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Pinocchio weeps upon learning that the Lovely Maiden with Azure Hair is dead. He meets a Pigeon, who carries him to the seashore. He throws himself into the sea to go to the aid of his father

Pinocchio meets a Pigeon, who carries
him to the seashore. He throws himself into
the sea to go to the aid of his father.


Chapter Twenty-three

As retold for Aaron

Pinocchio meets a Pigeon, who carries him to the seashore. He throws himself into the sea to go to the aid of his father.

As already mentioned, the moment Pinocchio no longer felt the shameful weight of the dog collar around his neck, he started to run across the fields and meadows, and didn't stop 'til he came to the main road that was to take him to the Fairy's house.
When he reached the road, he looked into the valley far below him. There he saw the wood where unluckily he had met the Fox and the Cat, and the tall oak tree where he had been hanged; but though he searched far and near, he couldn't see the house where the Fairy with the Azure Hair lived. His heart beating hard with fear, the Marionette ran, fast as he could, until reaching where the house of the Azure Fairy of the Wood had stood.
The house was gone. The Fairy with the Azure hair was gone. Where the house had been was a white marble slab which looked very much like a gravemarker--and if it wasn't then it may as well have been, for the lovely thoughts that had strengthened Pinocchio those many months perished with his disccovery that the Fairy and the house were gone.
"And where is my Father who started out from his home so many months ago to find me?" Pinocchio wept. "What hope is there for me now, a little, lost, orphaned puppet? Where will I sleep? What will I eat? Who will give me my medicine when I'm sick? Who will make new clothes for me to wear? Who will read to me?"
Unable to imagine where he might go now, feeling utterly abandoned, Pinocchio passed the night crying his tiny wooden heart out on the spot where the house had stood.
In the morning, a large Pigeon flying by happened to see the puppet lying on the ground, and called out, "Hello there, what are you doing?"
"Can't you see? I'm crying," cried Pinocchio, lifting his head toward the voice and rubbing his eyes with his sleeve.
"Do you by chance know of a Marionette, whose name is Pinocchio?" the Pigeon asked.
"Pinocchio? But I am Pinocchio."
At this answer, the Pigeon flew swiftly down to the earth. "Then you know the woodcarver, Geppetto?"
"Do I know him?" Pinocchio sprang to his feet. "He's my father, my poor, dear father! Is he alive? Where is he?"
"Sad Geppetto, I left him three days ago on the shore of a large sea."
"What was he doing?"
"He was building a little boat with which to cross the ocean. These last four months he has spent wandering up one road and down another looking for you. Since he has had no luck, he made up his mind to look for you in the New World, far across the ocean."
"How far is it from here to the shore?" asked Pinocchio anxiously.
"More than fifty miles."
"Fifty miles? Oh,Pigeon, if only I had your wings, I would immediately fly there!"
"You may fly there right now."
"How?"
"Astride my back. Are you very heavy?"
"Heavy? Not at all. I'm only a feather."
At the Pigeon's nod, Pinocchio jumped on the bird's back. As he settled himself, he cried out gayly: "Gallop on, gallop on, my galliant steed! I'm in a great hurry."
The Pigeon flew away, up and into the the clouds. When the Marionette looked to see what was below them, his head so swam with their dizzying height, he wildly clutched at the Pigeon's neck to keep himself from falling.
They flew all day. Toward evening the Pigeon said, "I'm very thirsty!"
"And I'm very hungry!" said Pinocchio.
"Let us stop a few minutes at that pigeon coop down there," the Pigeon urged. "Then we can go on and be at the seashore in the morning."
They flew down to the pigeon coop, but entering they found it empty, and nothing but a bowl of water and a small basket filled with chick-peas.
Before that day, the Marionette might have claimed he hated chickpeas, refusing to eat them because they made him sick, but that night he ate every single chickpea with relish. "I never should have thought that chickpeas could be so good!" he told the Pigeon when he was done.
"Of course. Hunger is the best sauce there is," the Pigeon replied.
After resting a few minutes longer, they set out again. The next morning they were at the seashore, as the Pigeon had promised.
Pinocchio jumped off the Pigeon's back, and the Pigeon, not waiting for any thanks for its kind deed, ascended swiftly into the sky where it disappeared into the clouds.
Looking around, the puppet saw the shore was full of people shrieking and tearing their hair as they looked toward the sea.
"What has happened?" he asked a little old woman.
"A poor old father who lost his only son some time ago, built a tiny boat in order to go in search of him across the ocean. But the water is very rough and we're afraid he will be drowned. See, he's out there now."
"Where is the little boat?"
"There. Straight down there," answered the little old woman, pointing to a tiny shadow, no bigger than a nutshell, floating on the sea.
Pinocchio looked closely for a few minutes then gave a sharp cry: "It's my father! Geppetto! Can no one save him?"
The little boat, tossed about by the angry waters, appearing and disappearing in the waves, Pinocchio stood upon a high rock and waved to it with his cap. It appeared that Geppetto, though far away from the shore, recognized his son, for he took off his cap and waved also.
At that moment, a huge wave came and the boat disappeared.
The people on the shore waited and waited for the boat to reappear, but it was gone.
"Poor man!" said the fisher folk, and whispered a prayer as they turned to go home.
Just then a desperate cry was heard. Turning around, the fisher folk saw Pinocchio dive into the sea and heard him cry out: "I'll save him! I'll save my father!"
The Marionette, being made of wood, floated easily along and swam like a fish in the rough water. Now and again he disappeared only to reappear once more. Very soon, he was far away from land, and in not too much longer a time he was completely lost to view.
"Poor boy!" said the fisher folk on the shore, and again they turned to go home, mumbling a few prayers.

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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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