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Pinocchio is caught by a Farmer, who uses him as a watchdog for his chicken coop 


Pinocchio is caught by a Farmer,
who uses him as a watchdog for his chicken coop.

Chapter Twenty-one

As retold for Aaron

Pinocchio is caught by a Farmer, who uses him as a watchdog for his chicken coop.

Pinocchio may have been made of wood but the pain of the steel teeth of the trap on his legs was terrible. He screamed and weeped. He pleaded to be set free. There were no houses to be seen however, so there was no one to hear him, and not a soul passed by on the road. After a while dusk began to fall. Then it was night and Pinocchio began to be wonder if he might be there forever.
The Marionette was a little afraid of the dark, and in the vineyard it was very, very dark. The pain in his legs and his fright at finding himself alone in the dark field made him feel more and more ill. He was at the point of fainting when he saw a tiny Glowworm flickering by.
"Dear little Glowworm," he called, "will you set me free?"
"Poor fellow!" the Glowworm said, stopping to examine the trap. He offered the puppet a look of profound pity. "How did you get caught in this horrible trap?"
"It happened when I stepped into this lonely field to take some grapes."
"Are the grapes yours?"
"Who has taught you to take things that do not belong to you?" the Glowworm asked.
"I was so hungry," Pinocchio pleaded for understanding.
"Hunger, my boy, is no reason for taking something which belongs to another," the Glowworm replied. Which, to my thinking was a rather harsh thing to tell a famished Pinocchio who had only wanted a few grapes.
Pinocchio, exhausted and terrified, had no heart to argue. "It's true, it's true!" cried the puppet in tears, and sobbed all the more heartily until he was entirely convinced the Glowworm was right, that he deserved what he had gotten. "I won't do it again."
Just then, the conversation was interrupted by approaching footsteps. It was the owner of the field quietly tiptoeing up to see if he had caught in the trap any of the Weasels which had been eating his chickens.
Great was his surprise when, on holding up his lantern, he saw instead of a Weasel, he had caught a little wooden boy!
"Ah, you little thief!" growled the Farmer, jumping to his own conclusions. "So you are the one who steals my chickens!"
"Not I! No, no!" cried Pinocchio. "I came here only to take a very few grapes as I was very hungry."
"He who steals grapes may very easily steal chickens also," the Farmer replied, who seemed to have no pity to offer. "Now, I'm going to give you a lesson that you'll remember for a long while."
The Marionette thought that being caught in the trap was enough of a lesson--but not the Farmer. Releasing Pinocchio from the trap, he grabbed him by the collar and carried him back to his house as if he were a sorry puppy. Then in the yard before the house, he flung the puppet on the ground, put a foot on his wooden neck and said to him roughly, "It's late and time for bed so we'll have to wait to settle matters until tomorrow. In the meantime, since my watchdog died today, you may take his place and guard my henhouse." With that, he slipped a dog collar around Pinocchio's neck and tightened it so that it wouldn't come off. One end of an iron chain fastened to the collar, the other end nailed to the wall of the house, the puppet wasn't going to be going anywhere.
"If it rains," said the Farmer, "you can sleep in that little doghouse nearby, where you will find plenty of straw for a soft bed. It was Melampo's bed for three years, and if it was good enough for my watchdog, then it's good enough for you. Mind, if by any chance any thieves should come, be sure to bark!"
After this last warning, the Farmer went into the house and closed the door and barred it.
More dead than alive from cold, pain, hunger and fright, poor Pinocchio huddled close to the doghouse. Now and again he pulled and tugged at the collar which nearly choked him but it was no use. Finally he cried, "I deserve it! Yes, I deserve it! I have been nothing but a truant and a vagabond. I have never obeyed anyone and I have always done as I pleased. If I were only like so many others and had studied and worked and stayed with my poor old father, I wouldn't find myself here now, in this field, in the darkness, taking the place of a farmer's watchdog. Oh, if I could start all over again! But what is done can't be undone!"
After this pathetic little sermon to himself, Pinocchio crawled into the doghouse, lay his head on the prickly straw, and fell asleep.

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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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