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Pinocchio finds the Fox and the Cat again, and goes with them to sow the gold pieces in the Field of Wonders.

Pinocchio finds the Fox and the Cat again,
and goes with them to sow the gold pieces
in the Field of Wonders.


Chapter Eighteen

As retold for Aaron

Pinocchio finds the Fox and the Cat again, and goes with them to sow the gold pieces in the Field of Wonders.

Crying as if his heart would break, the Marionette mourned for hours over the length of his nose. No matter how he tried, it would not go through the door. The Fairy showed no pity toward him either, as she was trying to teach him a good lesson, so that he would stop telling lies, the worst habit any boy may acquire. But when she saw the puppet pale with fright and with his eyes half out of his head from terror, she began to feel sorry for him and clapped her hands together. A thousand woodpeckers flew in through the window and settled themselves on Pinocchio's nose. They pecked and pecked so hard at that enormous nose that in a few moments it was the same size as before.

"You are so good to me, Fairy," said Pinocchio, drying his eyes, "I love you very much!"
"I love you, too," answered the Fairy.
"I wish I could live here with you," said Pinocchio. "You are so nice and your lovely little house is just the right size for a Marionette."
"When he's not telling lies."
Embarrassed, Pinocchio touched the tip of his nose.
"That is a lovely idea. Of course you may live with me," said the Fairy.
Pinocchio fairly leaped for joy. "Oh, you don't know how happy you have made me. I can't think of anything better than to stay here with you, except that I would miss my poor father. Can he live here, too? His room has only a painted fire on the wall to keep him warm and his pockets are so empty he has only a painted pot of stew to fill his stomach. If he could come live with us, and you could be my sister, there would be nothing to make me happier."
"Your sister?"
"You're not big enough to be my mother," Pinocchio observed.
Indeed, the Fairy was not very large at all. But she was just the right size for a Fairy who lived in a little house in the wood.
"Your Father is also welcome to live here," she reassured Pinocchio.
Hearing this, the puppet imagined he would burst with happiness.
Then he gasped, "Oh! My poor Father! He will be worried sick over me. I must go reassure him I'm all right."
"I have already sent for him, Pinocchio. If you start on your way, you're sure to meet him."
"Then, my good Fairy, I must go now to find my Father. And when I've found him, we'll come back here."
The Fairy smiled. "Go, but be careful not to lose your way. Take the forest path and you'll surely meet him."
Pinocchio set out, running like a little hare through the wood. But just as he passed the giant oak tree he stopped, for he thought he heard a rustle in the brush.
There stood the Fox and the Cat.
"Look, here's Pinocchio! Oh, dear friend," cried the Fox, hugging and kissing the puppet. "How did you happen here?"
"Yes, how did you happen here?" repeated the Cat.
"It is a long story," said the Marionette. "Let me tell it to you. The other night, when you left me alone at the Inn, I met Assassins on the road--"
"Assassins? Oh, my poor friend! And what did they want?"
"They wanted my gold pieces."
"Rascals!" said the Fox.
"The worst sort of rascals!" added the Cat.
"I ran as hard as I could from them, but they came after me, and when at last they caught me they hanged me from the limb of that giant oak."
"What an awful world to live in! Where shall we find a safe place for gentlemen like ourselves?" the Fox said.
As the Fox went on about the dangers of the world, Pinocchio noticed that the Cat carried his right paw in a sling.
"What happened to your paw?" he asked.
The Cat tried to answer, but stumbled all over his words so that the Fox finally had to speak for him. "Pinocchio, our dear friend the Cat here is having such trouble answering because of his modesty. He doesn't wish to betray how selfless he is, so let me tell you. About an hour ago, we met an old wolf on the road. He was half starved and begged for help. Having nothing to give him, what do you think my friend did out of the kindness of his heart? With his teeth, he bit off the paw of his front foot and threw it at that poor beast, so that he might have something to eat." As he spoke, the Fox wiped off a tear. "Have you ever heard of a more selfless act?" he asked.
Pinocchio, almost in tears himself, whispered, "If all cats were like you, how lucky mice would be!"
"But brave Pinocchio, as you've had the luck to escape the snare of those terrible Assaassins, what are you doing back out in the wood by the tree where they'd bound you?" the Fox asked the Marionette.
"I am looking for my Father, who will be here at any moment now."
"And your gold pieces? Do you still have them or did the Assassins manage to wring them out of you?"
"I have them in my pocket, except one which I spent at the Inn of the Red Lobster."
"To think that those four gold pieces might soon become two thousand. Are you ready to go with us to sow them in the Field of Wonders?"
"Today it is impossible as I have to meet my Father. I'll go with you some other time."
"Tsk, tsk," sighed the Fox. "That is bad news indeed. Another day will be too late. The Field of Wonders has been bought by a very rich man, and today is the last day it will be open to the public."
Pinocchio thought a moment then asked, "How far is this Field of Wonders?"
"Only two miles away, Pinocchio. A half an hour's journey between now and your two thousand golden coins. As simple as sowing your four in the ground, waiting a few minutes, then reaping the rich harvest. But if you have to instead meet your father--"
"A half an hour?"
"A half an hour."
"Let us go then," Pinocchio exclaimed, "but we must hurry as I must get back here to meet Geppetto! Won't he be excited when I hand him not four golden coins, but two thousand!"
And so the trio started off for the fabulous Field of Wonders.
They had walked and walked for at least half a day when they came at last to the town called the City of Simple Simons where all the streets were filled with hairless dogs yawning from hunger; sheared sheep trembling with cold; combless chickens begging for a grain of wheat; large butterflies unable to use their wings because they had sold all their lovely colors; tailless peacocks ashamed to show themselves; and bedraggled pheasants, scuttling away hurriedly, grieving for their bright feathers of gold and silver, lost to them forever.
Through this crowd of paupers and beggars, a beautiful coach passed now and again. Within it sat either a Fox, a Hawk, or a Vulture.
"Where is the Field of Wonders?" asked Pinocchio who had grown tired of walking.
"Be patient," the Fox replied, "I assure you, it is only a few more steps away."
They passed through the city and, just outside the walls, they stepped into a lonely field that looked much like any other field.
"Here we are," said the Fox to the Marionette. "Now, dig a hole here and put the gold pieces into it."
The Marionette quickly obeyed. He dug the hole, put the four gold pieces into it, and covered them up very carefully.
"Now," said the Fox, "go to that near-by brook, bring back a pail full of water, and sprinkle it over the spot."
Pinocchio followed the directions closely, but, as he had no pail, he pulled off his bark shoe, filled it with water, and sprinkled the earth which covered the gold. "Anything else?" he asked.
"Nothing else," answered the Fox. "Return here within twenty minutes and you will find the vine grown and the branches filled with gold pieces."
Pinocchio sat on the ground.
"What are you doing?" asked the Fox.
"I'm so tired from walking, I thought I'd sit here and wait and watch."
"But that's no good," said the Fox, "for the vine won't grow if it is being watched. It only does its work in secret."
Pinocchio leaped back up. Beside himself with gratitude, he thanked the Fox and Cat for their advice. "I promise you, my Father and I won't be the only ones to profit. In as short a while as it takes for the gold to grow, you will both receive not just my poor thanks, but a handsome gift."
"We don't want any of your gifts," answered the two rogues. "It is enough for us that we have helped you to become rich with little or no trouble. For this we are as happy as kings."
The Fox and Cat walked with Pinocchio back into the town. Finding a bench for him near the town hall clock where he could watch for the twenty minutes to tick tock away, they said good-by to the Marionette and, wishing him good luck, sallied off down the street.

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Rewritten by J. Kearns (in some places considerably, in other places not so considerably, and in others not much at all) from the translation by Carol Della Chiesa of C. Collodi's original story
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