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| Home | Reading Room The Adventures of Pinocchio

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

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The Assassins chase Pinocchio, catch him,

and hang him to the branch of a giant oak tree

As he ran, the Marionette felt more and more certain that

he would have to give himself up into the hands of his

pursuers. Suddenly he saw a little cottage gleaming white

as the snow among the trees of the forest.

"If I have enough breath left with which to reach that

little house, I may be saved," he said to himself.

Not waiting another moment, he darted swiftly through

the woods, the Assassins still after him.

After a hard race of almost an hour, tired and out of

breath, Pinocchio finally reached the door of the cottage

and knocked. No one answered.

He knocked again, harder than before, for behind him

he heard the steps and the labored breathing of his

persecutors. The same silence followed.

As knocking was of no use, Pinocchio, in despair,

began to kick and bang against the door, as if he wanted

to break it. At the noise, a window opened and a lovely

maiden looked out. She had azure hair and a face white

as wax. Her eyes were closed and her hands crossed on

her breast. With a voice so weak that it hardly could be

heard, she whispered:

"No one lives in this house. Everyone is dead."

"Won't you, at least, open the door for me?"

cried Pinocchio in a beseeching voice.

"I also am dead."

"Dead? What are you doing at the window, then?"

"I am waiting for the coffin to take me away."

After these words, the little girl disappeared and the

window closed without a sound.

"Oh, Lovely Maiden with Azure Hair," cried

Pinocchio, "open, I beg of you. Take pity on a poor boy who

is being chased by two Assass--"

He did not finish, for two powerful hands grasped him

by the neck and the same two horrible voices growled

threateningly: "Now we have you!"

The Marionette, seeing death dancing before him,

trembled so hard that the joints of his legs rattled and

the coins tinkled under his tongue.

"Well," the Assassins asked, "will you open your

mouth now or not? Ah! You do not answer? Very well,

this time you shall open it."

Taking out two long, sharp knives, they struck two

heavy blows on the Marionette's back.

Happily for him, Pinocchio was made of very hard

wood and the knives broke into a thousand pieces. The

Assassins looked at each other in dismay, holding the

handles of the knives in their hands.

"I understand," said one of them to the other, "there

is nothing left to do now but to hang him."

"To hang him," repeated the other.

They tied Pinocchio's hands behind his shoulders and

slipped the noose around his neck. Throwing the rope

over the high limb of a giant oak tree, they pulled till

the poor Marionette hung far up in space.

Satisfied with their work, they sat on the grass waiting

for Pinocchio to give his last gasp. But after three hours

the Marionette's eyes were still open, his mouth still shut

and his legs kicked harder than ever.

Tired of waiting, the Assassins called to him mockingly:

"Good-by till tomorrow. When we return in the morning,

we hope you'll be polite enough to let us find you

dead and gone and with your mouth wide open."

With these words they went.

A few minutes went by and then a wild wind started

to blow. As it shrieked and moaned, the poor little

sufferer was blown to and fro like the hammer of a bell.

The rocking made him seasick and the noose, becoming

tighter and tighter, choked him. Little by little a film

covered his eyes.

Death was creeping nearer and nearer, and the Marionette

still hoped for some good soul to come to his rescue,

but no one appeared. As he was about to die, he thought

of his poor old father, and hardly conscious of what he

was saying, murmured to himself:

"Oh, Father, dear Father! If you were only here!"

These were his last words. He closed his eyes, opened

his mouth, stretched out his legs, and hung there, as if

he were dead.



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