aboutthe fairy talesentrancepinocchioetcetera

As soon as he gets home, Geppetto fashions the Marionette and calls it Pinocchio. Toubles soon follow.

As soon as he gets home, Geppetto fashions
the Marionette and calls it Pinocchio.
Toubles soon follow.

Chapter Three

As retold for Aaron

As soon as he gets home, Geppetto fashions the Marionette and calls it Pinocchio. Toubles soon follow.

Before proceeding, let's reflect a moment on the happenings thus far.
Much fun was made of the fight Geppetto and Mister Cherry got into, when, though ridiculous, it scarcely was funny. Settling disagreements with violence is to be scorned. It doesn't impress, doesn't demonstrate who is less or more powerful. In fact, it is a grave weakness. I'd say that even a little piece of wood, unless taught otherwise, should know this; except it would sound ridiculous, wouldn't it, to talk about a piece of wood as if it was human, even if that little piece of wood could weep and laugh just like a child.
Geppetto didn't know that the little piece of wood he carried home with him could laugh and weep just like a child.
Geppetto, who made toys, had for an apartment a small room on the ground floor of a house that was a little way out of town. His room was a neat and comfortable place, but it was dark, having only one tiny window under the stairway. As for furniture, the apartment had only one very old chair, a rickety old bed, a lopsided table (one leg of which was propped up with matchbooks to make it more level) and his workbench. Strange as it may sound, opposite the door, a fireplace full of burning logs was painted on the wall. Why? Because Geppetto didn't make much money on his toys and therefore he was always ensured at least the mirage of a fire all the cold days and nights when he didn't have the fuel for one. His painting of the fire was so lifelike that if one didn't look too closely one would swear it was flickering, because Geppetto was an artist good at painting or carving a likeness of most anything he might see, which was why he was so confident he could made a Marionette just as he had envisioned that morning.
Over the fire there was also painted a pot full of stew boiling happily away continually, sending up great clouds of what looked like real steam.
Had it been my apartment, I think I might have painted a cardboard box to look like an oven with a stove top, and put a hat upside down on one of the pretend burners just like it was a pot. But, this isn't my apartment. It's Geppetto's, where he had lived all by himself for many long years.


When Geppetto reached home, he put the piece of wood on his workbench, took up his tools, and began to cut and shape the wood into the Marionette of which he'd dreamed. "What shall I call him?" Geppetto said as he worked. "What kind of name should my marvelous Marionette have? I know, I'll call him Pinocchio. I once knew a whole family of Pinocchi. Pinocchia was the mother, Pinocchio was the father. Every single child was a Pinocchi. They were all very lucky too. The richest of them begged for his food." Geppetto laughed. "Yes, Pinocchio. This name will make our little lad's fortune."
What does Pinocchio mean? I know that in Spanish penacho means feather, but in Italian feather is pena, at least I think it is (from which we get the word pen, as in a writing pen, for pens were once feathers with sharpened quills one dipped in ink and used that for scratching words on paper). Let's see, but pena in Spanish means grief, woe, which could be an appropriate description for a Marionette named for people who had to beg for their food. However, Pino, in Italian, is pine, and Pinocchio is made out of wood, so Pino would seem descriptive of the puppet Geppetto was making. Since nico in Latin is victory, our Pinocchio could be "victorious wood." What do you think? Or we could attach instead the word icon, which means likness or true image so that Pinocchio would be the true image of pine wood.
Whatever Pinocchio means, Geppetto decided that would be the puppet's name, and I wish I could tell you why Geppetto thought it was a fitting name.
Geppetto thought about his plans for the Marionette as he worked, carefully carving the piece of wood, forming it to match his vision. When, having carved the eyes, they seemed to move and stare fixedly at him, Geppetto asked, "Ugly wooden eyes, why do you stare so? Maybe you'd prefer eyes made out of porcelain or glass, huh? Is that it?" Of course, there was no answer from the puppet.
The way the wooden eyes stared so fixedly at him, Geppetto began to feel a little grieved and insulted and finally said, "OK, maybe when you've made me a rich man I'll get you a fine set of glass eyes so you can see through them real clearly and not have your vision cluttered up with all the patterns in the wood. How's that?"


Geppetto continued to carve, sometimes having to hold the wood extra-firm, as if it would flinch right out of his hands with this or that chip taken out of it. And he warned the wood, "You be good now. If my hands make one false move, who knows, I might cut off an ear, or lop off one of your toes when I come to making them, or even worse. If your grain has any weak spots, I could snap you clean in two"
Geppetto carved the Marionette's nose. When he thought he was done, he looked again and saw that he wasn't finished at all, that the nose was far longer than it should be.
"With a nose like that, we'll only be able to put on Marionette shows of Cyrano de Bergerac, who was a poet who had an ugly nose so long he had to speak to his lady love through the voice of another since he didn't dare show her what he looked like," Geppetto observed and resolved to work on the nose some more. He worked so long that it seemed the long nose was endless and could never be pared down. Geppetto cut and cut it, and still the more he cut the longer seemed to grow the impertinent nose, so finally the craftsman decided to leave it alone, because, paradoxically, he was afraid he might cut the nose off altogether.
Next, Geppetto carved a mouth for the Marionette. You would think that the piece of wood, which was in the process of becoming a Marionette, would have kept quiet until he was completely carved, and then and only then surprised his creator with maybe a fine "Thank you!" for going to the bother of making him. Instead, no sooner was the mouth finished when it began to laugh.
Remember how Mister Cherry had responded when the piece of wood had spoken to him? Wouldn't you imagine that Geppetto would be every bit as startled? Don't you think he would have dropped his knife in amazement? Instead, Geppetto yelled angrily at the Marionette, "Stop laughing!" but he might as well have been speaking to a wall.
"Stop laughing, I say!" Geppetto roared big as thunder.
The mouth stopped laughing, but it stuck out its tongue at the craftsman.
"That's better," Geppetto said, pretended he saw nothing, and went on with his work.
Geppetto finished the neck, shoulders and stomach. He carved the Marionette so you could have sworn you saw its little veins on its arms and hands. He was about to put the last touches on the fingernails when he felt his wig being yanked. Geppetto looked up to see the Marionette merrily pulling on its locks like a little baby tugging on its mother's hair.


"Pinocchio, you are very wicked. I've not even finished making you, and here you are abusing your poor old father. You're a very bad son, indeed!" Geppetto reprimanded.
The Marionette draped a few loose strands from Geppetto's wig over his own forehead and looked back at Geppetto through them. The unexpected trick made Geppetto feel very sad and downcast, more dismal and depressed than he had ever been before in his life.
Poor Geppetto. Though he had carved puppets all his life, and though he had once been a little boy himself, he knew very little about the reasons for which little boys do some of the things they do, and he knew about as much about Marionettes who are able to move about without strings.
"Oh, you are a wicked, wicked boy," the craftsman cried out. "You are very bad; a very bad son, Pinocchio! Very bad, when you ought to have been my pride and joy. Who would have thought that my own handiwork would turn against me? Already you are finding amusement in causing me grief and pain." Geppetto wiped away a tear.
The Marionette's legs and feet still had to be finished, so Geppetto blew his nose on his sleeve and went back to work.
When, finally, the Marionette's feet were finished being carved, Geppetto took a great breath, let it out in a long sigh, and was about to sit back and survey his handiwork when, Ouch! he felt a sharp kick on the tip of his nose.
Terrible to say--oh, how I hate to report this--Geppetto raised his hand to slap the Marionette. He reconsidered, however, when he saw its eyes gazing curiously at him, studying him. "Well, I deserve it, don't I?" the craftsman said to the Marionette. "I should have thought of how wicked you might turn out to be. Now, it's too late! If I had stopped at your eyebrows it might not have been too late. If I had stopped at your knees, maybe then it wouldn't have been too late. But now? Too late."
Geppetto painted Pinocchio's eyes blue, his teeth white, his lips a fine, nice red. He gave him deep brown hair. He dressed him in little clothes. Then he took hold of the Marionette under his arms, lifted him up off the table, and placed Pinocchio on the floor.
As if to say, "Now what?" Pinocchio looked eagerly up at him.
"Time to teach you how to walk," Geppetto said. "Like everyone else, you must learn to stand on your own two feet. "
Pinocchio's legs were so stiff that he could hardly move them. Geppetto held his hand and showed the Marionette how to put one foot in front of the other.


As Pinocchio's legs began to limber up, he started walking by himself around the room, though not without falling down a couple of times. Then he discovered he could hop. He skipped. He jumped. He ran a few steps, then a few steps more. He ran circles all around Geppetto. He climbed up on the chair, and onto the rickety table. He jumped down off the table and up onto the rickety bed.
"Pushing me out of my bed already?" Geppetto said. "Here I do all the work, making you, and you're the one who wants a nap?
Geppetto opened the door for a breath of fresh air. With a bound, Pinocchio was off the bed and out the open door. Away he flew down the street!
"Pinocchio, come back!" Geppetto yelled, running after the Marionette. "Catch him! Catch him!" Geppetto shouted, but when the people in the street saw the wooden Marionette fleeing fast as the wind away from Geppetto, they could only first stare in disbelief, then laugh until they cried at the amusing antics of the puppet (which they thought was an automaton). He caused such a commotion that people crowded into the street to see what the ruckus was about.
The revelry caught the attention of a patrolling Carabineer (that is a policeman), who determined that proper law and order was being violated. Seeing Pinocchio careening down the town street, he marched into the middle of it and positioned himself with legs far apart square in the puppet's path
Pinnocho knew how to run but he didn't know yet how to stop. Without success, he tried to escape between the legs of the policeman. The policeman grabbed the Marionette by his nose and lifted him into the air, the puppet's legs still pumping away. "Geppetto, I take it this delinquent Marionette is your doing?" the policeman called to the winded cfatsman as he came stumbling up.
"Sorry if I caused you any trouble," Geppetto apologized. He grasped the little Marionette by the back of the neck and shook him about. "You can be sure, as soon as we get home, we'll settle the matter!"
Pinocchio, hearing this, threw himself down on the ground and went limp as can be. Geppetto tried to force him, but he couldn't be made to walk.
"Poor Marionette," a man cried out from the crowd. "I'm not surprised he doesn't want to go home. Geppetto, no doubt, will beat him unmercifully. He's a mean, cruel one, that Geppetto!"
The crowd laughed.
"Geppetto may look like a good man, but with little boys he's a real tyrant," another added. "If we leave that poor Marionette in his hands he may tear him to pieces!"


"He's my Marionette, I made him," Geppetto retaliated. "I may do with him what I like."
The crowd railed so against Geppetto that, finally, the Carabineer ended matters by setting Pinocchio at liberty and dragging Geppetto to prison.
Which is how it happened that the Geppetto, weeping and wailing like child, ended up being carted off to jail by the policeman.
"Ungrateful boy! To think I tried so hard to make you a well-behaved Marionette!" Geppetto cried. "I deserve it, however! I should have given the matter more thought!"
Now, if one cares to read on, what follows is an almost unbelievable story, as if what has happened thus far isn't incredible enough.

Click on Pinocchio to go to Chapter Four
Back to top

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
Link for copyright information.

the tales - myths - pinocchio - about - contact - links