Pinocchio (pronounced in Italian) is a fictional character that first
appeared in 1883, in The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, and has since
appeared in many adaptations of that story and others. Carved from a piece of
pine by a woodcarver named Geppetto in a small Italian village, he was created
as a wooden puppet, but dreamt of becoming a real boy. The name Pinocchio is a
Tuscan word meaning "pine nut" (the standard Italian term is pinolo pronounced),
a compound of Italian pino meaning "pine" and occhio meaning "eye".
A simple pine log is given to a man named Mastro Cherry, who plans to carve him into a leg for his table. When he begins, however, a little voice cries, "No, you hurt me!" Disturbed by the talking log, Mastro Cherry continues to carve the piece of wood, when again the little voice wails its pain. Becoming frustrated and confused, Mastro Cherry eventually gives up trying to carve the wood, and ends up giving it to his friend, the carpenter Geppetto, who carves wooden dolls.
As soon as Pinocchio's nose has been carved, it begins to grow with his congenital impudence. Once the puppet has been finished and Geppetto teaches him to walk, Pinocchio runs out the door and away into the town. He is caught by a carabineer, but when people reveal that Geppetto dislikes children, the carabineer assumes that Pinocchio has been abused and imprisons Geppetto.
Once Pinocchio arrives home, The Talking Cricket, who has lived in the house for over a century, tells him that boys who do not obey their parents grow up to be donkeys. In retaliation, Pinocchio throws a hammer at the cricket, more accurately than he intended to, and believes he killed it.
Unable to find food in the house, Pinocchio cries himself to sleep with his feet upon the stove. The next morning he wakes to find that his feet have burnt off. His father, who has been released from jail and has with him three pears for a meal, makes his son a new pair of feet. Since Pinocchio says he is starving, Geppetto gives him the pears and teaches Pinocchio to waste nothing. In gratitude, Pinocchio promises to go to school. Since Geppetto has no money to buy school books, he sells his only coat in 1850.
Pinocchio heads off to school, but on the way he hears music and crowds. Curious, he follows the sounds until he finds himself in a crowd of people, all congregated to see the Great Marionette Theater. Unable to withstand the urge, he sells his school book for tickets to the popular show. During the performance, the puppets Harlequin, Punch, and Signora Rosaura (who are on stage) see Pinocchio and stop acting, crying out, "It is our brother Pinocchio!" While the puppets rejoice, however, the audience grows angry, and the theater director, Mangiafuoco, comes out to see what is going on. Upset, he breaks up the excitement and decides to use Pinocchio as firewood to cook his lamb dinner. After Pinocchio pleads to be saved, Mangiafuoco gives in and decides to burn Harlequin. After Pinocchio pleads for Harlequin's salvation, Mangiafuoco gives up. When he learns about Pinocchio's poor father, he gives the marionette five gold pieces for Geppetto.
As Pinocchio heads home to give the coins to his father, he meets a fox (who pretends to be lame) and a cat (who pretends to be blind) on the side of the road. They tell him that if he plants his coins in the Field of Miracles, outside the city of Catchfools, then they will grow into a tree with a thousand gold coins. Believing them, Pinocchio heads off on a journey to Catchfools with the Cat and Fox. On the way they stop at the Inn of the Red Lobster, where the Fox and Cat gorge themselves on food at Pinocchio's expense. During the night, the innkeeper wakes Pinocchio, saying that the Fox and Cat have left on an emergency, but will meet up with Pinocchio in Catchfools.
As Pinocchio sets off for Catchfools, the ghost of the Talking Cricket appears, telling him to go home and give the coins to his father. Pinocchio ignores him again, however, and sets off for Catchfools. As he passes through a forest, the Fox and Cat, disguised as bandits, jump out and try to rob Pinocchio. The marionette hides the coins in his mouth and runs up a tree, but the bandits kindle a fire underneath it. Pinocchio jumps down and they try to pry his mouth open, but he bites the Cat's hand off and escapes deeper into the forest. As Pinocchio runs through the forest, he sees a white house ahead. Stopping to knock on the door, he is greeted by The Fairy with Turquoise Hair. However, as he speaks to her, the bandits catch him and hang him in a tree. After a while the Fox and Cat get tired of waiting for the marionette to suffocate and leave.
The Fairy with Turquoise Hair sends a falcon and a poodle to rescue Pinocchio, and she calls in three famous doctors to tell her if Pinocchio is dead or not. The first two (an owl and a crow) are uncertain, but the third—the Talking Cricket — knows that Pinocchio is fine and tells the marionette that he has been disobedient and hurt his father.
The Turquoise Fairy asks Pinocchio where the gold coins are. Pinocchio lies, saying he has lost them. As he tells this lie (and more) his nose begins to grow until it is so long he cannot turn around in the room. The Fairy explains to Pinocchio that it is his lies that are making his nose grow long, then calls in a flock of woodpeckers to chisel down his nose.
"There are two kind of lies, lies with short legs and lies with long noses. Yours...happen to have long noses."
Pinocchio and the Turquoise Fairy decide to become brother and sister, and
the Fairy sends for Geppetto to come and live with them in the forest. Pinocchio
heads out to meet his father, but on the way he meets the fox and the cat again
(whom he had not recognized as the bandits, even though he has a hint from the
cat's bandaged front paw--which he had bitten earlier; the fox tells him the cat
had shown mistaken kindness to a wolf). They remind Pinocchio 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. Everyone in the town has done
something exceedingly foolish and now suffers as a result.
When they reach the "Field of Miracles", Pinocchio buries his gold then runs off to wait the twenty minutes it will take for his gold to grow. After twenty minutes he returns, only to find no tree and—even worse—no gold coins. Realizing what has happened, he goes to Catchfools and tells the judge about the fox and cat. The judge (as is the custom in Catchfools) sends Pinocchio to prison for his foolishness. While in prison, however, the emperor of Catchfools declares a celebration, and all prisoners are set free.
As Pinocchio heads back to the forest, he finds an enormous serpent with a smoking tail blocking the way. After some confusion, he asks the serpent to move, but the serpent remains completely still. Concluding that it is dead, Pinocchio begins to step over it, but the serpent suddenly rises up and hisses at the marionette, toppling him over onto his head. Struck by Pinocchio's fright and comical position, the snake laughs so hard he bursts an artery and dies.
While sneaking into a farmer's yard to take some grapes, Pinocchio is caught in a weasel trap. When the farmer comes out and finds Pinocchio, he ties him up in a doghouse to guard his chicken coop.
That night, a group of weasels come and tell Pinocchio that they had made a deal with former watchdog Melampo to let them raid the chicken coop if he could have a chicken. Pinocchio says he wants two chickens, so the weasels agree and go into the henhouse. Pinocchio then locks the door and barks loudly. The farmer gets the weasels and frees Pinocchio as a reward.
Pinocchio comes to where the cottage was and finds nothing but a gravestone. Believing the Turquoise Fairy died from sorrow, he weeps until a friendly pigeon offers to give him a ride to the seashore, where Geppetto is building a boat to go out and search for Pinocchio. They fly to the seashore and Pinocchio sees Geppetto out in a boat. The puppet leaps into the water and tries to swim to Geppetto, but the waves are too rough and Pinocchio is washed underwater as Geppetto is swallowed by a terrible shark.
A kind dolphin gives Pinocchio a ride to the nearest island, which is the Island of Busy Bees. Everyone is working and no one will give Pinocchio any food as long as he will not help them. He finally offers to carry a lady's jug home in return for food and water.
When they get to the house, Pinocchio recognizes the lady as the Turquoise 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 he will become a real boy.
Pinocchio starts school next day and after showing his determination becomes a friend to all the schoolboys. A while later a group of boys trick Pinocchio into playing hookey by saying they saw a large whale at the beach. Hoping that it is the whale that swallowed Geppetto, he accompanies them to the beach only to find he has been fooled. He begins fighting with the boys and one boy grabs a schoolbook of Pinocchio's and throws it at him. The marionette ducks and the book hits another boy named Eugene, who is knocked out. The other boys flee while Pinocchio tries to revive Eugene.
Then two policemen come up and accuse Pinocchio of injuring Eugene. Before he can explain, the policemen grab him to take him to jail — but he escapes and is chased into the sea by the police dog. The dog starts to drown and Pinocchio saves him. The dog is grateful and promises to be Pinocchio's friend. Pinocchio happily starts swimming to shore.
Then The Green Fisherman catches Pinocchio in his net and starts to eat the fish, saying Pinocchio must be a very special fish. Taking off the marionette's clothes and covering him with flour, the ogre prepares to eat Pinocchio. The police dog then comes in and rescues Pinocchio from the ogre. On the way home, Pinocchio stops at a man's house and asks about Eugene. The man says Eugene is fine, but that Pinocchio must be a truant. Pinocchio says that he is always truthful and obedient. Again his nose grows longer and Pinocchio immediately tells the truth about himself, causing the nose to shrink back to normal.
Pinocchio arrives home in the middle of the night. He knocks on the door and a snail opens the third-story window. Pinocchio pleads to be let in and the snail says he will come down. Since a snail is slow, it takes all night for the snail to come down and let Pinocchio in. By the time the snail comes down Pinocchio has banged his foot against the door and gotten stuck. The snail brings Pinocchio artificial food and the marionette faints. When he wakes, he is on the couch and the Fairy says she will give him another chance.
Pinocchio excels at 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 named Romeo—nicknamed Candlewick because he is so tall and skinny. Candlewick is about to go to a place called the Land of Play, where everyone plays all day and never works. Pinocchio goes along with him and they have a wonderful time in the land of Play—until one morning Pinocchio awakes with donkey ears. A mouse tells him that boys who do nothing but play and never work always grow into donkeys.
Within a short while Pinocchio has become a donkey. He is sold to a circus and is trained to do all kinds of tricks. Then one night in the circus he falls and sprains his leg. The circus owner sells the donkey to a man who wants to skin him and make a drum. The man throws the donkey into the sea to drown him — and brings up a living wooden boy. Pinocchio explains that the fish ate all the donkey skin off of him and he is now a marionette again.
Pinocchio dives back into the water and swims out to sea — when he is swallowed by a giant shark, Monstro. Inside Monstro, Pinocchio meets a tuna who is resigned to his fate and just says they will have to wait to be digested. Pinocchio sees a light from far off and he follows the light. At the other end is Geppetto, who had been living on a ship that was also in the dogfish. Pinocchio and Geppetto and the tuna manage to find a way out of the dogfish and Pinocchio heroically attempts to swim with Geppetto to shore, which turns out to be too far; however, the tuna rescues them and brings them to shore.
Pinocchio and Geppetto try to find a place to stay. They pass two beggars, who are the Fox and the Cat. The Cat is, ironically, really blind now, and the fox is actually lame, tailless (having sold his tail for money) and mangy. They plead for food or money, but Pinocchio will give them nothing except morals on bad deeds leading to bad consequences. They arrive at a small house, and living there is the Talking Cricket, who says they can stay. Pinocchio finds a job doing work for a farmer, whose donkey is dying. Pinocchio recognizes the donkey as Candlewick. Pinocchio mourns over Candlewick's dead body and the farmer is perplexed as to why. Pinocchio says that Candlewick was his friend and they went to school together, causing Farmer John to be even more confused.
After long months of working for the farmer and supporting the ailing Geppetto he goes to town with what money he has saved (fifty copper pennies to be exact) to buy himself a new suit. He meets the snail, who tells him that the Turquoise 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. Furthermore, Pinocchio finds that the Fairy left him a new suit and boots, and a bag which Pinocchio thinks is the fifty pennies he originally loaned to the Turquoise Fairy. The boy is shocked to find instead fifty freshly minted gold coins. He is also reunited with Geppetto, now healthy and resuming woodcarving. They live happily ever after.
This Pinocchio Biography Page is Copyright © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub