especially greedy for eggs and young chickens. One of the polecats, leaving his companions, came to the opening of the kennel and said in a low voice:

"Good evening, Melampo."

"My name is not Melampo," answered the puppet.

"Oh! then who are you?"

"I am Pinocchio."

"And what are you doing here?"

"I am acting as watch-dog."

"Then where is Melampo? Where is the old dog who lived in this kennel?"

"He died this morning."

"Is he dead? Poor beast! He was so good. But, judging you by your face, I should say that you were also a good dog."

"I beg your pardon, I am not a dog."

"Not a dog? Then what are you?"

"I am a puppet."

"And you are acting as watch-dog?"

"That is only too true—as a punishment."

"Well, then, I will offer you the same conditions that we made with the deceased Melampo, and I am sure you will be satisfied with them."

"What are these conditions?"

"One night in every week you are to permit us to visit this poultry-yard as we have hitherto done, and to carry off eight chickens. Of these chickens seven are to be eaten by us, and one we will give to you, on the express understanding, however, that you pretend to be asleep, and that it never enters your head to bark and to waken the peasant."

"Did Melampo act in this manner?" asked Pinocchio.

"Certainly, and we were always on the best terms with him. Sleep quietly, and rest assured that before we go we will leave by the kennel a beautiful chicken ready plucked for your breakfast tomorrow. Have we understood each other clearly?"

"Only too clearly!" answered Pinocchio, and he shook his head threateningly, as much as to say: "You shall hear of this shortly!"

The four polecats, thinking themselves safe, repaired to the poultry-yard, which was close to the kennel, and, having opened the wooden gate with their teeth and claws, they slipped in one by one. But they had only just passed through when they heard the gate shut behind them with great violence.

It was Pinocchio who had shut it, and for greater security he put a large stone against it to keep it closed.

He then began to bark, and he barked exactly like a watch-dog: "Bow-wow, bow-wow."

Hearing the barking, the peasant jumped out of bed and, taking his gun, he came to the window and asked:

"What is the matter?"

"There are robbers!" answered Pinocchio.

"Where are they?"

"In the poultry-yard."

"I will come down directly."

In fact, in less time than it takes to say "Amen!" the peasant came down. He rushed into the poultry-yard, caught the polecats, and, having put them into a sack, he said to them in a tone of great satisfaction:

"At last you have fallen into my hands! I might punish you, but I am not so cruel. I will content myself instead by carrying you in the morning to the innkeeper of the neighboring village, who will skin and cook you as hares with a sweet and sour sauce. It is an honor that you don't deserve, but generous people like me don't consider such trifles!"

He then approached Pinocchio and began to caress him, and amongst other things he asked him:

"How did you manage to discover the four thieves? To think that Melampo, my faithful Melampo, never found out anything!"

The puppet might then have told him the whole story; he might have informed him of the disgraceful conditions that had been made between the dog and the polecats; but he remembered that the dog was dead and he thought to himself:

"What is the good of accusing the dead? The dead are dead, and the best thing to be done is to leave them in peace!"

"When the thieves got into the yard, were you asleep or awake?" the peasant went on to ask him.

"I was asleep," answered Pinocchio, "but the polecats woke me with their chatter and one of them came to the kennel and said to me: 'If you promise not to bark, and not to wake the master, we will make you a present of a fine chicken ready plucked!' To think that they should have had the audacity to make such a proposal to me! For, although I am a puppet, possessing perhaps nearly all the faults in the world, there is one that I certainly will never be guilty of, that of making terms with, and sharing the gains of, dishonest people!"

"Well said, my boy!" cried the peasant, slapping him on the shoulder. "Such sentiments do you honor; and as a proof of my gratitude I will at once set you at liberty, and you may return home."

And he removed the dog-collar.

CHAPTER XXIII

PINOCCHIO FLIES TO THE SEASHORE

As soon as Pinocchio was released from the heavy and humiliating weight of the dog-collar he started off across the fields and never stopped until he had reached the high road that led to the Fairy's house. He could see amongst the trees the top of the Big Oak to which he had been hung, but, although he looked in every direction, the little house belonging to the beautiful Child with the blue hair was nowhere visible.

Seized with a sad presentiment, he began to run with all the strength he had left and in a few minutes he reached the field where the little white house had once stood. But it was no longer there. Instead of the house he saw a marble stone, on which were engraved these sad words:

HERE LIES
THE CHILD WITH THE BLUE HAIR
WHO DIED FROM SORROW
BECAUSE SHE WAS ABANDONED BY HER
LITTLE BROTHER PINOCCHIO

I leave you to imagine the puppet's feelings when he had with difficulty spelled out this epitaph. He fell with his face on the ground and, covering the tombstone with a thousand kisses, burst into an agony of tears. He cried all night and when morning came he was still crying, although he had no tears left, and his sobs and lamentations were so acute and heart-breaking that they aroused the echoes in the surrounding hills.

And as he wept he said:

"Oh, little Fairy, why did you die? Why did I not die instead of you, I who am so wicked, whilst you were so good? And my papa? Where can he be? Oh, little Fairy, tell me where I can find him, for I want to remain with him always and never leave him again, never again! Oh, little Fairy, tell me that it is not true that you are dead! If you really love your little brother, come to life again. Does it not grieve you to see me alone and abandoned by everybody? If assassins come they will hang me again to the branch of a tree, and then I should die indeed. What do you imagine that I can do here alone in the world? Now that I have lost you and my papa, who will give me food? Where shall I go to sleep at night? Who will make me a new jacket? Oh, it would be better, a hundred times better, for me to die also! Yes, I want to die—oh! oh! oh!"

And in his despair he tried to tear his hair, but his hair was made of wood so he could not even have the satisfaction of sticking his fingers into it.

An Immense Serpent Stretched
Across the Road

Just then a large Pigeon flew over his head and, stopping with distended wings, called down to him from a great height:

"Tell me, child, what are you doing there?"

"Don't you see? I am crying!" said Pinocchio, raising his head towards the voice and rubbing his eyes with his jacket.

"Tell me," continued the Pigeon, "amongst your companions, do you happen to know a puppet who is called Pinocchio?"

"Pinocchio? Did you say Pinocchio?" repeated the puppet, jumping quickly to his feet. "I am Pinocchio!"

At this answer the Pigeon descended rapidly to the ground. He was larger than a turkey.

"Do you also know Geppetto?" he asked.

"Do I know him! He is my poor papa! Has he perhaps spoken to you of me? Will you take me to him? Is he still alive? Answer me, for pity's sake: is he still alive?"

"I left him three days ago on the seashore."

"What was he doing?"

"He was building a little boat for himself, to cross the ocean. For more than three months that poor man has been going all round the world looking for you. Not having succeeded in finding you, he has now taken it into his head to go to the distant countries of the New World in search of you."

"How far is it from here to the shore?" asked Pinocchio breathlessly.

"More than six hundred miles."

"Six hundred miles? Oh, beautiful Pigeon, what a fine thing it would be to have your wings!"

"If you wish to go, I will carry you there."

"How?"

"On my back. Do you weigh much?"

"I weigh next to nothing. I am as light as a feather."

And without waiting for more Pinocchio jumped at once on the Pigeon's back and, putting a leg on each side of him as men do on horseback, he exclaimed joyfully:

"Gallop, gallop, my little horse, for I am anxious to arrive quickly!"

The Pigeon took flight and in a few minutes had soared so high that they almost touched the clouds. Finding himself at such an immense height the puppet had the curiosity to turn and look down; but his head spun round and he became so frightened to save himself from the danger of falling he wound his arms tightly round the neck of his feathered steed.

They flew all day. Towards evening the Pigeon said:

"I am very thirsty!"

"And I am very hungry!" rejoined Pinocchio.

"Let us stop at that dovecote for a few minutes and then we will continue our journey, so that we may reach the seashore by dawn tomorrow."

They went into a deserted dovecote, where they found nothing but a basin full of water and a basket full of vetch.

The puppet had never in his life been able to eat vetch: according to him it made him sick. That evening, however, he ate to repletion, and when he had nearly emptied the basket he turned to the Pigeon and said to him:

"I never could have believed that vetch was so good!"

"Be assured, my boy," replied the Pigeon, "that when hunger is real, and there is nothing else to eat, even vetch becomes delicious. Hunger knows neither caprice nor greediness."

Having quickly finished their little meal they recommenced their journey and flew away. The following morning they reached the seashore.

The Pigeon placed Pinocchio on the ground and, not wishing to be troubled with thanks for having done a good action, flew quickly away and disappeared.

The shore was crowded with people who were looking out to sea, shouting and gesticulating.

"What has happened?" asked Pinocchio of an old woman.

"A poor father who has lost his son has gone away in a boat to search for him on the other side of the water, and today the sea is tempestuous and the little boat is in danger of sinking."

"Where is the little boat?"

"It is out there in a line with my finger," said the old woman, pointing to a little boat which, seen at that distance, looked like a nutshell with a very little man in it.

Pinocchio fixed his eyes on it and after looking attentively he gave a piercing scream, crying:

"It is my papa! It is my papa!"

The boat, meanwhile, beaten by the fury of the waves, at one moment disappeared in the trough of the sea, and the next came again to the surface. Pinocchio, standing on the top of a high rock, kept calling to his father by name, and making every kind of signal to him with his hands, his handkerchief, and his cap.

And, although he was so far off, Geppetto appeared to recognize his son, for he also took off his cap and waved it, and tried by gestures to make him understand that he would have returned if it had been possible, but that the sea was so tempestuous that he could not use his oars or approach the shore.

Suddenly a tremendous wave rose and the boat disappeared. They waited, hoping it would come again to the surface, but it was seen no more.

"Poor man!" said the fishermen who were assembled on the shore; murmuring a prayer, they turned to go home.

Just then they heard a desperate cry and, looking back, they saw a little boy who exclaimed, as he jumped from a rock into the sea:

"I will save my papa!"

Pinocchio, being made of wood, floated easily and he swam like a fish. At one moment they saw him disappear under the water, carried down by the fury of the waves, and next he reappeared struggling with a leg or an arm. At last they lost sight of him and he was seen no more.

CHAPTER XXIV

PINOCCHIO FINDS THE FAIRY AGAIN

Pinocchio, hoping to be in time to help his father, swam the whole night.

And what a horrible night it was! The rain came down in torrents, it hailed, the thunder was frightful, and the flashes of lightning made it as light as day.

Towards morning he saw a long strip of land not far off. It was an island in the midst of the sea.

He tried his utmost to reach the shore, but it was all in vain. The waves, racing and tumbling over each other, knocked him about as if he had been a stick or a wisp of straw. At last, fortunately for him, a billow rolled up with such fury and impetuosity that he was lifted up and thrown far on to the sands.

He fell with such force that, as he struck the ground, his ribs and all his joints cracked, but he comforted himself, saying:

"This time also I have made a wonderful escape!"

Little by little the sky cleared, the sun shone out in all his splendor, and the sea became as quiet and as smooth as oil.

The puppet put his clothes in the sun to dry and began to look in every direction in hopes of seeing on the vast expanse of water a little boat with a little man in it. But, although he looked and looked, he could see nothing but the sky, and the sea, and the sail of some ship, but so far away that it seemed no bigger than a fly.

"If I only knew what this island was called!" he said to himself. "If I only knew whether it was inhabited by civilized people—I mean, by people who have not the bad habit of hanging boys to the branches of the trees. But whom can I ask? Whom, if there is nobody?"

This idea of finding himself alone, alone, all alone, in the midst of this great uninhabited country, made him so melancholy that he was just beginning to cry. But at that moment, at a short distance from the shore, he saw a big fish swimming by; it was going quietly on its own business with its head out of the water.

Not knowing its name, the puppet called to it in a loud voice to make himself heard:

"Eh, Sir Fish, will you permit me a word with you?"

"Two if you like," answered the fish, who was a Dolphin, and so polite that few similar are to be found in any sea in the world.

"Will you be kind enough to tell me if there are villages in this island where it would be possible to obtain something to eat, without running the danger of being eaten?"

"Certainly there are," replied the Dolphin. "Indeed, you will find one at a short distance from here."

"And what road must I take to go there?"

"You must take that path to your left and follow your nose. You cannot make a mistake."

"Will you tell me another thing? You who swim about the sea all day and all night, have you by chance met a little boat with my papa in it?"

"And who is your papa?"

"He is the best papa in the world, whilst it would be difficult to find a worse son than I am."

"During the terrible storm last night," answered the Dolphin, "the little boat must have gone to the bottom."

"And my papa?"

"He must have been swallowed by the terrible Dog-Fish, who for some days past has been spreading devastation and ruin in our waters."

"Is this Dog-Fish very big?" asked Pinocchio, who was already beginning to quake with fear.

"Big!" replied the Dolphin. "That you may form some idea of his size, I need only tell you that he is bigger than a five-storied house, and that his mouth is so enormous and so deep that a railway train with its smoking engine could pass down his throat."

"Mercy upon us!" exclaimed the terrified puppet; and, putting on his clothes with the greatest haste, he said to the Dolphin:

"Good-bye, Sir Fish; excuse the trouble I have given you, and many thanks for your politeness."

He then took the path that had been pointed out to him and began to walk fast—so fast, indeed, that he was almost running. And at the slightest noise he turned to look behind him, fearing that he might see the terrible Dog-Fish with a railway train in its mouth following him.

After a walk of half an hour he reached a little village called "The Village of the Industrious Bees." The road was alive with people running here and there to attend to their business; all were at work, all had something to do. You could not have found an idler or a vagabond, not even if you had searched for him with a lighted lamp.

"Ah!" said that lazy Pinocchio at once, "I see that this village will never suit me! I wasn't born to work!"

In the meanwhile he was tormented by hunger, for he had eaten nothing for twenty-four hours—not even vetch. What was he to do?

There were only two ways by which he could obtain food—either by asking for a little work, or by begging for a nickel or for a mouthful of bread.

He was ashamed to beg, for his father had always preached to him that no one had a right to beg except the aged and the infirm. The really poor in this world, deserving of compassion and assistance, are only those who from age or sickness are no longer able to earn their own bread with the labor of their hands. It is the duty of every one else to work; and if they will not work, so much the worse for them if they suffer from hunger.

At that moment a man came down the road, tired and panting for breath. He was dragging, alone, with fatigue and difficulty, two carts full of charcoal.

Pinocchio, judging by his face that he was a kind man, approached him and, casting down his eyes with shame, he said to him in a low voice:

"Would you have the charity to give me a nickel, for I am dying of hunger?"

"You shall have not only a nickel," said the man, "but I will give you a quarter, provided that you help me to drag home these two carts of charcoal."

"I am surprised at you!" answered the puppet in a tone of offense. "Let me tell you that I am not accustomed to do the work of a donkey: I have never drawn a cart!"

"So much the better for you," answered the man. "Then, my boy, if you are really dying of hunger, eat two fine slices of your pride, and be careful not to get indigestion."

A few minutes afterwards a mason passed down the road carrying on his shoulders a basket of lime.

"Would you have the charity, good man, to give a nickel to a poor boy who is yawning for want of food?"

"Willingly," answered the man. "Come with me and carry the lime, and instead of a nickel I will give you a quarter."

"But the lime is heavy," objected Pinocchio, "and I don't want to tire myself."

"If you don't want to tire yourself, then, my boy, amuse yourself with yawning, and much good may it do you."

In less than half an hour twenty other people went by, and Pinocchio asked charity of them all, but they all answered:

"Are you not ashamed to beg? Instead of idling about the roads, go and look for a little work and learn to earn your bread."

At last a nice little woman carrying two cans of water came by.

"Will you let me drink a little water out of your can?" asked Pinocchio, who was burning with thirst.

"Drink, my boy, if you wish it!" said the little woman, setting down the two cans.

Pinocchio drank like a fish, and as he dried his mouth he mumbled:

"I have quenched my thirst. If I could only appease my hunger!"

The good woman, hearing these words, said at once:

"If you will help me to carry home these two cans of water I will give you a fine piece of bread."

Pinocchio looked at the can and answered neither yes nor no.

"And besides the bread you shall have a nice dish of cauliflower dressed with oil and vinegar," added the good woman.

Pinocchio gave another look at the can and answered neither yes nor no.

"And after the cauliflower I will give you a beautiful bonbon full of syrup."

The temptation of this last dainty was so great that Pinocchio could resist no longer and with an air of decision he said:

"I must have patience! I will carry the can to your house."

The can was heavy and the puppet, not being strong enough to carry it in his hand, had to resign himself to carry it on his head.

When they reached the house the good little woman made Pinocchio sit down at a small table already laid and she placed before him the bread, the cauliflower and the bonbon.

Pinocchio did not eat, he devoured. His stomach was like an apartment that had been left empty and uninhabited for five months.

When his ravenous hunger was somewhat appeased he raised his head to thank his benefactress, but he had no sooner looked at her than he gave a prolonged "Oh-h!" of astonishment and continued staring at her with wide open eyes, his fork in the air, and his mouth full of bread and cauliflower, as if he had been bewitched.

"What has surprised you so much?" asked the good woman, laughing.

"It is—" answered the puppet, "it is—it is—that you are like—that you remind me—yes, yes, yes, the same voice—the same eyes—the same hair—yes, yes, yes—you also have blue hair—as she had—Oh, little Fairy! tell me that it is you, really you! Do not make me cry any more! If you knew—I have cried so much, I have suffered so much."

And, throwing himself at her feet on the floor, Pinocchio embraced the knees of the mysterious little woman and began to cry bitterly.