As retold for Aaron
In the Shark's body Pinocchio finds whom? Read and you will know.
Pinocchio, as soon as he had said good-by to his new friend, the Tunny, tottered away in the darkness and began to walk as well as he could toward the faint light glowing in the distance.
As he walked his feet splashed in a pool of greasy and slippery water which had such a heavy smell of fish fried in oil.
The farther on he went, the brighter and clearer grew the tiny light. When he finally reached the light it was candle stuck in a glass bottle lighting a little table set for dinner, and near the table sat a little old man, white as the snow, eating live fish. They wriggled so that, now and again, one of them slipped out of the old man's mouth and escaped into the darkness under the table.
At this sight, the poor Marionette was filled with such great and sudden happiness that he almost dropped in a faint. He wanted to laugh, he wanted to cry, he wanted to say a thousand and one things, but all he could do was to stand still, stuttering and stammering brokenly. At last, with a great effort, he was able to let out a scream of joy. Opening wide his arms he threw them around the old man's neck.
"Oh, Father, dear Father! Have I found you at last? Now I shall never, never leave you again!"
"Are my eyes really telling me the truth?" answered the old man. "Tell me, can it be that you're really my own dear Pinocchio?"
"Yes, yes, yes! It is I! Look at me! And you have forgiven me, haven't you? Oh, my dear Father, but if you only knew how many misfortunes have fallen on my head and how many troubles I have had! On the day you sold your old coat to buy me my A-B-C book so that I could go to school, I instead ran away to the Marionette Theater and the proprietor caught me and wanted to burn me to cook his roast lamb! He was the one who gave me the five gold pieces for you, but I met the Fox and the Cat, who took me to the Inn of the Red Lobster. There they ate like wolves and I left the Inn alone and met the Assassins in the wood. You can be sure I ran, but they ran after me, then they hanged me to the branch of a giant oak tree. The Fairy of the Azure Hair sent the coach to rescue me and the doctors, after looking at me, said, `If he is not dead, then he is surely alive,' and then I told a lie and my nose began to grow. It grew and it grew, until it was so long I couldn't get it through the door of the room. After that, I went with the Fox and the Cat to the Field of Wonders to bury the gold pieces, but the Parrot laughed at me and, instead of two thousand gold pieces, I found none. When the Judge heard I had been robbed, he sent me to jail, and when I said I was a thief and was released, I came upon a fine bunch of grapes hanging on a vine but a trap caught me and the Farmer put a collar on me and made me a watchdog. The Serpent with the tail that smoked started to laugh and a vein in his chest burst, so I went back to the Fairy's house, but the house and Fairy were gone. A Pigeon, seeing me crying, said to me, `I have seen your father building a boat to look for you in the New World,' and I said to him, `Oh, if I only had wings!' and he said to me, `Do you want to go to your father?' and I said, `Perhaps, but how?' and he said, `Get on my back. I'll take you there.' We flew all night long, and next morning the fishermen were looking toward the sea, crying, `There is a poor little man drowning,' and I knew it was you, because my heart told me so as I waved to you from the shore--"
"Yes," said Geppetto, "It was there that this gigantic Shark swallowed me. It has seemed like two centuries since then."
"But how have you lived? Where did you find the candle? And the matches with which to light it--where did you get them?"
"In the storm which swamped my boat, a large ship also suffered the same fate. The sailors were all saved, but the ship went right to the bottom of the sea, and the same Terrible Shark that swallowed me, swallowed most of the ship. To my own good luck, that ship was loaded with meat, preserved foods, crackers, bread, bottles of wine, raisins, cheese, coffee, sugar, wax candles, and boxes of matches. With all these blessings, I have been able to live for two years, but now I am at the very last crumbs. Today there is nothing left in the cupboard, and this candle you see here is the last one I have."
"And then, my dear, we'll find ourselves in darkness."
"My dear Father," said Pinocchio, "there is no time to lose. We must try to escape."
"We can run out of the Shark's mouth and dive into the sea."
"You speak well, but I cannot swim, my dear Pinocchio."
"Why should that matter? You can climb on my shoulders and I, who am a fine swimmer, will carry you safely to the shore."
"Dreams, my boy!" answered Geppetto, shaking his head and smiling sadly. "Do you think it possible for a Marionette to have the strength to carry his old father on his shoulders and swim?"
"Try it and see!" Pinocchio pleaded. "In any case, if it is written that we must die, we shall at least die together."
Pinocchio took the candle in his hand and going ahead to light the way, he said to Geppetto:
"Follow me and have no fear."
They walked a long distance through the stomach and the whole body of the Shark. When they reached the throat of the monster, they stopped for a while to wait for the right moment in which to make their escape.
The sleeping shark had opened its mouth. As Pinocchio looked up through the open jaws, he caught a glimpse of the night sky filled with stars.
"The time has come for us to escape," he whispered, turning to his father. "The Shark is fast asleep. The sea is calm and the night is as bright as day. Follow me closely, and we shall soon be saved."
Pinocchio and Geppetto climbed up the throat of the monster until they came to its immense open mouth. There they had to walk on tiptoes, for if they tickled the Shark's long tongue he might awaken--a tongue so wide and so long that it looked like a country road. Then just as the two fugitives were about to dive into the sea, the Shark sneezed suddenly and, as he sneezed, he gave Pinocchio and Geppetto such a jolt that they found themselves thrown on their backs and dashed once more, unceremoniously, into the stomach of the monster.
To make matters worse, the candle went out.
Pinocchio and Geppetto found themselves in total darkness.
"We are lost," lamented Geppetto.
"Why lost? Give me your hand! We must try again. Come with me and don't be afraid."
With these words Pinocchio took his father by the hand and, again, they climbed up the monster's throat. They then crossed the whole tongue and jumped over the three rows of teeth. Before making the last great leap which would deliver them into the ocean, the Marionette said to his father, "Climb on my back and hold on tightly to my neck. I'll take care of everything else."
Pinocchio, very sure of what he was doing, Geppetto on his back, dove into the water and started to swim.
The sea was like oil, the moon shone in all splendor, and the Shark continued to sleep so soundly that not even a cannon shot would have awakened him.
Click on Pinocchio to go to Chapter Thirty-six
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