The Story of a Puppet/VI

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The Story of a Puppet by Carlo Collodi, translated by Mary Alice Murray
VI
Collodi - The Story of a Puppet, translation Murray, 1892 036.png


VI

Pinocchio falls asleep with his feet on the
          brazier, and wakes in the morning to
          find them burnt off.


It was a wild and stormy winter's night. The thunder was tremendous and the lightning so vivid that the sky seemed on fire. A bitter blusterous wind whistled angrily, and raising clouds of dust swept over the country, causing the trees to creak and groan as it passed.

Pinocchio had a great fear of thunder, but hunger was stronger than fear. He therefore closed the house door and made a rush for the village, which he reached in a hundred bounds, with his tongue hanging out and panting for breath, like a dog after game.

But he found it all dark and deserted. The shops were closed, the windows shut, and there was not so much as a dog in the street. It seemed the land of the dead.

Pinocchio, urged by desperation and hunger, laid hold of the bell of a house and began to peal it with all his might, saying to himself:

'That will bring somebody.'

And so it did. A little old man appeared at a window with a nightcap on his head, and called to him angrily:

'What do you want at such an hour?'

'Would you be kind enough to give me a little bread?'

'Wait there, I will be back directly,' said the little old man, thinking he had to do with one of those rascally boys who amuse themselves at night by ringing the house bells to rouse respectable people who are sleeping quietly.

After half a minute the window was again opened, and the voice of the same little old man shouted to Pinocchio:

'Come underneath and hold out your cap.'

Pinocchio pulled off his cap; but just as he held it out an enormous basin of water was poured down on him, watering him from head to foot as if he had been a pot of dried-up geraniums.

He returned home like a wet chicken quite exhausted with fatigue and hunger; and having no longer strength to stand, he sat down and rested his damp and muddy feet on a brazier full of burning embers.

And then he fell asleep; and whilst he slept his feet, which were wooden, took fire, and little by little they burnt away and became cinders.

Pinocchio continued to sleep and to snore as if his feet belonged to some one else. At last about daybreak he awoke because some one was knocking at the door.

'Who is there?' he asked, yawning and rubbing his eyes.

'It is I!' answered a voice.

And the voice was Geppetto's voice.