As retold for Aaron
Pinocchio goes to the seashore with his friends to see the Terrible Shar.
In the morning, bright and early, Pinocchio started for school, his Mother having told him it was time that he should go, and he knew that he must obey if he was ever one day to become a real little boy. He knew that he must be hard-working and honest, generous and good.
Imagine, however, what the children said when they saw a Marionette enter the classroom! They laughed until they cried. They pulled his hat off and made fun of his puppet clothing. They played numerous tricks on him, even going so far as to tie strings to his feet and his hands to make him dance.
For a while Pinocchio was very calm and quiet. Finally, however, he lost all patience and turning to his tormentors, he said to them threateningly,
"Careful, I haven't come here to be made fun of. I'll respect you and I want you to respect me."
"Hurrah for Dr. Know-all! You have spoken like a printed book!" howled the boys, bursting with laughter. One of them, more impudent than the rest, put out his hand to pull the Marionette's nose.
But he wasn't quick enough, for before he had grasped it, Pinocchio stretched his leg under the table and kicked him hard on the shin with his little wooden foot.
"Oh, what hard feet!" cried the boy, rubbing the spot where the Marionette had kicked him.
"And what elbows! They are even harder than the feet!" shouted another one, who, because of some other trick, had received a blow in the stomach.
With that kick and that blow Pinocchio gained everybody's favor.
As the days passed into weeks, even the teacher praised him, for he saw the puppet ever attentive, hard working, and wide awake, always the first to come in the morning, and the last to leave when school was over.
Pinocchio's only fault, perhaps, was that he had too many friends, for among them were many trouble-makers. Because of this, the teacher and his Mother, the Good Fairy, warned him repeatedly,
"Take care, Pinocchio! Those bad companions sooner or later will lead you astray."
"Oh no," answered the Marionette, "I'm too wise for that. I have been through a great deal and know all about those types of people who only intend you harm while pretending to be good friends."
One day, as he was walking to school, some boys ran up to the puppet and said,
"Have you heard the news? A Shark as big as a mountain has been seen near the shore. We're going to see it. Why don't you come along with us?"
"No, not I. I must go to school," Pinocchio answered, who had not forgotten about the Great Shark that was seen the day Geppetto had disapppeared. Neither had he lost his fear of it.
"What do you care about school?" the boys retorted. "You can go there tomorrow, can't you? How often do you have a chance to see a Shark like this?"
Pinocchio still declined, asking, "But what will the teacher say?"
"Let him talk. He is paid to grumble all day long."
"And my mother?"
"Mothers don't know anything!"
"For certain reasons of mine, I, too, want to see that Shark," Pinocchio said after a moment, "but I'll go after school. I can see him then as well as now."
"Poor simpleton!" cried one of his friends. "Do you think that a fish of that size will stand there waiting for you? He turns and off he goes, and no one will ever be the wiser."
"How long does it take from here to the shore?" asked the Marionette.
"One hour there and back."
Pinocchio relented. "Very well, then."
"Let's see who gets there first!" the boys cried, and with books under their arms, dashed across the fields.
Enjoying the run, before long it was Pinocchio who led the way, flying as if on wings, the others following as fast as they could. Now and again, he looked back and, seeing his followers hot and tired,panting with their tongues hanging out, he laughed out heartily.
Unhappy boy! If he had only known then the dreadful things that were to happen to him on account of his disobedience!
Click on Pinocchio to go to Chapter Twenty-seven
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