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The story of Pinocchio and the Talking Cricket.

The story of Pinocchio and the Talking Cricket.


Chapter Four

As retold for Aaron

The story of Pinocchio and the Talking Cricket.

Geppetto carted off to jail, the entertainment over with, the crowd quickly forgot about the little Marionette lying on the street and dispersed.
"I better get home," Pinocchio said, hopping up.
Pinocchio must have led Geppetto on his chase quite a long way through the town, for the little Marionette, taking one short cut after another on his way back to the craftsman's home, had a grand time for himself running wildly across field and meadow. He leaped over brambles and bushes. He jumped across brooks and ponds. Had he been a goat or a rabbit one might have thought he was being chased by hounds; but Pinocchio was only a little puppet having fun with his new-found mobility and a little bit of what was becoming a bigger and bigger world. "Isn't it all grand and wonderful," Pinocchio thought to himself as he ran along, amazed and delighted by everything he saw--and there were many new things to see as everything was new to Pinocchio.
Imagine you have sat down to dinner at a table filled with exotic foods you've never heard of. After some bites of this and that, you might long for something familiar. This is how Pinocchio felt after a while, and was glad when he rounded a street corner to see what was for him home, the little apartment where he'd taken his first steps. The door was open, for Geppetto had neglected to shut it when he had taken off after the run-away puppet, which was a good thing too as Pinocchio didn't have a key. Trotting in, exhausted with his whirlwind tour, Pinocchio immediately threw himself on the floor.
The little Marionette had rested for only a few moments when he heard someone say, "Cri-cri-cri!"
"Who's that?" Pinocchio cried out, greatly frightened. He was only a little Marionette, and felt much like any little boy would upon finding himself at home without his parents for the first time.
"Who's calling you? I'm calling you!" the voice said.

16




Pinocchio turned in the direction he thought the voice had come from, but saw only a large cricket crawling slowly up the wall. He didn't know whether to be alarmed by or curious about such a peculiar thing, for Pinocchio had never seen a cricket before, much less a talking cricket. "What kind of new thing are you?" Pinocchio asked the cricket. "Did Geppetto make you, too?"
"I've lived in this room for more than one hundred years," the Cricket replied. "I'm not the new one here, you are."
"Maybe so," Pinocchio retorted, sounding as brave as he could, "but I know this apartment belongs to my father, Geppetto."
"Does it, now?" the cricket answered. "Geppetto pays for the privilege of living here. I don't. If he didn't pay he'd be thrown out quick as rancid milk."
"How awful. But if that's the way things work around here, if you have to pay for the privilege of living somewhere, then I'll thank you to leave immediately, and don't turn around even once as you go. This room is mine now."
"If that's how you want it, but I refuse to leave this spot until I've told you a great truth," the cricket said.
"A tiny cricket like you, what great truth can you tell me?"
"That is a very narrow view."
"How so?"
"Truth and wisdom can be found in the most unexpected of places to open ears and eyes."
"Tell it then, but be fast about it," Pinocchio replied.
"Woe to boys who refuse to heed the advice of their elders and run away from home! They will never be happy in this world, and when they are older they will be very sorry for it," the cricket answered.
"Ho! So you're my elder now?" Pinocchio scoffed. "A lot you know. I'm at home safe and sound or else how would I be talking to you. I didn't run away. Is that all?"
"You have a great deal to learn," the cricket answered.
"Oh, no, not me!" Pinocchio retorted. "Tomorrow, at dawn, I will leave this place forever rather than go to school. While I was out I heard some children talking about what a horrible thing school and learning was. I think, rather than study, I would have more fun chasing butterflies, climbing trees, and stealing birds' nests."
The Cricket reared up his legs and creaked, "You are a poor little silly if you don't know you'll grow into a perfect donkey and be the laughingstock of everyone!"

17




"How are you going to keep me from running away?" Pinocchio retorted. "Are you going to hit me? Keep still, you ugly cricket with your ugly eyes. I won't listen to you!"
The cricket, who was actually a very sage cricket, settled back on the wall and thought a moment rather than being offended at Pinocchio's impudence. "You are right; there are better ways of disciplining than by brute force," he replied. "It's my bound-and-duty to tell you however, that if all you do is eat, drink, sleep, play and wander around from morning till night, it is a trade that will only take you to hospital or jail."
Pinocchio brooded, "Geppetto's in jail. Maybe you should have had your talk with him, because I guess he didn't learn from his elders when he was a boy."
The cricket began to speak, but Pinocchio interrupted him. "Be careful what you say, cricket! Dont make me angry!"
"Why? What do you intend to do? Strike me?"
"I told you, cricket! Don't get me angry!" Pinocchio again boasted.
"Pinocchio, I feel sorry for you," the cricket sighed.
"Why?"
"Because you're a puppet."
"So? You're a cricket."
"Yes, but you're the one with the wooden head!"
At this, Pinocchio jumped up in a fury, took one of Geppetto's hammers from the bench, and threw it at the Talking Cricket.
Perhaps the Marionette did not think the hammer would strike the Cricket. But, sad to relate, it did, straight on its little Cricket head. With a last weak, "Cri-cri-cri", the poor Cricket fell from the wall, dead.

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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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