Carlo Collodi.

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Produced by Charles Keller (for Tina); and David Widger

Dashes; small checks; quick pass; gutchecked twice; jeebies; spellcheck


by C. Collodi

[Pseudonym of Carlo Lorenzini]

Translated from the Italian by Carol Della Chiesa


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

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.


Mastro Cherry gives the piece of wood to his friend Geppetto, who
takes it to make himself a Marionette that will dance, fence, and turn

In that very instant, a loud knock sounded on the door. "Come in," said
the carpenter, not having an atom of strength left with which to stand

At the words, the door opened and a dapper little old man came in.
His name was Geppetto, but to the boys of the neighborhood he was
Polendina,* on account of the wig he always wore which was just the
color of yellow corn.

* Cornmeal mush

Geppetto had a very bad temper. Woe to the one who called him Polendina!
He became as wild as a beast and no one could soothe him.

"Good day, Mastro Antonio," said Geppetto. "What are you doing on the

"I am teaching the ants their A B C's."

"Good luck to you!"

"What brought you here, friend Geppetto?"

"My legs. And it may flatter you to know, Mastro Antonio, that I have
come to you to beg for a favor."

"Here I am, at your service," answered the carpenter, raising himself on
to his knees.

"This morning a fine idea came to me."

"Let's hear it."

"I thought of making myself a beautiful wooden Marionette. It must be
wonderful, one that will be able to dance, fence, and turn somersaults.
With it I intend to go around the world, to earn my crust of bread and
cup of wine. What do you think of it?"

"Bravo, Polendina!" cried the same tiny voice which came from no one
knew where.

On hearing himself called Polendina, Mastro Geppetto turned the color of
a red pepper and, facing the carpenter, said to him angrily:

"Why do you insult me?"

"Who is insulting you?"

"You called me Polendina."

"I did not."

"I suppose you think _I_ did! Yet I KNOW it was you."





And growing angrier each moment, they went from words to blows, and
finally began to scratch and bite and slap each other.

When the fight was over, Mastro Antonio had Geppetto's yellow wig in his
hands and Geppetto found the carpenter's curly wig in his mouth.

"Give me back my wig!" shouted Mastro Antonio in a surly voice.

"You return mine and we'll be friends."

The two little old men, each with his own wig back on his own head,
shook hands and swore to be good friends for the rest of their lives.

"Well then, Mastro Geppetto," said the carpenter, to show he bore him no
ill will, "what is it you want?"

"I want a piece of wood to make a Marionette. Will you give it to me?"

Mastro Antonio, very glad indeed, went immediately to his bench to get
the piece of wood which had frightened him so much. But as he was about
to give it to his friend, with a violent jerk it slipped out of his
hands and hit against poor Geppetto's thin legs.

"Ah! Is this the gentle way, Mastro Antonio, in which you make your
gifts? You have made me almost lame!"

"I swear to you I did not do it!"

"It was _I_, of course!"

"It's the fault of this piece of wood."

"You're right; but remember you were the one to throw it at my legs."

"I did not throw it!"


"Geppetto, do not insult me or I shall call you Polendina."





"Ugly monkey!"


On hearing himself called Polendina for the third time, Geppetto lost
his head with rage and threw himself upon the carpenter. Then and there
they gave each other a sound thrashing.

After this fight, Mastro Antonio had two more scratches on his nose,
and Geppetto had two buttons missing from his coat. Thus having settled
their accounts, they shook hands and swore to be good friends for the
rest of their lives.

Then Geppetto took the fine piece of wood, thanked Mastro Antonio, and
limped away toward home.


As soon as he gets home, Geppetto fashions the Marionette and calls it
Pinocchio. The first pranks of the Marionette.

Little as Geppetto's house was, it was neat and comfortable. It was a
small room on the ground floor, with a tiny window under the stairway.
The furniture could not have been much simpler: a very old chair, a
rickety old bed, and a tumble-down table. A fireplace full of burning
logs was painted on the wall opposite the door. Over the fire, there
was painted a pot full of something which kept boiling happily away and
sending up clouds of what looked like real steam.

As soon as he reached home, Geppetto took his tools and began to cut and
shape the wood into a Marionette.

"What shall I call him?" he said to himself. "I think I'll call him
PINOCCHIO. This name will make his fortune. I knew a whole family of
Pinocchi once - Pinocchio the father, Pinocchia the mother, and Pinocchi
the children - and they were all lucky. The richest of them begged for
his living."

After choosing the name for his Marionette, Geppetto set seriously to
work to make the hair, the forehead, the eyes. Fancy his surprise
when he noticed that these eyes moved and then stared fixedly at him.
Geppetto, seeing this, felt insulted and said in a grieved tone:

"Ugly wooden eyes, why do you stare so?"

There was no answer.

After the eyes, Geppetto made the nose, which began to stretch as soon
as finished. It stretched and stretched and stretched till it became so
long, it seemed endless.

Poor Geppetto kept cutting it and cutting it, but the more he cut, the
longer grew that impertinent nose. In despair he let it alone.

Next he made the mouth.

No sooner was it finished than it began to laugh and poke fun at him.

"Stop laughing!" said Geppetto angrily; but he might as well have spoken
to the wall.

"Stop laughing, I say!" he roared in a voice of thunder.

The mouth stopped laughing, but it stuck out a long tongue.

Not wishing to start an argument, Geppetto made believe he saw nothing
and went on with his work. After the mouth, he made the chin, then the
neck, the shoulders, the stomach, the arms, and the hands.

As he was about to put the last touches on the finger tips, Geppetto
felt his wig being pulled off. He glanced up and what did he see? His
yellow wig was in the Marionette's hand. "Pinocchio, give me my wig!"

But instead of giving it back, Pinocchio put it on his own head, which
was half swallowed up in it.

At that unexpected trick, Geppetto became very sad and downcast, more so
than he had ever been before.

"Pinocchio, you wicked boy!" he cried out. "You are not yet finished,
and you start out by being impudent to your poor old father. Very bad,
my son, very bad!"

And he wiped away a tear.

The legs and feet still had to be made. As soon as they were done,
Geppetto felt a sharp kick on the tip of his nose.

"I deserve it!" he said to himself. "I should have thought of this
before I made him. Now it's too late!"

He took hold of the Marionette under the arms and put him on the floor
to teach him to walk.

Pinocchio's legs were so stiff that he could not move them, and Geppetto
held his hand and showed him how to put out one foot after the other.

When his legs were limbered up, Pinocchio started walking by himself and
ran all around the room. He came to the open door, and with one leap he
was out into the street. Away he flew!

Poor Geppetto ran after him but was unable to catch him, for Pinocchio
ran in leaps and bounds, his two wooden feet, as they beat on the stones
of the street, making as much noise as twenty peasants in wooden shoes.

"Catch him! Catch him!" Geppetto kept shouting. But the people in the
street, seeing a wooden Marionette running like the wind, stood still to
stare and to laugh until they cried.

At last, by sheer luck, a Carabineer* happened along, who, hearing all
that noise, thought that it might be a runaway colt, and stood bravely
in the middle of the street, with legs wide apart, firmly resolved to
stop it and prevent any trouble.

* A military policeman

Pinocchio saw the Carabineer from afar and tried his best to escape
between the legs of the big fellow, but without success.

The Carabineer grabbed him by the nose (it was an extremely long one and
seemed made on purpose for that very thing) and returned him to Mastro

The little old man wanted to pull Pinocchio's ears. Think how he felt
when, upon searching for them, he discovered that he had forgotten to
make them!

All he could do was to seize Pinocchio by the back of the neck and take
him home. As he was doing so, he shook him two or three times and said
to him angrily:

"We're going home now. When we get home, then we'll settle this matter!"

Pinocchio, on hearing this, threw himself on the ground and refused to
take another step. One person after another gathered around the two.

Some said one thing, some another.

"Poor Marionette," called out a man. "I am not surprised he doesn't want
to go home. Geppetto, no doubt, will beat him unmercifully, he is so
mean and cruel!"

"Geppetto looks like a good man," added another, "but with boys he's a
real tyrant. If we leave that poor Marionette in his hands he may tear
him to pieces!"

They said so much that, finally, the Carabineer ended matters by setting
Pinocchio at liberty and dragging Geppetto to prison. The poor old
fellow did not know how to defend himself, but wept and wailed like a
child and said between his sobs:

"Ungrateful boy! To think I tried so hard to make you a well-behaved
Marionette! I deserve it, however! I should have given the matter more

What happened after this is an almost unbelievable story, but you may
read it, dear children, in the chapters that follow.


The story of Pinocchio and the Talking Cricket, in which one sees that
bad children do not like to be corrected by those who know more than
they do.

Very little time did it take to get poor old Geppetto to prison. In
the meantime that rascal, Pinocchio, free now from the clutches of the
Carabineer, was running wildly across fields and meadows, taking one
short cut after another toward home. In his wild flight, he leaped over
brambles and bushes, and across brooks and ponds, as if he were a goat
or a hare chased by hounds.

On reaching home, he found the house door half open. He slipped into
the room, locked the door, and threw himself on the floor, happy at his

But his happiness lasted only a short time, for just then he heard
someone saying:


"Who is calling me?" asked Pinocchio, greatly frightened.

"I am!"

Pinocchio turned and saw a large cricket crawling slowly up the wall.

"Tell me, Cricket, who are you?"

"I am the Talking Cricket and I have been living in this room for more
than one hundred years."

"Today, however, this room is mine," said the Marionette, "and if you
wish to do me a favor, get out now, and don't turn around even once."

"I refuse to leave this spot," answered the Cricket, "until I have told
you a great truth."

"Tell it, then, and hurry."

"Woe to boys who refuse to obey their parents and run away from home!
They will never be happy in this world, and when they are older they
will be very sorry for it."

"Sing on, Cricket mine, as you please. What I know is, that tomorrow,
at dawn, I leave this place forever. If I stay here the same thing will
happen to me which happens to all other boys and girls. They are sent to
school, and whether they want to or not, they must study. As for me,
let me tell you, I hate to study! It's much more fun, I think, to chase
after butterflies, climb trees, and steal birds' nests."

"Poor little silly! Don't you know that if you go on like that, you
will grow into a perfect donkey and that you'll be the laughingstock of

"Keep still, you ugly Cricket!" cried Pinocchio.

But the Cricket, who was a wise old philosopher, instead of being
offended at Pinocchio's impudence, continued in the same tone:

"If you do not like going to school, why don't you at least learn a
trade, so that you can earn an honest living?"

"Shall I tell you something?" asked Pinocchio, who was beginning to lose
patience. "Of all the trades in the world, there is only one that really
suits me."

"And what can that be?"

"That of eating, drinking, sleeping, playing, and wandering around from
morning till night."

"Let me tell you, for your own good, Pinocchio," said the Talking
Cricket in his calm voice, "that those who follow that trade always end
up in the hospital or in prison."

"Careful, ugly Cricket! If you make me angry, you'll be sorry!"

"Poor Pinocchio, I am sorry for you."


"Because you are a Marionette and, what is much worse, you have a wooden

At these last words, Pinocchio jumped up in a fury, took a hammer from
the bench, and threw it with all his strength at the Talking Cricket.

Perhaps he did not think he would strike it. But, sad to relate, my dear
children, he did hit the Cricket, straight on its head.

With a last weak "cri-cri-cri" the poor Cricket fell from the wall,


Pinocchio is hungry and looks for an egg to cook himself an omelet; but,
to his surprise, the omelet flies out of the window.

If the Cricket's death scared Pinocchio at all, it was only for a very
few moments. For, as night came on, a queer, empty feeling at the pit of
his stomach reminded the Marionette that he had eaten nothing as yet.

A boy's appetite grows very fast, and in a few moments the queer, empty
feeling had become hunger, and the hunger grew bigger and bigger, until
soon he was as ravenous as a bear.

Poor Pinocchio ran to the fireplace where the pot was boiling and
stretched out his hand to take the cover off, but to his amazement the
pot was only painted! Think how he felt! His long nose became at least
two inches longer.

He ran about the room, dug in all the boxes and drawers, and even looked
under the bed in search of a piece of bread, hard though it might be,
or a cookie, or perhaps a bit of fish. A bone left by a dog would have
tasted good to him! But he found nothing.

And meanwhile his hunger grew and grew. The only relief poor Pinocchio
had was to yawn; and he certainly did yawn, such a big yawn that his
mouth stretched out to the tips of his ears. Soon he became dizzy and
faint. He wept and wailed to himself: "The Talking Cricket was right. It
was wrong of me to disobey Father and to run away from home. If he were
here now, I wouldn't be so hungry! Oh, how horrible it is to be hungry!"

Suddenly, he saw, among the sweepings in a corner, something round and
white that looked very much like a hen's egg. In a jiffy he pounced upon
it. It was an egg.

The Marionette's joy knew no bounds. It is impossible to describe it,
you must picture it to yourself. Certain that he was dreaming, he turned
the egg over and over in his hands, fondled it, kissed it, and talked to

"And now, how shall I cook you? Shall I make an omelet? No, it is better
to fry you in a pan! Or shall I drink you? No, the best way is to fry
you in the pan. You will taste better."

No sooner said than done. He placed a little pan over a foot warmer full
of hot coals. In the pan, instead of oil or butter, he poured a
little water. As soon as the water started to boil - tac! - he broke the
eggshell. But in place of the white and the yolk of the egg, a little
yellow Chick, fluffy and gay and smiling, escaped from it. Bowing
politely to Pinocchio, he said to him:

"Many, many thanks, indeed, Mr. Pinocchio, for having saved me the
trouble of breaking my shell! Good-by and good luck to you and remember
me to the family!"

With these words he spread out his wings and, darting to the open
window, he flew away into space till he was out of sight.

The poor Marionette stood as if turned to stone, with wide eyes, open
mouth, and the empty halves of the egg-shell in his hands. When he came
to himself, he began to cry and shriek at the top of his lungs, stamping
his feet on the ground and wailing all the while:

"The Talking Cricket was right! If I had not run away from home and if
Father were here now, I should not be dying of hunger. Oh, how horrible
it is to be hungry!"

And as his stomach kept grumbling more than ever and he had nothing
to quiet it with, he thought of going out for a walk to the near-by
village, in the hope of finding some charitable person who might give
him a bit of bread.


Pinocchio falls asleep with his feet on a foot warmer, and awakens the
next day with his feet all burned off.

Pinocchio hated the dark street, but he was so hungry that, in spite of
it, he ran out of the house. The night was pitch black. It thundered,
and bright flashes of lightning now and again shot across the sky,
turning it into a sea of fire. An angry wind blew cold and raised dense
clouds of dust, while the trees shook and moaned in a weird way.

Pinocchio was greatly afraid of thunder and lightning, but the hunger he
felt was far greater than his fear. In a dozen leaps and bounds, he
came to the village, tired out, puffing like a whale, and with tongue

The whole village was dark and deserted. The stores were closed, the
doors, the windows. In the streets, not even a dog could be seen. It
seemed the Village of the Dead.

Pinocchio, in desperation, ran up to a doorway, threw himself upon the
bell, and pulled it wildly, saying to himself: "Someone will surely
answer that!"

He was right. An old man in a nightcap opened the window and looked out.
He called down angrily:

"What do you want at this hour of night?"

"Will you be good enough to give me a bit of bread? I am hungry."

"Wait a minute and I'll come right back," answered the old fellow,
thinking he had to deal with one of those boys who love to roam around
at night ringing people's bells while they are peacefully asleep.

After a minute or two, the same voice cried:

"Get under the window and hold out your hat!"

Pinocchio had no hat, but he managed to get under the window just in
time to feel a shower of ice-cold water pour down on his poor wooden
head, his shoulders, and over his whole body.

He returned home as wet as a rag, and tired out from weariness and

As he no longer had any strength left with which to stand, he sat down
on a little stool and put his two feet on the stove to dry them.

There he fell asleep, and while he slept, his wooden feet began to burn.
Slowly, very slowly, they blackened and turned to ashes.

Pinocchio snored away happily as if his feet were not his own. At dawn
he opened his eyes just as a loud knocking sounded at the door.

"Who is it?" he called, yawning and rubbing his eyes.

"It is I," answered a voice.

It was the voice of Geppetto.


Geppetto returns home and gives his own breakfast to the Marionette

The poor Marionette, who was still half asleep, had not yet found out
that his two feet were burned and gone. As soon as he heard his Father's
voice, he jumped up from his seat to open the door, but, as he did so,
he staggered and fell headlong to the floor.

In falling, he made as much noise as a sack of wood falling from the
fifth story of a house.

"Open the door for me!" Geppetto shouted from the street.

"Father, dear Father, I can't," answered the Marionette in despair,
crying and rolling on the floor.

"Why can't you?"

"Because someone has eaten my feet."

"And who has eaten them?"

"The cat," answered Pinocchio, seeing that little animal busily playing
with some shavings in the corner of the room.

"Open! I say," repeated Geppetto, "or I'll give you a sound whipping
when I get in."

"Father, believe me, I can't stand up. Oh, dear! Oh, dear! I shall have
to walk on my knees all my life."

Geppetto, thinking that all these tears and cries were only other pranks
of the Marionette, climbed up the side of the house and went in through
the window.

At first he was very angry, but on seeing Pinocchio stretched out on the
floor and really without feet, he felt very sad and sorrowful. Picking
him up from the floor, he fondled and caressed him, talking to him while
the tears ran down his cheeks:

"My little Pinocchio, my dear little Pinocchio! How did you burn your

"I don't know, Father, but believe me, the night has been a terrible one
and I shall remember it as long as I live. The thunder was so noisy and
the lightning so bright - and I was hungry. And then the Talking Cricket
said to me, 'You deserve it; you were bad;' and I said to him, 'Careful,
Cricket;' and he said to me, 'You are a Marionette and you have a wooden
head;' and I threw the hammer at him and killed him. It was his own
fault, for I didn't want to kill him. And I put the pan on the coals,
but the Chick flew away and said, 'I'll see you again! Remember me to
the family.' And my hunger grew, and I went out, and the old man with a

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