Fairy Tale Friday #5: The Adventures of Pinocchio (Le avventure di Pinocchio) by Carlo Collodi

Fairy Tale Friday #5: The Adventures of Pinocchio (Le avventure di Pinocchio) by Carlo Collodi

The Adventures of Pinocchio (Le Avventure Di Pinocchio)

By Carlo Collodi

The Adventures of Pinocchio, originally titled Le Avventure Di Pinocchio was written by Carlo Lorenzini, better known by his pen name of Carlo Collodi. Carlo was an Italian author, who liked writing about characters who were rascals in allegorical ways. 

Pinocchio, being one of the most rascally of rascals, was published in 1880 in an Italian children’s journal as a series. It was later adapted by Disney into a movie in 1940. 

See my The Adventures of Pinocchio inspired Pinterest board here!

This tale has been paraphrased in my own words.

Once upon a time there was an ordinary piece of wood which found its way into the carpentry shop of Master Antonio (also called Master Cherry). The tip of his nose was so shiny that it looked like a cherry. When he saw the piece of wood, he was excited, thinking he’d make a table leg out of it. 

When he went to cut it, a voice came out of the wood, begging him not to hit it too hard. Thinking that he didn’t really hear the voice, he hit the wood with his axe. The wood cried out, and Master Antonio was terrified. He grabbed the log and beat it around the room to see if he could replicate the lamenting voice. Hearing nothing, he continued his work. He began to polish the wood, then heard the voice asking him to stop because it was tickling him. He fell backwards out of fright.

At the same moment, someone knocked at the door. Yelling for whomever it was to enter, Geppetto walked in. The ill-tempered man hated the nickname “Polendina” given to him because of his yellow wig. Geppetto informed Master Antonio that he planned to make a puppet out of wood and travel the world with it in order to make money. The mysterious voice which scared Master Antonio so said “Bravo, Polendia!” – which made Geppetto very angry and he accused the carpenter of insulting him. Getting into a fight, they resolved it and promised to be friends for life. Master Antonio gives Geppetto the troublesome piece of wood to take home for his puppet.

Upon arriving home, Geppetto carves the puppet out of the log and names it Pinocchio. When he set to making the facial features, he saw that they moved! Each feature of the puppet taunted Geppetto. As soon as he fashioned the legs and feet, Pinocchio took off and ran outside and down the street. Luckily, a policeman was able to catch him by grabbing his extremely long nose and gave him back to Geppetto. But onlookers remarked at how Geppetto would beat the poor puppet,and he was in turn, thrown in jail.

Set free, Pinocchio ran back home where he met the Talking Cricket. Pinocchio tried to get the cricket to leave, but he wouldn’t–until he had told him a great truth. The cricket scolded Pinocchio for running away from home and for not obeying his parents. Pinocchio retorted that in the morning he’d leave the place forever because he didn’t want to be sent to school. The cricket warned him that he’d turn into a donkey and be laughed at by everyone. Not liking to be reprimanded, Pinocchio took a hammer and threw it at the cricket, killing him.

Growing hungry, Pinocchio finds an egg. Cracking it open to fry it, he finds a chick staring up at him instead. Thanking him for breaking his egg, the chick flies out the window. His hunger becomes overwhelming and Pinocchio decides to go into town to see if charitable person would give him food.

The night was pitch black and Pinocchio was afraid for it was thundering and lightening. But his hunger drove him on. He came to a house and rung the bell loudly. An old man poked his head out of the window and asked what he wanted. Asking for food, the man retreated into the house and told Pinocchio to hold out his hat. The man dumped a bucket of cold water on him. Pinocchio went back home and put his feet on the stove to dry. He fell asleep and his feet burned off. 

In the morning, Geppetto returned and told Pinocchio to open the door. He tried to stand but fell to the floor. Angry and thinking he was lying, Geppetto climbed in through the window. Seeing Pinocchio’s state, he wept and held him. Pinocchio recounted the previous night’s events, and how his hunger had not abated. Geppetto gives Pinocchio three pears to eat. 

Promising not to run away again, Pinocchio begs Geppetto to make new feet for him. Once attached he jumps up and promises Geppetto that he will go to school. Geppetto makes him clothes to wear, and went and sold his coat for the A-B-C book Pinocchio needs for class.

The next morning it snowed and Pinocchio headed to school and Geppetto stayed home in his shirt without a coat. On his way to class, Pinocchio hears a ruckus of instruments and heads towards it. Seeing a puppet show, he sells his book to a boy for four pennies in order to enter and see what it is about. Inside the show, fellow puppets known as Harlequin and Pulcinella recognized him and stopped the show out of excitement. The celebration is short-lived, as the puppets become fearful when the Director comes out and inquires about why Pinocchio made such a fuss. 

Threatening to use him as firewood, the Fire Eater (the puppet master) ends up feeling sympathy for Pinocchio and lets him go free. The next day, Fire Eater gives Pinocchio five gold pieces to give to his poor father Geppetto. On his way home, he needs a lame Fox and a blind Cat who learn that he has five gold coins. Lured by the mischievous pair, they take him to the City of Simple Simons.  

On their way there, they stop to stay at the Inn of the Red Prawn to eat and sleep until midnight. When the Innkeeper woke Pinocchio at the designated hour, he revealed that the Fox and Cat had left two hours prior, and hadn’t paid so Pinocchio had to foot the bill. The two said they would meet him at the Field of Miracles at sunrise in the morning. 

Travelling through the dark woods, the ghost of the Talking Cricket advised him to turn home and give the remaining money to his father. Failing to listen, the cricket warns Pinocchio that he will fall into the hands of the Assassins. As foretold two Assassins fell upon him, demanding his money. He hid his coin and fled. At one point, they nearly caught him, and he bit off the hand of one of the Assassins, noticing that it was a paw and not a man’s hand.

He came to a white house in the woods and banged on the door. After no one answering for a while, a window opened and a beautiful girl with deep blue hair and pale skin spoke in a weak voice that everyone in the house was dead. Her eyes were closed and arms crossed over her chest. Imploring her to open the door, she said she could not for she too, was dead. Just then, the Assassins captured Pinocchio, tied his hands behind his back, and hung him from a giant oak tree. After three hours and seeing that he wouldn’t die, the Assassins said they would return in the morning.

A great wind blew up and nearly choked him to death. Luckily, the lovely maiden with blue hair (who was actually an ancient fairy) saw him from her window. She summoned a large Falcon to take him down from the tree, and her poodle drive to fetch him in the carriage. She then had three of the best physicians come to tell her if he were dead or alive–one was an owl, the other a crow, and the last was the Talking Cricket well acquainted with the puppet. 

Pinocchio, still being alive, came down with a bad fever. He refused to take medicine the fairy tried to give him. When he did, black rabbits with a coffin came into the room to bear him from his death bed. Not wanting to die, Pinocchio took the medicine and immediately recovered. The fairy asked him to reaccount his tale with the Assassins. Each time he lied, his nose grew, to the point of where he couldn’t exit the room. Distraught with being trapped, the fairy gave in and called for woodpeckers to come in and shorten his nose. He thanked the fairy and told her that he loved her. She desired to adopt him as a brother, and had sent for Geppetto to be brought to their current location. Pinocchio asked to leave to go and meet him on his journey.

On his way, he met up with the Fox and the Cat near the tree where he was hung. They asked if he still wanted to turn his four pieces of gold into a thousand, which he agreed to. They led him to the City of Catchfools and told him to bury his coins. In his absence, they dug up the gold and ran. A parrot in a nearby tree tells Pinocchio what happened. Furious, he went to the town hall and explained how he had been robbed. He was then sentenced to four months in prison for his foolery for being robbed. 

After his time was paid, he immediately returned to the home of the fairy. On the way, he encountered a massive snake which died laughing at him, and he became a watchdog for a farmer. Able to catch the thieves stealing his chickens, he was sent free. When he reached where the fairy had lived, a tombstone lay in place of the small house saying that the fairy had died out of grief from her brother Pinocchio abandoning her. He mourned for her and his father, unsure of his father’s whereabouts. 

Just then, a large pigeon flying overhead asked if he knew Pinocchio. Revealing that he himself was Pinocchio, the pigeon told him that his father was out at sea. He had searched in vain for Pinocchio all across Europe while he was imprisoned. Not finding him, he decided to sail to the New World to search there. Allowing him on his back, the pigeon took him to the seashore. 

A bad storm had kicked up. Seeing Geppetto out in his boat being tossed about by the waves, Pinocchio becomes worried. The boat capsizes, and Pinocchio jumps in to save him. Unable to reach him due to the storm, Pinocchio ends up on the shore of an island. Hungry, he begs for money to buy food from the inhabitants, but no one is willing to help him without him working to earn the money. 

He happens across a woman who allows him a drink of water from her water jugs. He then asks her for some food and she said that if he carry a jug, she will feed him. He suddenly realizes that the woman is no other than the blue-haired fairy. Relieved that she was still alive, he apologized for running off. She said that she would be his mother as long as he was good and went to school. 

In school, Pinocchio actually excelled. Committed to his studies, his fellow classmates led him astray by persuading him to skip school one day to see the massive shark that had come to near the shore. It was the same shark that was sighted near the place where Geppetto was last seen. Reaching the shore, he realized his “friends” tricked him into skipping class. Upset, they got in a fight. One of the boys was hurt, and the others fled when police came on the scene. Believing Pinocchio guilty, they set their dog to chase him. Pinocchio ran into the sea and the dog followed. Not able to swim, Pinocchio helped the dog to shore, then swam to a cave to warm up. 

There, he is caught in a net by a terrible green man. Thinking he’s a fish, the man nearly fries him along with the other fish when the police’s dog showed up and saved Pinocchio. Heading back to the good fairy’s home, she says that she will forgive him this time for his folly, but it is the last time. He agreed and was a good student for the next year, earning high scores at the end of the season. The fairy told him that the next day he would get his wish of becoming a real boy. 

In celebration, the fairy was to hold him a big party where he could invite his friends to celebrate. Pinocchio went out that evening to invite his friends. He went to his dearest friend Lamp-Wick’s home, only to find him waiting for a carriage to the Land of Toys. Pinocchio, unable to stick with making good choices, also decided to go. The two stayed there for five months, without any schooling and only play.

One day, they both sprouted donkey ears and soon turned into donkeys. Both were sold and Lamp-Wick was never seen again. Pinocchio was sold to an equestrian trainer, but after being injured in a show, was sold again to a man who wanted to make a drum out of his skin. He through Pinocchio into the sea in order to drown him. When he pulled him back up, Pinocchio had turned back into a puppet. 

Pinocchio threw himself back into the sea to escape the man, but is swallowed by the massive shark. In its belly, he comes across none other than his father! He had survived in the belly of the shark for two years. Th shark, having suffered from asthma, had to sleep with his mouth open. Pinocchio and Geppetto were able to escape through its mouth at night and swim to shore with the help of a tuna fish.

Traveling to the road, Pinocchio happened upon the Fox and the Cat who had robbed him before. They are old, broken down, and begging for food and money. He didn’t take pity on them and kept on to find a place were his father could rest. They happened upon a small cottage which was owned by the Talking Cricket. Through hard work, Pinocchio was able to earn money and help care for his ailing father. In reward for his good works and changing his perspective, the fairy with blue hair appears and changes him into a real boy.

Le avventure di Pinocchio (Storia di un burattino) – The Adventures of Pinocchio (The Tale of a Puppet): Bilingual parallel text - Bilingue con testo a ... Inglese (Dual Language Easy Reader Book 34)Le avventure di Pinocchio (Storia di un burattino) – The Adventures of Pinocchio (The Tale of a Puppet): Bilingual parallel text – Bilingue con testo a … Inglese by Carlo Collodi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“That Puppet is a disobedient son who is breaking his father’s heart!”

This was nothing like the Pinocchio I was familiar with. Granted, I only watched the Disney (yeah, I know Disney’s adaptations don’t really stick close to the original fairy tale) movie probably one time in my life, so I didn’t remember much of Pinocchio’s story, to begin with. But, I wasn’t expecting such a story as this.

Pinocchio is probably one of the most unlikeable main characters I’ve come across in a book thus far, and was one of the key points I hadn’t remembered. This infuriating little puppet was incredibly disobedient and selfish. While I understand why he was drafted to be so, I couldn’t help but bid against him and his endeavors. Chance after chance, he just…does whatever he wants, and it was downright irritating! Not to mention, there are a few elements to the plot which are utterly terrifying for children to read! At one point, Pinocchio is hung, he bites off the paw of a cat, and so on and so forth.

Pinocchio definitely goes through a lot of trials, but a majority of them are of his own making. Through many (MANY) wrong choices, he eventually realizes that if he makes selfless decisions, life is much easier and truly enjoyable.

“When bad boys become good and kind, they have the power of making their homes bright and new with happiness.”

Overall, I think the summation of this book is good, it was simply an unpleasant journey to get to the end.

My Rating: ★★½

View all my reviews

What are your thoughts on this tale?
Did you know about the darker elements in the original tale before?
What was your take on Pinocchio's character overall?

I am the author behind Foals, Fiction & Filigree. An all-encompassing blog about horses, books, and my art.

2 thoughts on “Fairy Tale Friday #5: The Adventures of Pinocchio (Le avventure di Pinocchio) by Carlo Collodi

    1. That’s a good point! Disney did have a great way of keeping out the creepier aspects of it. I have an Italian version children’s book and it has everything but the hanging scene (thank goodness) in it. I’m always taken aback when these fairy tales turn out to be way darker than I originally thought!

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