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The Adventures of Pinocchio
by C. Collodi
[Pseudonym of Carlo Lorenzini]

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How it happened that Mastro Cherry, carpenter,

found a piece of wood that wept and laughed like a child

Centuries ago there lived--

"A king!" my little readers will say immediately.

No, children, you are mistaken. Once upon a time

there was a piece of wood. It was not an expensive piece

of wood. Far from it. Just a common block of firewood,

one of those thick, solid logs that are put on the fire in

winter to make cold rooms cozy and warm.

I do not know how this really happened, yet the fact

remains that one fine day this piece of wood found itself

in the shop of an old carpenter. His real name was

Mastro Antonio, but everyone called him Mastro Cherry,

for the tip of his nose was so round and red and shiny

that it looked like a ripe cherry.

As soon as he saw that piece of wood, Mastro Cherry

was filled with joy. Rubbing his hands together happily,

he mumbled half to himself:

"This has come in the nick of time. I shall use it to

make the leg of a table."

He grasped the hatchet quickly to peel off the bark and

shape the wood. But as he was about to give it the first

blow, he stood still with arm uplifted, for he had heard a

wee, little voice say in a beseeching tone: "Please be careful!

Do not hit me so hard!"

What a look of surprise shone on Mastro Cherry's

face! His funny face became still funnier.

He turned frightened eyes about the room to find out

where that wee, little voice had come from and he saw

no one! He looked under the bench--no one! He peeped

inside the closet--no one! He searched among the shavings--

no one! He opened the door to look up and down

the street--and still no one!

"Oh, I see!" he then said, laughing and scratching his Wig.

"It can easily be seen that I only thought I heard the tiny

voice say the words! Well, well--to work once more."

He struck a most solemn blow upon the piece of wood.

"Oh, oh! You hurt!" cried the same far-away little voice.

Mastro Cherry grew dumb, his eyes popped out of his

head, his mouth opened wide, and his tongue hung down

on his chin.

As soon as he regained the use of his senses, he said,

trembling and stuttering from fright:

"Where did that voice come from, when there is no

one around? Might it be that this piece of wood has

learned to weep and cry like a child? I can hardly

believe it. Here it is--a piece of common firewood, good

only to burn in the stove, the same as any other. Yet--

might someone be hidden in it? If so, the worse for him.

I'll fix him!"

With these words, he grabbed the log with both hands

and started to knock it about unmercifully. He threw it

to the floor, against the walls of the room, and even up

to the ceiling.

He listened for the tiny voice to moan and cry.

He waited two minutes--nothing; five minutes--nothing;

ten minutes--nothing.

"Oh, I see," he said, trying bravely to laugh and

ruffling up his wig with his hand. "It can easily be seen

I only imagined I heard the tiny voice! Well, well--to

work once more!"

The poor fellow was scared half to death, so he tried

to sing a gay song in order to gain courage.

He set aside the hatchet and picked up the plane to

make the wood smooth and even, but as he drew it to

and fro, he heard the same tiny voice. This time it giggled

as it spoke:

"Stop it! Oh, stop it! Ha, ha, ha! You tickle my stomach."

This time poor Mastro Cherry fell as if shot. When

he opened his eyes, he found himself sitting on the floor.

His face had changed; fright had turned even the tip of

his nose from red to deepest purple.



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