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Geppetto makes Pinocchio a new pair of feet, and sells his coat to buy him an A-B-C book.

Geppetto makes Pinocchio a new pair of feet,
and sells his coat to buy him an A-B-C book.

Chapter Eight

As retold for Aaron

Geppetto makes Pinocchio a new pair of feet, and sells his coat to buy him an A-B-C book.

Pinocchio was happy that his hunger was satisfied, but he didn't stay happy for long. Very soon he started to grumble and cry that he wanted a new pair of feet--and who could blame him?
Geppetto took his tools and two pieces of wood and set to work on fashioning a new pair of feet for the little Marionette.
Looking out the window while he waited on his new set of feet, Pinocchio saw some children with books in their hands pass by on the road. "Father, where are those children going?" he asked.
"Those children?" Geppetto glanced out the window then back to his work. "They're going to school, Pinocchio."
"Ah, school. And what are they carrying?"
"They're carrying books."
"What are books for?" Pinocchio asked.
Geppetto happened to have a book. He brought it out of the box in which it was stored and gave it to Pinocchio. The book had many marvelous pictures that were fun to look at. It also had strange squiggly things all over its pages. Pinocchio asked, "What are all these things that look like ants running about?"
"That's writing," Geppetto told him.
"What is writing?" the Marionette asked. "What does it mean?"
"Writing is itself like a little picture of ideas. If you could read, the writing would tell you all kinds of stories. Books are adventures you make with your head instead of your legs carrying you into them."
"Are those adventures better?" Pinocchio asked.
Geppetto thought a moment. "That is what school is for," he finally said. "A teacher would be able to tell you. School helps you learn to think."
While Geppetto worked, Pinocchio, excited at seeing his new feet being made, asked numerous questions. "Tell me about school," he demanded. "What do children do there?"


"They learn the A-B-C's," Geppetto said. "That's the writing I was telling you about. With their A-B-C's, the children learn to read from books."
"Books like this? Which have such marvelous pictures?" Pinocchio asked, excited.
"Yes, and they take pencils in their hands and learn how to write. That way they can put down all the stories and ideas they have in their own heads. And they learn to write their names."
"My name's Pinocchio."
"Yes, your name's Pinocchio."
"I want to learn to read books," Pinocchio suddenly proclaimed. "So I guess I must go to school after all. I have decided I want to learn all that I can."
"I suppose you're going to learn to be a great success as well with all that studying," Geppetto laughed, "and a good little boy. Isn't that right? You think school will teach you how to be a good little boy and a great success?"
"Oh, yes! I'm going to be the best little boy there ever was. I'm going to go to school every day. I'm going to study and be a great success. The teacher will tell me what to think and that way I'll learn to be an obedient boy. Just you wait and see!"
"All little boys promise things like that when they want their way," Geppetto replied. "No, Pinocchio. Once I have your little feet back on your legs, you're going to run off. Which makes me wonder why should I make you little feet when you're just going to run away!"
"No, no, Father! Wait and see, I'm not like other boys! I'm better than all of them, and I will always tell the truth. I'll be your comfort and staff in your old age," Pinocchio said, though he wasn't quite sure what it meant. He only knew he had heard it somewhere and it sounded like just the right thing to aspire to.
In less than an hour, Geppetto had finished the Marionette's new feet. They were two, handsome, slender, nimble little feet, strong and quick.
"Close your eyes and sleep," Geppetto then instructed the Marionette, for he wasn't sure if attaching the new feet to the puppet would hurt him or not. He wasn't sure if the little puppet had feelings.
Pinocchio closed his eyes and pretended to sleep while Geppetto stuck on the two feet with a bit of glue melted in an eggshell, doing his work so well that the joint could hardly be seen.


As soon as the Marionette felt his new feet, he leaped from the table and started to skip and jump around, as if he had lost his head from joy. "Yea! Yea! I have new feet! And now to show you how grateful I am I'll carry myself with my new feet to school where I can learn to read and see the multitudinous places that exist in books! But to go to school I need a new suit of clothes!"
"Is that so."
"Yes, indeed!"
Geppetto didn't have a penny in his pocket. So he made his son a little suit coat of flowered paper, a pair of shoes from the bark of a tree, and a felt hat with a cardboard visor and horsebraid strap. When he was done, Pinocchio was confident that no one had ever been more finely attired. Certainly, everywhere he went he would turn heads.
"Now, you look the very picture of a gentleman," Geppetto said.
"I look like a gentleman," Pinocchio echoed.
"But fine clothes don't make the man."
"For that I need to go to school."
"Yes, go to school, learn to be a wiser man than I, and take care of me in my old age," the craftsman replied, amused by the aspirations of his little Marionette.
"That way I will never end up in the hospital or in jail. I will never be a donkey or a laughing-stock. I'll become rich, and buy a nice house for you so you will never be turned out."
"All fathers should have sons just like you."
"In order to go to school, I still need something very important," Pinocchio said.
"What is it?"
"An A-B-C book."
"Pinocchio, have you any money to purchase an A-B-C book?" Geppetto asked.
"What is money?"
"A thing I don't have."
Pinocchio, although generally inclined to be a happy boy, became sad and downcast at Geppetto's words. When poverty shows itself, even happy-go-lucky Marionettes understand what it means.
"I'll be right back!" cried Geppetto all at once, and jumped up from his chair. Putting on his old coat which was held together with darns and patches, he ran out of the house.


When after a while he returned, in his hands he had the A-B-C book for the Marionette, but the old coat in which he'd left the house was gone. Though it was a cold day out, Geppetto had on only his shirt and was shivering.
"Where's your coat, Father?" Pinocchio asked.
"It was too warm. I sold it," Geppetto answered.
Pinocchio understood instantly. Unable to restrain his tears, he jumped on his father's neck and kissed him over and over.

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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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