The Adventures of Pinocchio - Chapter
Going like the wind, Pinocchio took
but a very short time
to reach the shore. He glanced all about him, but there
no sign of a Shark. The sea was as smooth as glass.
"Hey there, boys! Where's that Shark?" he
turning to his playmates.
"He may have gone for his breakfast," said
one of them, laughing.
"Or, perhaps, he went to
bed for a little nap,"
said another, laughing also.
From the answers and the laughter which followed them,
Pinocchio understood that the boys had played a trick on
"What now?" he said angrily to them. "What's
"Oh, the joke's on you!" cried
his tormentors, laughing
more heartily than ever, and dancing gayly around the Marionette.
"And that is--?"
"That we have made you stay
out of school to come
with us. Aren't you ashamed of being such a goody-goody,
and of studying so hard? You never have a bit of enjoyment."
"And what is it to you,
if I do study?"
"What does the teacher think
of us, you mean?"
"Don't you see? If you study
and we don't, we pay for
it. After all, it's only fair to look out for ourselves."
"What do you want me to
"Hate school and books and
teachers, as we all do. They
are your worst enemies, you know, and they like to make
you as unhappy as they can."
"And if I go on studying,
what will you do to me?"
"You'll pay for it!"
"Really, you amuse me," answered
the Marionette, nodding his head.
"Hey, Pinocchio," cried the tallest of them
all, "that will do.
We are tired of hearing you bragging about yourself,
you little turkey cock! You may not be afraid of us,
but remember we are not afraid of you, either!
You are alone, you know, and we are seven."
"Like the seven sins," said
Pinocchio, still laughing.
"Did you hear that? He has
insulted us all. He has called us sins."
"Pinocchio, apologize for
that, or look out!"
"Cuck--oo!" said the
Marionette, mocking them with his thumb to his nose.
"You'll be sorry!"
"We'll whip you soundly!"
"You'll go home with a broken
"Very well, then! Take that,
and keep it for your supper,"
called out the boldest of his tormentors.
And with the words, he gave Pinocchio a terrible blow
on the head.
Pinocchio answered with another blow, and that was
the signal for the beginning of the fray. In a few moments,
the fight raged hot and heavy on both sides.
Pinocchio, although alone, defended himself bravely.
With those two wooden feet of his, he worked so fast
that his opponents kept at a respectful distance.
Wherever they landed, they left their painful mark
and the boys could only run away and howl.
Enraged at not being able to fight the Marionette at close
quarters, they started to throw all kinds of books at him.
Readers, geographies, histories, grammars flew in all directions.
But Pinocchio was keen of eye and swift of movement, and
only passed over his head, landed in the sea, and disappeared.
The fish, thinking they might be good to eat, came to
the top of the water in great numbers. Some took a nibble,
some took a bite, but no sooner had they tasted a page
than they spat them out with a wry face, as if to say:
"What a horrid taste! Our
own food is so much better!"
Meanwhile, the battle waxed more and more furious.
At the noise, a large Crab crawled slowly out of the water
and, with a voice that sounded like a trombone suffering
from a cold, he cried out:
"Stop fighting, you rascals!
These battles between boys
rarely end well. Trouble is sure to come to you!"
Poor Crab! He might as well have spoken to the wind.
Instead of listening to his good advice, Pinocchio turned
to him and said as roughly as he knew how:
"Keep quiet, ugly Gab! It
would be better for you to
chew a few cough drops to get rid of that cold you have.
Go to bed and sleep! You will feel better in the morning."
In the meantime, the boys, having used all their books,
looked around for new ammunition. Seeing Pinocchio's
bundle lying idle near-by, they somehow managed to get
hold of it.
One of the books was a very large volume, an arithmetic
heavily bound in leather. It was Pinocchio's pride.
Among all his books, he liked that one the best.
Thinking it would make a fine missile, one of the boys
hold of it and threw it with all his strength at Pinocchio's
But instead of hitting the Marionette, the book struck
one of the
other boys, who, as pale as a ghost, cried out faintly:
"Oh, Mother, help! I'm dying!" and fell senseless
to the ground.
At the sight of that pale little corpse, the boys were
frightened that they turned tail and ran. In a few moments,
all had disappeared.
All except Pinocchio. Although scared to death by the
horror of what had been done, he ran to the sea and soaked
his handkerchief in the cool water and with it bathed the
head of his poor little schoolmate. Sobbing bitterly, he
called to him, saying:
"Eugene! My poor Eugene!
Open your eyes and look at me!
Why don't you answer? I was not the one who hit you,
you know. Believe me, I didn't do it. Open your eyes,
Eugene? If you keep them shut, I'll die, too. Oh, dear
how shall I ever go home now? How shall I ever look at
my little mother again? What will happen to me? Where
shall I go? Where shall I hide? Oh, how much better it
would have been, a thousand times better, if only I had
gone to school! Why did I listen to those boys? They
always were a bad influence! And to think that the teacher
had told me--and my mother, too!--`Beware of bad
company!' That's what she said. But I'm stubborn and
proud. I listen, but always I do as I wish. And then I
I've never had a moment's peace since I've been born! Oh,
dear! What will become of me? What will become of me?"
Pinocchio went on crying and moaning and beating his
head. Again and again he called to his little friend, when
suddenly he heard heavy steps approaching.
He looked up and saw two tall Carabineers near him.
"What are you doing stretched
out on the ground?"
they asked Pinocchio.
"I'm helping this schoolfellow
"Has he fainted?"
"I should say so," said
one of the Carabineers, bending
to look at Eugene. "This boy has been wounded on the
temple. Who has hurt him?"
"Not I," stammered
the Marionette, who had hardly
a breath left in his whole body.
"If it wasn't you, who was
"Not I," repeated Pinocchio.
"And with what was he wounded?"
"With this book," and
the Marionette picked up the
arithmetic text to show it to the officer.
"And whose book is this?"
"Not another word! Get up
as quickly as you can and come along with us."
"Come with us!"
"But I am innocent."
"Come with us!"
Before starting out, the officers called out to several
fishermen passing by in a boat and said to them:
"Take care of this little
fellow who has been hurt.
Take him home and bind his wounds. Tomorrow we'll come
They then took hold of Pinocchio and, putting him
between them, said to him in a rough voice: "March!
And go quickly, or it will be the worse for you!"
They did not have to repeat their words. The Marionette
walked swiftly along the road to the village. But the
poor fellow hardly knew what he was about. He thought
he had a nightmare. He felt ill. His eyes saw everything
double, his legs trembled, his tongue was dry, and, try
he might, he could not utter a single word. Yet, in spite
of this numbness of feeling, he suffered keenly at the
thought of passing under the windows of his good little
Fairy's house. What would she say on seeing him between
They had just reached the village, when a sudden gust
of wind blew off Pinocchio's cap and made it go sailing
down the street.
"Would you allow me," the
Marionette asked the
Carabineers, "to run after my cap?"
"Very well, go; but hurry."
The Marionette went, picked up his cap--but instead
of putting it on his head, he stuck it between his teeth
and then raced toward the sea.
He went like a bullet out of a gun.
The Carabineers, judging that it would be very difficult
to catch him, sent a large Mastiff after him, one that
won first prize in all the dog races. Pinocchio ran fast
the Dog ran faster. At so much noise, the people hung out
of the windows or gathered in the street, anxious to see
the end of the contest. But they were disappointed,
for the Dog and Pinocchio raised so much dust on the road
after a few moments, it was impossible to see them.