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Adventures of Pinocchio.
Start of Story
Pinocchio, having become a Donkey, is bought by the owner of a Circus,
who wants to teach him to do tricks. The Donkey becomes lame and is sold
to a man who wants to use his skin for a drumhead.
Very sad and downcast were the two poor little fellows as they stood
and looked at each other. Outside the room, the Little Man grew more and
more impatient, and finally gave the door such a violent kick that
it flew open. With his usual sweet smile on his lips, he looked at
Pinocchio and Lamp-Wick and said to them:
"Fine work, boys! You have brayed well, so well that I recognized your
voices immediately, and here I am."
On hearing this, the two Donkeys bowed their heads in shame, dropped
their ears, and put their tails between their legs.
At first, the Little Man petted and caressed them and smoothed down
their hairy coats. Then he took out a currycomb and worked over them
till they shone like glass. Satisfied with the looks of the two little
animals, he bridled them and took them to a market place far away from
the Land of Toys, in the hope of selling them at a good price.
In fact, he did not have to wait very long for an offer. Lamp-Wick was
bought by a farmer whose donkey had died the day before. Pinocchio went
to the owner of a circus, who wanted to teach him to do tricks for his
And now do you understand what the Little Man's profession was? This
horrid little being, whose face shone with kindness, went about the
world looking for boys. Lazy boys, boys who hated books, boys who wanted
to run away from home, boys who were tired of school--all these were his
joy and his fortune.
He took them with him to the Land of Toys and let
them enjoy themselves to their heart's content. When, after months of
all play and no work, they became little donkeys, he sold them on the
market place. In a few years, he had become a millionaire.
What happened to Lamp-Wick? My dear children, I do not know. Pinocchio,
I can tell you, met with great hardships even from the first day.
After putting him in a stable, his new master filled his manger with
straw, but Pinocchio, after tasting a mouthful, spat it out.
Then the man filled the manger with hay. But Pinocchio did not like that
"Ah, you don't like hay either?" he cried angrily. "Wait, my pretty
Donkey, I'll teach you not to be so particular."
Without more ado, he took a whip and gave the Donkey a hearty blow
across the legs.
Pinocchio screamed with pain and as he screamed he brayed:
"Haw! Haw! Haw! I can't digest straw!"
"Then eat the hay!" answered his master, who understood the Donkey
"Haw! Haw! Haw! Hay gives me a headache!"
"Do you pretend, by any chance, that I should feed you duck or chicken?"
asked the man again, and, angrier than ever, he gave poor Pinocchio
At that second beating, Pinocchio became very quiet and said no more.
After that, the door of the stable was closed and he was left alone. It
was many hours since he had eaten anything and he started to yawn from
hunger. As he yawned, he opened a mouth as big as an oven.
Finally, not finding anything else in the manger, he tasted the hay.
After tasting it, he chewed it well, closed his eyes, and swallowed it.
"This hay is not bad," he said to himself. "But how much happier I
should be if I had studied! Just now, instead of hay, I should be eating
some good bread and butter. Patience!"
Next morning, when he awoke, Pinocchio looked in the manger for more
hay, but it was all gone. He had eaten it all during the night.
He tried the straw, but, as he chewed away at it, he noticed to his
great disappointment that it tasted neither like rice nor like macaroni.
"Patience!" he repeated as he chewed. "If only my misfortune might serve
as a lesson to disobedient boys who refuse to study! Patience! Have
"Patience indeed!" shouted his master just then, as he came into the
stable. "Do you think, perhaps, my little Donkey, that I have brought
you here only to give you food and drink? Oh, no! You are to help me
earn some fine gold pieces, do you hear? Come along, now. I am going
to teach you to jump and bow, to dance a waltz and a polka, and even to
stand on your head."
Poor Pinocchio, whether he liked it or not, had to learn all these
wonderful things; but it took him three long months and cost him many,
many lashings before he was pronounced perfect.
The day came at last when Pinocchio's master was able to announce an
extraordinary performance. The announcements, posted all around the
town, and written in large letters, read thus:
GREAT SPECTACLE TONIGHT
LEAPS AND EXERCISES BY THE GREAT ARTISTS
AND THE FAMOUS HORSES
of the COMPANY
First Public Appearance
of theFAMOUS DONKEY
THE STAR OF THE DANCE
The Theater will be as Light as Day
That night, as you can well imagine, the theater was filled to
overflowing one hour before the show was scheduled to start.
Not an orchestra chair could be had, not a balcony seat, nor a gallery
seat; not even for their weight in gold.
The place swarmed with boys and girls of all ages and sizes, wriggling
and dancing about in a fever of impatience to see the famous Donkey
When the first part of the performance was over, the Owner and Manager
of the circus, in a black coat, white knee breeches, and patent leather
boots, presented himself to the public and in a loud, pompous voice made
the following announcement:
"Most honored friends, Gentlemen and Ladies!
"Your humble servant, the Manager of this theater, presents himself
before you tonight in order to introduce to you the greatest, the most
famous Donkey in the world, a Donkey that has had the great honor in his
short life of performing before the kings and queens and emperors of all
the great courts of Europe.
"We thank you for your attention!"
This speech was greeted by much laughter and applause. And the applause
grew to a roar when Pinocchio, the famous Donkey, appeared in the circus
ring. He was handsomely arrayed. A new bridle of shining leather with
buckles of polished brass was on his back; two white camellias were tied
to his ears; ribbons and tassels of red silk adorned his mane, which was
divided into many curls. A great sash of gold and silver was fastened
around his waist and his tail was decorated with ribbons of many
brilliant colors. He was a handsome Donkey indeed!
The Manager, when introducing him to the public, added these words:
"Most honored audience! I shall not take your time tonight to tell you
of the great difficulties which I have encountered while trying to tame
this animal, since I found him in the wilds of Africa. Observe, I beg
of you, the savage look of his eye. All the means used by centuries of
civilization in subduing wild beasts failed in this case. I had finally
to resort to the gentle language of the whip in order to bring him to
my will. With all my kindness, however, I never succeeded in gaining my
Donkey's love. He is still today as savage as the day I found him. He
still fears and hates me. But I have found in him one great redeeming
feature. Do you see this little bump on his forehead? It is this bump
which gives him his great talent of dancing and using his feet as nimbly
as a human being. Admire him, O signori, and enjoy yourselves. I let
you, now, be the judges of my success as a teacher of animals. Before
I leave you, I wish to state that there will be another performance
tomorrow night. If the weather threatens rain, the great spectacle will
take place at eleven o'clock in the morning."
The Manager bowed and then turned to Pinocchio and said: "Ready,
Pinocchio! Before starting your performance, salute your audience!"
Pinocchio obediently bent his two knees to the ground and remained
kneeling until the Manager, with the crack of the whip, cried sharply:
The Donkey lifted himself on his four feet and walked around the ring. A
few minutes passed and again the voice of the Manager called:
"Quickstep!" and Pinocchio obediently changed his step.
"Gallop!" and Pinocchio galloped.
"Full speed!" and Pinocchio ran as fast as he could. As he ran the
master raised his arm and a pistol shot rang in the air.
At the shot, the little Donkey fell to the ground as if he were really
A shower of applause greeted the Donkey as he arose to his feet. Cries
and shouts and handclappings were heard on all sides.
At all that noise, Pinocchio lifted his head and raised his eyes. There,
in front of him, in a box sat a beautiful woman. Around her neck she
wore a long gold chain, from which hung a large medallion. On the
medallion was painted the picture of a Marionette.
"That picture is of me! That beautiful lady is my Fairy!" said Pinocchio
to himself, recognizing her. He felt so happy that he tried his best to
"Oh, my Fairy! My own Fairy!"
But instead of words, a loud braying was heard in the theater, so loud
and so long that all the spectators--men, women, and children, but
especially the children--burst out laughing.
Then, in order to teach the Donkey that it was not good manners to bray
before the public, the Manager hit him on the nose with the handle of
The poor little Donkey stuck out a long tongue and licked his nose for a
long time in an effort to take away the pain.
And what was his grief when on looking up toward the boxes, he saw that
the Fairy had disappeared!
He felt himself fainting, his eyes filled with tears, and he wept
bitterly. No one knew it, however, least of all the Manager, who,
cracking his whip, cried out:
"Bravo, Pinocchio! Now show us how gracefully you can jump through the
Pinocchio tried two or three times, but each time he came near the ring,
he found it more to his taste to go under it. The fourth time, at a look
from his master he leaped through it, but as he did so his hind legs
caught in the ring and he fell to the floor in a heap.
When he got up, he was lame and could hardly limp as far as the stable.
"Pinocchio! We want Pinocchio! We want the little Donkey!" cried the
boys from the orchestra, saddened by the accident.
No one saw Pinocchio again that evening.
The next morning the veterinary--that is, the animal doctor--declared
that he would be lame for the rest of his life.
"What do I want with a lame donkey?" said the Manager to the stableboy.
"Take him to the market and sell him."
When they reached the square, a buyer was soon found.
"How much do you ask for that little lame Donkey?" he asked.
"I'll give you four cents. Don't think I'm buying him for work. I want
only his skin. It looks very tough and I can use it to make myself a
drumhead. I belong to a musical band in my village and I need a drum."
I leave it to you, my dear children, to picture to yourself the great
pleasure with which Pinocchio heard that he was to become a drumhead!
As soon as the buyer had paid the four cents, the Donkey changed hands.
His new owner took him to a high cliff overlooking the sea, put a stone
around his neck, tied a rope to one of his hind feet, gave him a push,
and threw him into the water.
Pinocchio sank immediately. And his new master sat on the cliff waiting
for him to drown, so as to skin him and make himself a drumhead.