As retold for Aaron
Pinocchio is robbed of his gold pieces and, in punishment, is sentenced to four months in prison.
If the Marionette had been told to wait a lifetime instead of twenty minutes, the time could not have seemed longer to him. While he watched the clock tick-tock away, he thought an eternity might pass and still the twenty minutes would never be over. When there was only a minute remaining, he thought what would be the harm if he started back to the Field of Wonders, but restrained himself as he wanted to do everything just right lest the magic be spoiled.
As soon as the last second of that twenty minutes was extinguished, Pinocchio was on his way, his heart beating an exciting tick, tock, tick, tock to the sound of his hurried footsteps, his busy brain spinning with dreams. "What if I should instead find five thousand gold coins? The water I sprinkled over the coins was excellent water, and I have done exactly as I was told, so maybe I'll find ten thousand golden coins! And if I do I know exactly what I'll do with them. I'll build myself a beautiful palace, with a thousand stables filled with a thousand wooden horses to play with, a cellar overflowing with lemonade and ice cream soda, and a library of candies and fruits, cakes and cookies."
Thus amusing himself with fancies, the puppet came to the field. There he stopped and looked with great anticipation for the vine filled with golden coins. But he saw nothing! He took a few steps forward, and still nothing! He went into the field, to the place where he had dug the hole and buried the gold pieces. But there was nothing there!
As Pinocchio stood scratching his poor puzzled head, he heard a hearty burst of laughter nearby. Turning sharply, he spied just above him on the branch of a tree a large Parrot, busily preening his feathers.
"What are you laughing at?" Pinocchio asked peevishly.
"I am laughing because, in preening my feathers, I tickled myself under the wings," the Parrot replied. "Why do you think I'm laughing?"
The Marionette didn't answer. He walked to the brook, filled his shoe with water, and once more sprinkled the ground which covered the gold pieces.
Another burst of laughter, even more impertinent than the first, bothered the quiet field.
"Well," cried the Marionette, angrily this time, "may I know, Mr. Parrot, what amuses you so?"
"I am laughing at those simpletons who believe everything they hear and who allow themselves to be caught so easily in the traps set for them."
"I'm not a simpleton!" exclaimed Pinocchio.
"Did I say that you were? Far be it from me to call anyone silly who believes gold can be sown in a field just like beans or squash. Far be it from me to say no one will come by honest money that way. I'm just a parrot sitting in a tree. all I can tell you is what I've heard."
"I don't know what you're talking about," said the Marionette, beginning to tremble with fear.
"All I can tell you is what I've heard," repeated the Parrot. "And what I heard is while you were away in the city the Fox and the Cat returned here in a great hurry, dug up the four gold pieces that you buried and ran away as fast as the wind. If you can catch them, you're a brave one!"
Pinocchio's mouth opened wide. Not wanting to believe the Parrot's words, he began to dig away furiously at the earth. He dug and he dug till the hole was as big as himself, but no money was there. The gold coins he had buried were gone.
In desperation, the Marionette ran to the city and went straight to the courthouse to report the robbery to the magistrate.
"What's your complaint?" the Judge asked, who was a large Gorilla venerable with age, gold-rimmed spectacles from which the lenses had dropped out propped upon his nose. The reason for wearing these, he said, was that his eyes had been weakened by the work of many years.
Pinocchio, standing before him, told his pitiful tale, word by word. He gave the names and the descriptions of the robbers and begged for justice.
The Judge listened to him with great patience, all the while a kind look shining his eyes. Indeed, so moved was he by the Marionette's story, he almost wept. When Pinocchio had done pleading his case, the Judge put out his hand and rang a bell.
At the sound, two large Mastiffs appeared, dressed as policemen.
"Look here," the magistrate said, pointing to Pinocchio.
"This poor simpleton has been robbed of four gold pieces. Take him, therefore, and throw him into prison."
Pinocchio tried to protest, but the two officers clapped their paws on his mouth and hustled him away to jail.
Many long, weary months Pinocchio sat in prison. Then one day the young emperor who ruled over that City of Simple Simons, having gained a great victory over one of his enemies, in celebration thereof ordered fireworks, shows of all kinds, and, best of all, the opening of all prison doors. Except for Pinocchio, who was exempted from the proclamation as he wasn't a thief.
When the puppet heard this, he exclaimed to the Jailer, "I am too a thief!"
"In that case you also are free," said the Jailer.
Pinocchio ran out the prison door and away, with never a look backward.
Click on Pinocchio to go to Chapter Twenty
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