The poor Marionette, who was still half asleep, had not yet found out that his two feet were burned and gone. As soon as he heard his Father’s voice, he jumped up from his seat to open the door, but, as he did so, he staggered and fell headlong to the floor.
In falling, he made as much noise as a sack of wood falling from the fifth story of a house.
“Open the door for me!” Geppetto shouted from the street.
“Father, dear Father, I can’t,” answered the Marionette in despair, crying and rolling on the floor.
“Why can’t you?”
“Because someone has eaten my feet.”
“And who has eaten them?”
“The cat,” answered Pinocchio, seeing that little animal busily playing with some shavings in the corner of the room.
“Open! I say,” repeated Geppetto, “or I’ll give you a sound whipping when I get in.”
“Father, believe me, I can’t stand up. Oh, dear! Oh, dear! I shall have to walk on my knees all my life.”
Geppetto, thinking that all these tears and cries were only other pranks of the Marionette, climbed up the side of the house and went in through the window.
At first he was very angry, but on seeing Pinocchio stretched out on the floor and really without feet, he felt very sad and sorrowful. Picking him up from the floor, he fondled and caressed him, talking to him while the tears ran down his cheeks:
“My little Pinocchio, my dear little Pinocchio! How did you burn your feet?”
“I don’t know, Father, but believe me, the night has been a terrible one and I shall remember it as long as I live. The thunder was so noisy and the lightning so bright–and I was hungry. And then the Talking Cricket said to me, ‘You deserve it; you were bad;’ and I said to him, ‘Careful, Cricket;’ and he said to me, ‘You are a Marionette and you have a wooden head;’ and I threw the hammer at him and killed him. It was his own fault, for I didn’t want to kill him. And I put the pan on the coals, but the Chick flew away and said, ‘I’ll see you again! Remember me to the family.’ And my hunger grew, and I went out, and the old man with a nightcap looked out of the window and threw water on me, and I came home and put my feet on the stove to dry them because I was still hungry, and I fell asleep and now my feet are gone but my hunger isn’t! Oh!–Oh!–Oh!” And poor Pinocchio began to scream and cry so loudly that he could be heard for miles around.
Geppetto, who had understood nothing of all that jumbled talk, except that the Marionette was hungry, felt sorry for him, and pulling three pears out of his pocket, offered them to him, saying:
“These three pears were for my breakfast, but I give them to you gladly. Eat them and stop weeping.”
“If you want me to eat them, please peel them for me.”
“Peel them?” asked Geppetto, very much surprised. “I should never have thought, dear boy of mine, that you were so dainty and fussy about your food. Bad, very bad! In this world, even as children, we must accustom ourselves to eat of everything, for we never know what life may hold in store for us!”
“You may be right,” answered Pinocchio, “but I will not eat the pears if they are not peeled. I don’t like them.”
And good old Geppetto took out a knife, peeled the three pears, and put the skins in a row on the table.
Pinocchio ate one pear in a twinkling and started to throw the core away, but Geppetto held his arm.
“Oh, no, don’t throw it away! Everything in this world may be of some use!”
“But the core I will not eat!” cried Pinocchio in an angry tone.
“Who knows?” repeated Geppetto calmly.
And later the three cores were placed on the table next to the skins.
Pinocchio had eaten the three pears, or rather devoured them. Then he yawned deeply, and wailed:
“I’m still hungry.”
“But I have no more to give you.”
“I have only these three cores and these skins.”
“Very well, then,” said Pinocchio, “if there is nothing else I’ll eat them.”
At first he made a wry face, but, one after another, the skins and the cores disappeared.
“Ah! Now I feel fine!” he said after eating the last one.
“You see,” observed Geppetto, “that I was right when I told you that one must not be too fussy and too dainty about food. My dear, we never know what life may have in store for us!”
Geppetto makes Pinocchio a new pair of feet, and sells his coat to buy him an A-B-C book.
The Marionette, as soon as his hunger was appeased, started to grumble and cry that he wanted a new pair of feet.
But Mastro Geppetto, in order to punish him for his mischief, let him alone the whole morning. After dinner he said to him:
“Why should I make your feet over again? To see you run away from home once more?”
“I promise you,” answered the Marionette, sobbing, “that from now on I’ll be good–”
“Boys always promise that when they want something,” said Geppetto.
“I promise to go to school every day, to study, and to succeed–”
“Boys always sing that song when they want their own will.”
“But I am not like other boys! I am better than all of them and I always tell the truth. I promise you, Father, that I’ll learn a trade, and I’ll be the comfort and staff of your old age.”
Geppetto, though trying to look very stern, felt his eyes fill with tears and his heart soften when he saw Pinocchio so unhappy. He said no more, but taking his tools and two pieces of wood, he set to work diligently.
In less than an hour the feet were finished, two slender, nimble little feet, strong and quick, modeled as if by an artist’s hands.
“Close your eyes and sleep!” Geppetto then said to the Marionette.
Pinocchio closed his eyes and pretended to be asleep, while Geppetto stuck on the two feet with a bit of glue melted in an eggshell, doing his work so well that the joint could hardly be seen.
As soon as the Marionette felt his new feet, he gave one leap from the table and started to skip and jump around, as if he had lost his head from very joy.
“To show you how grateful I am to you, Father, I’ll go to school now. But to go to school I need a suit of clothes.”
Geppetto did not have a penny in his pocket, so he made his son a little suit of flowered paper, a pair of shoes from the bark of a tree, and a tiny cap from a bit of dough.
Pinocchio ran to look at himself in a bowl of water, and he felt so happy that he said proudly:
“Now I look like a gentleman.”
“Truly,” answered Geppetto. “But remember that fine clothes do not make the man unless they be neat and clean.”
“Very true,” answered Pinocchio, “but, in order to go to school, I still need something very important.”
“What is it?”
“An A-B-C book.”
“To be sure! But how shall we get it?”
“That’s easy. We’ll go to a bookstore and buy it.”
“And the money?”
“I have none.”
“Neither have I,” said the old man sadly.
Pinocchio, although a happy boy always, became sad and downcast at these words. When poverty shows itself, even mischievous boys understand what it means.
“What does it matter, after all?” cried Geppetto all at once, as he jumped up from his chair. Putting on his old coat, full of darns and patches, he ran out of the house without another word.
After a while he returned. In his hands he had the A-B-C book for his son, but the old coat was gone. The poor fellow was in his shirt sleeves and the day was cold.
“Where’s your coat, Father?”
“I have sold it.”
“Why did you sell your coat?”
“It was too warm.”
Pinocchio understood the answer in a twinkling, and, unable to restrain his tears, he jumped on his father’s neck and kissed him over and over.