The Adventures of Pinocchio/Chapter 18

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The Adventures of Pinocchio by C. Collodi
Chapter 18
Pinocchio finds the Fox and the Cat again, and goes with them to sow the gold pieces in the Field of Wonders.

Crying as if his heart would break, the Marionette mourned for hours over the length of his nose. No matter how he tried, it would not go through the door. The Fairy showed no pity toward him, as she was trying to teach him a good lesson, so that he would stop telling lies, the worst habit any boy may acquire. But when she saw him, pale with fright and with his eyes half out of his head from terror, she began to feel sorry for him and clapped her hands together. A thousand woodpeckers flew in through the window and settled themselves on Pinocchio's nose. They pecked and pecked so hard at that enormous nose that in a few moments, it was the same size as before.

"How good you are, my Fairy," said Pinocchio, drying his eyes, "and how much I love you!"

"I love you, too," answered the Fairy, "and if you wish to stay with me, you may be my little brother and I'll be your good little sister."

"I should like to stay--but what about my poor father?"

"I have thought of everything. Your father has been sent for and before night he will be here."

"Really?" cried Pinocchio joyfully. "Then, my good Fairy, if you are willing, I should like to go to meet him. I cannot wait to kiss that dear old man, who has suffered so much for my sake."

"Surely; go ahead, but be careful not to lose your way. Take the wood path and you'll surely meet him."

Pinocchio set out, and as soon as he found himself in the wood, he ran like a hare. When he reached the giant oak tree he stopped, for he thought he heard a rustle in the brush. He was right. There stood the Fox and the Cat, the two traveling companions with whom he had eaten at the Inn of the Red Lobster.

"Here comes our dear Pinocchio!" cried the Fox, hugging and kissing him. "How did you happen here?"

"How did you happen here?" repeated the Cat.

"It is a long story," said the Marionette. "Let me tell it to you. The other night, when you left me alone at the Inn, I met the Assassins on the road--"

"The Assassins? Oh, my poor friend! And what did they want?"

"They wanted my gold pieces."

"Rascals!" said the Fox.

"The worst sort of rascals!" added the Cat.

"But I began to run," continued the Marionette, "and they after me, until they overtook me and hanged me to the limb of that oak."

Pinocchio pointed to the giant oak near by.

"Could anything be worse?" said the Fox.

"What an awful world to live in! Where shall we find a safe place for gentlemen like ourselves?"

As the Fox talked thus, Pinocchio noticed that the Cat carried his right paw in a sling.

"What happened to your paw?" he asked.

The Cat tried to answer, but he became so terribly twisted in his speech that the Fox had to help him out.

"My friend is too modest to answer. I'll answer for him. About an hour ago, we met an old wolf on the road. He was half starved and begged for help. Having nothing to give him, what do you think my friend did out of the kindness of his heart? With his teeth, he bit off the paw of his front foot and threw it at that poor beast, so that he might have something to eat."

As he spoke, the Fox wiped off a tear.

Pinocchio, almost in tears himself, whispered in the Cat's ear:

"If all the cats were like you, how lucky the mice would be!"

"And what are you doing here?" the Fox asked the Marionette.

"I am waiting for my father, who will be here at any moment now."

"And your gold pieces?"

"I still have them in my pocket, except one which I spent at the Inn of the Red Lobster."

"To think that those four gold pieces might become two thousand tomorrow. Why don't you listen to me? Why don't you sow them in the Field of Wonders?"

"Today it is impossible. I'll go with you some other time."

"Another day will be too late," said the Fox.

"Why?"

"Because that field has been bought by a very rich man, and today is the last day that it will be open to the public."

"How far is this Field of Wonders?"

"Only two miles away. Will you come with us? We'll be there in half an hour. You can sow the money, and, after a few minutes, you will gather your two thousand coins and return home rich. Are you coming?"

Pinocchio hesitated a moment before answering, for he remembered the good Fairy, old Geppetto, and the advice of the Talking Cricket. Then he ended by doing what all boys do, when they have no heart and little brain. He shrugged his shoulders and said to the Fox and the Cat:

"Let us go! I am with you."

And they went.

They walked and walked for a half a day at least and at last they came to the town called the City of Simple Simons. As soon as they entered the town, Pinocchio noticed that all the streets were filled with hairless dogs, yawning from hunger; with sheared sheep, trembling with cold; with combless chickens, begging for a grain of wheat; with large butterflies, unable to use their wings because they had sold all their lovely colors; with tailless peacocks, ashamed to show themselves; and with bedraggled pheasants, scuttling away hurriedly, grieving for their bright feathers of gold and silver, lost to them forever.

Through this crowd of paupers and beggars, a beautiful coach passed now and again. Within it sat either a Fox, a Hawk, or a Vulture.

"Where is the Field of Wonders?" asked Pinocchio, growing tired of waiting.

"Be patient. It is only a few more steps away."

They passed through the city and, just outside the walls, they stepped into a lonely field, which looked more or less like any other field.

"Here we are," said the Fox to the Marionette. "Dig a hole here and put the gold pieces into it."

The Marionette obeyed. He dug the hole, put the four gold pieces into it, and covered them up very carefully. "Now," said the Fox, "go to that near-by brook, bring back a pail full of water, and sprinkle it over the spot."

Pinocchio followed the directions closely, but, as he had no pail, he pulled off his shoe, filled it with water, and sprinkled the earth which covered the gold. Then he asked:

"Anything else?"

"Nothing else," answered the Fox. "Now we can go. Return here within twenty minutes and you will find the vine grown and the branches filled with gold pieces."

Pinocchio, beside himself with joy, thanked the Fox and the Cat many times and promised them each a beautiful gift.

"We don't want any of your gifts," answered the two rogues. "It is enough for us that we have helped you to become rich with little or no trouble. For this we are as happy as kings."

They said good-by to Pinocchio and, wishing him good luck, went on their way.