As retold for Aaron
Pinocchio sells his A-B-C book to pay his way into the Marionette Theater.
You ought to have seen Pinocchio hurrying off to school the next morning in his new suit and with his new A-B-C book under his arm! As he walked along, his brain was busy planning hundreds of wonderful things he would learn and the marvelous things he would do and be with what he learned. "In school today, I'll learn to read, tomorrow to write, and the day after tomorrow I'll do arithmetic. Then, clever as I am, I can take my new skills and earn a lot of money. The first thing I'll buy will be a new coat for Father, one that is made of gold and silver with diamond buttons. He will be so proud of me that he won't ever have cause to regret that he made me!"
As the little Marionette talked to himself, spinning plans, he thought he heard the sounds of drums and pipes coming from a distance. The music they made was so attractive, he stopped to listen. It seemed to be coming from a little road that led down to a square near the beach.
"What can that sound be?" Pinocchio wondered, who had never heard music.
Just then, an older boy came walking along with a bunch of posters in his hands that he was tacking up here and there on lamp posts and trees. "What are you doing?" Pinocchio asked him.
"Putting up posters."
"What are they about?"
"Read them and you'll know," the boy said.
"I'd like to read, but somehow I can't today," Pinocchio replied, a little embarrassed that he couldn't read--which was why he was on his way to school.
"Is that right? Then I'll read it for you. It says GREAT MARIONETTE THEATER."
"Great Marionette Theater?"
"They're putting on shows today. If you hurry, one is about ready to start."
"Great Marionette theater? And the sounds that I hear, do they come from there?"
"You mean the pipes and drums? Yes, they're playing music down at the square."
"Oh, what a nuisance I have to go to school today!" Pinocchio complained. "Otherwise..."
So, which was it to be? Should Pinocchio go to school, or should he follow the pipes? The puppet, having little experience with decisions, scarce understood that he stood at the crossroads of making one.
"Today I'll follow the pipes, and tomorrow I'll go to school. There's always plenty of time to go to school," decided Pinocchio at last, shrugging his shoulders.
The Marionette ran down the street up which flowed the sound of the music. As he ran, louder and louder grew the sounds of the pipes and drum, which went something like: pi-pi-pi, pi-pi-pi, pi-pi-pi…zum, zum, zum, zum.
Coming round a corner, Pinocchio found himself in a large town square which was full of people. They stood in front of a little wooden building painted in brilliant colors. "What is that house everyone is gathered in front of?" Pinocchio asked a boy near him.
"Read the sign and you'll know," the boy retorted.
"I'd like to read," Pinocchio said, "but somehow I can't today."
"OK, then, I'll read it for you. Written in letters that look like fire, are the words, GREAT MARIONETTE THEATER."
"When does the show start?" Pinocchio asked.
"It's starting now."
"Then I must hurry," Pinocchio said, breathless with excitement.
"Do you have the money it takes to get in?"
Ah, that word: Money. What a terrible word. Did one have to pay for everything? "How much does one have to pay to get in?" Pinocchio replied.
The boy squinted his eyes, examining Pinocchio, and said, "More money than you would obviously have."
Pinocchio, who was wild with curiosity to get inside and learn about marionettes, shamelessly beseeched, "Will you loan me the money until tomorrow?"
"Gladly, but my banker isn't here to sign the loan contract for me," the boy answered, poking fun at him. "Sorry, but I don't loan money to little Marionettes who are unlikely to ever have it to pay me back."
"What about my nice, flowered coat? If I sell you my coat will you give me the money to get into the show?" Pinocchio asked.
"That thing? It's not even cloth. It's only paper. If it rained I couldn't take it off again."
"What about my shoes?" Pinocchio asked. "They are nice, bark shoes. The best that could ever be found. I know because my Father, Geppetto, made them for me. You won't find another pair of shoes like this if you searched the wide world over."
"Those bark shoes of yours are only good enough to light a fire with," the boy laughed scornfully.
"What about my hat?" Pinocchio asked.
"It's made of nice enough felt," the boy said, eyeing the cap. "I like the horsehair braid, but it's only got a painted cardboard visor, and it's all glued together. No, I don't think I want to buy your hat."
Almost in tears, Pinocchio thought about how his wooden feet were glued to his wooden legs. If they were only glued on, did that mean they would fall off eventually? Maybe sooner than later even? Were people that poorly made?
"And my A-B-C book?" Pinocchio asked.
"I'll buy your A-B-C book," a junk-shop dealer offered, who knew that he could get several times for the book what it cost to get into the show.
The same book for which Geppetto had sold his coat, then and there changed hands, purchasing Pinocchio's admittance to the GREAT MARIONETTE THEATER.
Click on Pinocchio to go to Chapter Ten
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