The Adventures of Pinocchio - Chapter
Fancy the happiness of Pinocchio on
finding himself free!
Without saying yes or no, he fled from the city and set
out on the road that was to take him back to the house
the lovely Fairy.
It had rained for many days, and the road was so muddy
that, at times, Pinocchio sank down almost to his knees.
But he kept on bravely.
Tormented by the wish to see his father and his fairy
sister with azure hair, he raced like a greyhound. As he
ran, he was splashed with mud even up to his cap.
"How unhappy I have been," he said to himself. "And
yet I deserve everything, for I am certainly very stubborn
and stupid! I will always have my own way. I won't
listen to those who love me and who have more brains
than I. But from now on, I'll be different and I'll try
become a most obedient boy. I have found out, beyond
any doubt whatever, that disobedient boys are certainly
far from happy, and that, in the long run, they always
lose out. I wonder if Father is waiting for me. Will I
find him at the Fairy's house? It is so long, poor man,
since I have seen him, and I do so want his love and his
kisses. And will the Fairy ever forgive me for all I have
done? She who has been so good to me and to whom I
owe my life! Can there be a worse or more heartless
boy than I am anywhere?"
As he spoke, he stopped suddenly, frozen with terror.
What was the matter? An immense Serpent lay stretched
across the road--a Serpent with a bright green skin,
fiery eyes which glowed and burned, and a pointed tail
that smoked like a chimney.
How frightened was poor Pinocchio! He ran back
wildly for half a mile, and at last settled himself atop
heap of stones to wait for the Serpent to go on his way
and leave the road clear for him.
He waited an hour; two hours; three hours; but the
Serpent was always there, and even from afar one could
see the flash of his red eyes and the column of smoke
which rose from his long, pointed tail.
Pinocchio, trying to feel very brave, walked straight
to him and said in a sweet, soothing voice:
"I beg your pardon, Mr.
Serpent, would you be so
kind as to step aside to let me pass?"
He might as well have talked to a wall. The Serpent
Once more, in the same sweet voice, he spoke:
"You must know, Mr. Serpent,
that I am going home
where my father is waiting for me. It is so long since
have seen him! Would you mind very much if I passed?"
He waited for some sign of an answer to his questions,
but the answer did not come. On the contrary, the green
Serpent, who had seemed, until then, wide awake and full
of life, became suddenly very quiet and still. His eyes
closed and his tail stopped smoking.
"Is he dead, I wonder?" said
Pinocchio, rubbing his
hands together happily. Without a moment's hesitation,
he started to step over him, but he had just raised one
when the Serpent shot up like a spring and the Marionette
fell head over heels backward. He fell so awkwardly
that his head stuck in the mud, and there he stood with
his legs straight up in the air.
At the sight of the Marionette kicking and squirming
like a young whirlwind, the Serpent laughed so heartily
and so long that at last he burst an artery and died on
Pinocchio freed himself from his awkward position and
once more began to run in order to reach the Fairy's
house before dark. As he went, the pangs of hunger grew
so strong that, unable to withstand them, he jumped into
a field to pick a few grapes that tempted him. Woe to him!
No sooner had he reached the grapevine than--crack!
went his legs.
The poor Marionette was caught in a trap set there by
a Farmer for some Weasels which came every night to
steal his chickens.