The Adventures of Pinocchio (1881)
A carpenter finds a talking piece of wood and gives it to his poor neighbor, Geppetto, who wants to build a marionette. Geppetto carves the block into a marionette puppet and names him his son, Pinocchio. However, Pinocchio runs away as soon as he learns to walk. The marionette is caught by a Carabiniere, but he assumes that Pinocchio has been mistreated and imprisons Geppetto. Pinocchio goes back to Geppetto's house where he kills a talking cricket who had warned Pinocchio of the perils of disobedience and hedonism. That evening, Pinocchio falls asleep with his feet on the stove, and wakes to find that they have burned off. Geppetto is released from prison and makes Pinocchio a new pair of feet. In gratitude, Pinocchio promises to attend school, and Geppetto sells his only coat to buy him a school book. On his way to school the next morning, Pinocchio encounters the Great Marionette Theatre, and he sells his school book in order to buy a ticket for the show. The marionettes on stage recognize him in the audience and call out to him, angering the puppet master, Mangiafuoco. The puppet master initially decides to use Pinocchio as firewood, but ultimately releases him and gives him five gold pieces to give to Geppetto.
As Pinocchio travels home to give the coins to his father, he meets a fox and a cat. They convince him that if he plants his coins in the Field of Miracles, outside the city of Catchfools, they will grow into a tree with a thousand or two gold coins. On the way to the field, they stop at an inn, where the Fox and Cat gorge themselves on food at Pinocchio's expense. They take off ahead of Pinocchio and disguise themselves as bandits while Pinocchio continues on toward Catchfools, despite warnings from the ghost of the talking cricket he had killed earlier. The disguised Fox and Cat ambush Pinocchio, but the puppet escapes to a white house. Upon knocking on the door, the Pinocchio is greeted by a young fairy with turquoise hair, who says she is dead and waiting for a hearse. Unfortunately, while Pinocchio is speaking with the fairy, the bandits catch him and hang him in a tree. After a while, the Fox and Cat get tired of waiting for the puppet to suffocate and leave.
The fairy calls in three famous doctors to tell her whether Pinocchio is dead. One of them is the ghost of the talking cricket, who says that the puppet is fine, but has been disobedient and hurt his father. The fairy administers medicine to Pinocchio, who consents to take it after four undertaker rabbits arrive to carry away his body, as he will be dead soon if he doesn't take the medicine. Recovered, Pinocchio lies to the fairy when she asks what has happened to the gold coins, and his nose grows until it is so long that he cannot turn around in the room. The fairy explains that Pinocchio's lies are making his nose grow, and calls in a flock of woodpeckers to chisel it down to normal size. The fairy sends for Geppetto to come and live with them in the forest cottage.
When Pinocchio heads out to meet his father, he once again encounters the fox and cat, who no longer are wearing their disguises. They remind the puppet of the Field of Miracles, and finally he agrees to go with them and plant his gold. After half a day's journey, they reach the city of Catchfools, where everyone in town has done something exceedingly foolish and now suffers as a result. Pinocchio buries his coins, and then leaves for the twenty minutes it will take for his gold to grow into gold coin trees. Once he returns, he finds no trees and no gold coins. He reports the theft to a judge in Catchfools, and is sentenced to prison for four months for the crime of foolishness. Fortunately, all prisoners are released early when the emperor of Catchfools declares a celebration.
Pinocchio then heads back to the fairy's house in the forest. On the way, he encounters an enormous serpent who laughs at Pinocchio so hard that he bursts an artery and dies. While sneaking into a farmer's yard to take some grapes, Pinocchio is caught in a weasel trap. The farmer finds Pinocchio and ties him up in a doghouse to guard his chicken coop, but when Pinocchio foils the chicken-stealing plot of a group of weasels, the farmer frees the puppet as a reward. Pinocchio finally comes to where the cottage was and finds nothing but a gravestone, and believes that the fairy has died of sorrow.
A friendly pigeon sees Pinocchio mourning the fairy's death, and offers to give him a ride to the seashore, where Geppetto is building a boat in which to search for Pinocchio. They fly to the seashore and Pinocchio sees Geppetto out in a boat, but Pinocchio is washed ashore when he tries to swim to his father, and Geppetto is swallowed by the The Terrible Shark. Pinocchio then accepts a ride from a dolphin to the nearest island, the Island of Busy Bees, where the marionette can only get food in return for labor. Pinocchio finally offers to carry a lady's jug home in return for food and water.
When they get to the lady's house, Pinocchio recognizes the lady as the fairy, now miraculously old enough to be his mother. She says she will act as Pinocchio's mother and Pinocchio will begin going to school. She hints that if Pinocchio does well in school and tries his hardest to be good for one whole year he will become a real boy. Pinocchio studies hard and rises to the top of his class, but this makes the other schoolboys jealous. The other boys trick Pinocchio into playing hookey by saying they saw a large whale at the beach, the same one that swallowed Geppetto. However, the boys were lying, and a fight breaks out. One boy, Eugene, is hit by Pinocchio's school book, though Pinocchio did not throw it. Pinocchio is accused of injuring Eugene by two policemen, but the puppet escapes. During his escape, Pinocchio saves a drowning police dog who was chasing him, and in exchange the police dog later saves Pinocchio from an ogre who was going to eat the marionette. Pinocchio returns home to the fairy, who says she will give him another chance.
Pinocchio does excellently in school and passes with high honors. The Fairy promises that Pinocchio will be a real boy next day and says he should invite all his friends to a party. He goes to invite everyone, but he is sidetracked when he meets a boy nicknamed Candlewick who is about to go to a place called Toyland, where everyone plays all day and never works. Pinocchio goes along with him and they have a wonderful time until one morning Pinocchio and Candlewick awake with donkey ears. A squirrel tells Pinocchio that boys who do nothing but play and never work always grow into donkeys. As a donkey, Pinocchio is sold to a circus and trained to do tricks, until he falls and sprains his leg. He is then sold to a man who wants to skin him a make a drum. The man throws the donkey into the sea to drown him, but when he goes to retrieve the corpse, all he finds is a living marionette. Pinocchio explains that the fish ate all the donkey skin off him and he is now a puppet again.
Pinocchio dives back into the water and swims out to sea —when he is swallowed by The Terrible Shark. Inside the Shark, Pinocchio sees a light from far off and he follows it. At the other end is Geppetto, who has been living on a ship inside the Shark. Pinocchio and Geppetto manage to escape the shark, and try to find a place to stay. They pass two beggars, who are the fox and the cat, now disabled and poor. The beggars plead for food or money, but Pinocchio will give them nothing, telling them it serves them right for their wickedness. They arrive at a small house, and living there is the talking cricket, who says they can stay. Pinocchio gets a job doing work for a farmer, and recognizes the farmer's dying donkey as his friend, Candlewick.
After long months of working for the farmer and supporting the ailing Geppetto, Pinocchio goes to town with the forty pennies he has saved to buy himself a new suit. He discovers that the fairy is ill and needs money. Pinocchio instantly gives the snail all the money he has, promising that he will help his mother as much as he is helping his father. That night, he dreams he is visited by the Fairy, who kisses him. When he wakes up, he is a real boy at last. His former puppet body lies lifeless on a chair. Furthermore, Pinocchio finds that the Fairy has left him a new suit and boots, and a bag which he thinks is the forty pennies he originally loaned to her. The boy is shocked to find instead forty freshly-minted gold coins. He is also reunited with Geppetto, now healthy and resuming woodcarving.
Public Domain Comic Book Appearances
- Thrilling Comics #2
- Frisky Fables #v2 #5
- Tick Tock Tales #14, 28
- New Adventures of Pinocchio #1-3
- Tom-Tom #3
- World's Greatest Stories #2