The Story of a Puppet/XIX

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The Story of a Puppet by Carlo Collodi, translated by Mary Alice Murray
XIX
Collodi - The Story of a Puppet, translation Murray, 1892 104.png

XIX

          

Pinocchio is robbed of his money, and as a
          punishment he is sent to prison for
          four months.


The puppet returned to the town and began to count the minutes one by one; and when he thought that it must be time he took the road leading to the Field of miracles.

And as he walked along with hurried steps his heart beat fast tic, tac, tic, tac, like a drawing-room clock when it is really going well. Meanwhile he was thinking to himself:

'And if instead of a thousand gold pieces, I was to find on the branches of the tree two thousand? . . . And instead of two thousand supposing I found five thousand? and instead of five thousand that I found a hundred thousand? Oh! what a fine gentleman I should then become! . . . I would have a beautiful palace, a thousand little wooden horses and a thousand stables to amuse myself with, a cellar full of currant-wine and sweet syrups, and a library quite full of candies, tarts, plum-cakes, macaroons, and biscuits with cream.'

Whilst he was building these castles in the air he had arrived in the neighbourhood of the field, and he stopped to look if by chance he could perceive a tree with its branches laden with money: but he saw nothing. He advanced another hundred steps—nothing: he entered the field . . . he went right up to the little hole where he had buried his sovereigns—and nothing. He then became very thoughtful, and forgetting the rules of society and good manners he took his hands out of his pocket and gave his head a long scratch.

At that moment he heard an explosion of laughter close to him, and looking up he saw a large Parrot perched on a tree, who was pruning the few feathers he had left.

'Why are you laughing?' asked Pinocchio in an angry voice.

'I am laughing because in pruning my feathers I tickled myself under my wings.'

The puppet did not answer, but went to the canal and, filling the same old shoe full of water, he proceeded to water the earth afresh that covered his gold pieces.

Whilst he was thus occupied another laugh, and still more impertinent than the first, rang out in the silence of that solitary place.

'Once for all,' shouted Pinocchio in a rage, 'may I know, you ill-educated Parrot, what you are laughing at?'

'I am laughing at those simpletons who believe in all the foolish things that are told them, and who allow themselves to be entrapped by those who are more cunning than they are.'

'Are you perhaps speaking of me?'

'Yes, I am speaking of you, poor Pinocchio—of you who are simple enough to believe that money can be sown and gathered in fields in the same way as beans and gourds. I also believed it once, and to-day I am suffering for it. To-day—but it is too late—I have at last learnt that to put a few pennies honestly together it is necessary to know how to earn them, either by the work of our own hands or by the cleverness of our own brains.'

'I don't understand you,' said the puppet, who was already trembling with fear.

'Have patience! I will explain myself better,' rejoined the Parrot. 'You must know, then, that whilst you were in the town the Fox and the Cat returned to the field: they took the buried money and then fled like the wind. And now he that catches them will be clever.'

Pinocchio remained with his mouth open, and not choosing to believe the Parrot's words he began with his hands and nails to dig up the earth that he had watered. And he dug, and dug, and dug, and made such a deep hole that a rick of straw might have stood upright in it: but the money was no longer there.

He rushed back to the town in a state of desperation, and went at once to the Courts of Justice to denounce the two knaves who had robbed him to the judge.

The judge was a big ape of the gorilla tribe—an old ape respectable for his age, his white beard, but especially for his gold spectacles without glasses that he was always obliged to wear, on account of an inflammation of the eyes that had tormented him for many years.

Pinocchio related in the presence of the judge all the particulars of the infamous fraud of which he had been the victim. He gave the names, the surnames, and other details, of the two rascals, and ended by demanding justice.

The judge listened with great benignity; took a lively interest in the story; was much touched and moved; and when the puppet had nothing further to say he stretched out his hand and rang a bell.

At this summons two mastiffs immediately appeared dressed as gendarmes. The judge then, pointing to Pinocchio, said to them:

'That poor devil has been robbed of four gold pieces; take him up, and put him immediately into prison.'

The puppet was petrified on hearing this unexpected sentence, and tried to protest; but the gendarmes, to avoid losing time, stopped his mouth, and carried him off to the lock-up.

And there he remained for four months—four long months—and he would have remained longer still if a fortunate chance had not released him. For I must tell you that the young Emperor who reigned over the town of 'Trap for blockheads,' having won a splendid victory over his enemies, ordered great public rejoicings. There were illuminations, fire-works, horse races, and velocipede races, and as a further sign of triumph he commanded that the prisons should be opened and all the prisoners liberated.

'If the others are to be let out of prison, I will go also,' said Pinocchio to the jailor.

'No, not you,' said the jailor, 'because you do not belong to the fortunate class.'

'I beg your pardon,' replied Pinocchio, 'I am also a criminal.'

'In that case you are perfectly right,' said the jailor; and taking off his hat and bowing to him respectfully he opened the prison doors and let him escape.