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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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After five months of play, Pinocchio wakes up

one fine morning and finds a great surprise awaiting him

Finally the wagon arrived. It made no noise, for its

wheels were bound with straw and rags.

It was drawn by twelve pair of donkeys, all of the same

size, but all of different color. Some were gray, others

white, and still others a mixture of brown and black.

Here and there were a few with large yellow and blue stripes.

The strangest thing of all was that those twenty-four

donkeys, instead of being iron-shod like any other beast

of burden, had on their feet laced shoes made of leather,

just like the ones boys wear.

And the driver of the wagon?

Imagine to yourselves a little, fat man, much wider

than he was long, round and shiny as a ball of butter, with

a face beaming like an apple, a little mouth that always

smiled, and a voice small and wheedling like that of a cat

begging for food.

No sooner did any boy see him than he fell in love with

him, and nothing satisfied him but to be allowed to ride

in his wagon to that lovely place called the Land of Toys.

In fact the wagon was so closely packed with boys of

all ages that it looked like a box of sardines. They were

uncomfortable, they were piled one on top of the other,

they could hardly breathe; yet not one word of complaint

was heard. The thought that in a few hours they would

reach a country where there were no schools, no books,

no teachers, made these boys so happy that they felt

neither hunger, nor thirst, nor sleep, nor discomfort.

No sooner had the wagon stopped than the little fat

man turned to Lamp-Wick. With bows and smiles, he

asked in a wheedling tone:

"Tell me, my fine boy, do you also want to come to

my wonderful country?"

"Indeed I do."

"But I warn you, my little dear, there's no more room

in the wagon. It is full."

"Never mind," answered Lamp-Wick. "If there's no

room inside, I can sit on the top of the coach."

And with one leap, he perched himself there.

"What about you, my love?" asked the Little Man,

turning politely to Pinocchio. "What are you going to do?

Will you come with us, or do you stay here?"

"I stay here," answered Pinocchio. "I want to return

home, as I prefer to study and to succeed in life."

"May that bring you luck!"

"Pinocchio!" Lamp-Wick called out. "Listen to me.

Come with us and we'll always be happy."

"No, no, no!"

"Come with us and we'll always be happy," cried four

other voices from the wagon.

"Come with us and we'll always be happy," shouted the

one hundred and more boys in the wagon, all together.

"And if I go with you, what will my good Fairy say?"

asked the Marionette, who was beginning to waver and

weaken in his good resolutions.

"Don't worry so much. Only think that we are going

to a land where we shall be allowed to make all the racket

we like from morning till night."

Pinocchio did not answer, but sighed deeply once--

twice--a third time. Finally, he said:

"Make room for me. I want to go, too!"

"The seats are all filled," answered the Little Man,

"but to show you how much I think of you, take my place

as coachman."

"And you?"

"I'll walk."

"No, indeed. I could not permit such a thing. I much

prefer riding one of these donkeys," cried Pinocchio.

No sooner said than done. He approached the first

donkey and tried to mount it. But the little animal turned

suddenly and gave him such a terrible kick in the stomach

that Pinocchio was thrown to the ground and fell with

his legs in the air.

At this unlooked-for entertainment, the whole company

of runaways laughed uproariously.

The little fat man did not laugh. He went up to the

rebellious animal, and, still smiling, bent over him lovingly

and bit off half of his right ear.

In the meantime, Pinocchio lifted himself up from the

ground, and with one leap landed on the donkey's back.

The leap was so well taken that all the boys shouted,

"Hurrah for Pinocchio!" and clapped their hands in hearty applause.

Suddenly the little donkey gave a kick with his two

hind feet and, at this unexpected move, the poor Marionette

found himself once again sprawling right in the

middle of the road.

Again the boys shouted with laughter. But the Little

Man, instead of laughing, became so loving toward the

little animal that, with another kiss, he bit off half of

his left ear.

"You can mount now, my boy," he then said to Pinocchio.

"Have no fear. That donkey was worried about something,

but I have spoken to him and now he seems quiet and reasonable."

Pinocchio mounted and the wagon started on its way.

While the donkeys galloped along the stony road, the

Marionette fancied he heard a very quiet voice whispering to him:

"Poor silly! You have done as you wished. But you

are going to be a sorry boy before very long."

Pinocchio, greatly frightened, looked about him to see

whence the words had come, but he saw no one. The

donkeys galloped, the wagon rolled on smoothly, the

boys slept (Lamp-Wick snored like a dormouse) and the

little, fat driver sang sleepily between his teeth.

After a mile or so, Pinocchio again heard the same

faint voice whispering: "Remember, little simpleton!

Boys who stop studying and turn their backs upon books

and schools and teachers in order to give all their time

to nonsense and pleasure, sooner or later come to grief.

Oh, how well I know this! How well I can prove it to you!

A day will come when you will weep bitterly, even as I

am weeping now--but it will be too late!"

At these whispered words, the Marionette grew more

and more frightened. He jumped to the ground, ran up

to the donkey on whose back he had been riding, and

taking his nose in his hands, looked at him. Think how

great was his surprise when he saw that the donkey was

weeping--weeping just like a boy!

"Hey, Mr. Driver!" cried the Marionette. "Do you know what

strange thing is happening here! This donkey weeps."

"Let him weep. When he gets married, he will have time to laugh."

"Have you perhaps taught him to speak?"

"No, he learned to mumble a few words when he lived

for three years with a band of trained dogs."

"Poor beast!"

"Come, come," said the Little Man, "do not lose time over

a donkey that can weep. Mount quickly and let us go.

The night is cool and the road is long."

Pinocchio obeyed without another word. The wagon

started again. Toward dawn the next morning they finally

reached that much-longed-for country, the Land of Toys.

This great land was entirely different from any other

place in the world. Its population, large though it was,

was composed wholly of boys. The oldest were about

fourteen years of age, the youngest, eight. In the street,

there was such a racket, such shouting, such blowing of

trumpets, that it was deafening. Everywhere groups of

boys were gathered together. Some played at marbles, at

hopscotch, at ball. Others rode on bicycles or on wooden

horses. Some played at blindman's buff, others at tag.

Here a group played circus, there another sang and recited.

A few turned somersaults, others walked on their hands

with their feet in the air. Generals in full uniform leading

regiments of cardboard soldiers passed by. Laughter,

shrieks, howls, catcalls, hand-clapping followed this

parade. One boy made a noise like a hen, another like

a rooster, and a third imitated a lion in his den. All

together they created such a pandemonium that it would

have been necessary for you to put cotton in your ears.

The squares were filled with small wooden theaters,

overflowing with boys from morning till night, and on the

walls of the houses, written with charcoal, were words



As soon as they had set foot in that land, Pinocchio,

Lamp-Wick, and all the other boys who had traveled with

them started out on a tour of investigation. They

wandered everywhere, they looked into every nook and

corner, house and theater. They became everybody's friend.

Who could be happier than they?

What with entertainments and parties, the hours, the days,

the weeks passed like lightning.

"Oh, what a beautiful life this is!" said Pinocchio each

time that, by chance, he met his friend Lamp-Wick.

"Was I right or wrong?" answered Lamp-Wick. "And

to think you did not want to come! To think that even

yesterday the idea came into your head to return home

to see your Fairy and to start studying again! If today

you are free from pencils and books and school, you owe

it to me, to my advice, to my care. Do you admit it? Only

true friends count, after all."

"It's true, Lamp-Wick, it's true. If today I am a really

happy boy, it is all because of you. And to think that the

teacher, when speaking of you, used to say, `Do not go

with that Lamp-Wick! He is a bad companion and some

day he will lead you astray.'"

"Poor teacher!" answered the other, nodding his head.

"Indeed I know how much he disliked me and how he

enjoyed speaking ill of me. But I am of a generous nature,

and I gladly forgive him."

"Great soul!" said Pinocchio, fondly embracing his friend.

Five months passed and the boys continued playing and

enjoying themselves from morn till night, without ever

seeing a book, or a desk, or a school. But, my children,

there came a morning when Pinocchio awoke and found

a great surprise awaiting him, a surprise which made him

feel very unhappy, as you shall see.



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