Once there was an old man called Gepetto. He was poor and he lived alone in a small town near the sea.
Gepetto was a carpenter. He made things out of wood. And one day Gepetto made himself a boy out of wood. He made a wooden puppet.
‘I will call you Pinocchio!’ said Gepetto.
‘Put me down, Dad!’ said the puppet.
‘Oh!’ said Gepetto. ‘You can talk?’
‘Of course I can!’ said Pinocchio. ‘Put me on the floor, Dad. I feel full of life and I want to dance.’
‘Are you a good boy?’ asked Gepetto.
‘Of course I am!’ said Pinocchio. ‘I am the best boy in the world!’ Then he ran out of the door.
‘Pinocchio, my son!’ cried old Gepetto. ‘Come back!’
The little puppet was having a good time so he didn’t listen. He just ran. But Gepetto loved his son and so he ran after him
‘Come back, Puppet Boy!’ shouted Gepetto. He tried to grab the wooden puppet but Pinocchio ran faster and faster. Gepetto was old and could not catch him, and suddenly he could not see him either.
‘Puppet Boy, where are you?’ Gepetto cried.
Pinocchio ran back to Gepetto’s room. But no one was there, because Gepetto was still out searching for his puppet.
Pinocchio was all alone and he was hungry, but there was no food. Then he heard a voice.
‘Pinocchio! Look up!’ There was a green cricket on the wall, and it had very bright eyes.
‘Boys should be good to their parents,’ it said. ‘Good boys go to school and help people. But you’re not a good boy, are you? You’re just a bad little wooden puppet!’
Then Pinocchio did another bad thing. He shouted at the cricket and chased it away. So now he was alone again.
Pinocchio ran out into the cold, dark street. Then he knocked on someone’s door.
‘Oy! Be quiet!’ shouted a man. ‘What do you want?’
‘Please, Mr Man, I want some bread!’ said Pinocchio.
‘Oh, do you?’ said the man. ‘Wait there.’ He went inside, and then he came back to the window and poured a bucket of water all over Pinocchio.
‘Here! Have a drink!’ he said. ‘Now shut up and go away or I’ll throw the bucket at you too!’
Then Pinocchio began to cry. He was wet and cold and hungry. And he was all alone.
Pinocchio ran back to Gepetto’s room and fell asleep by the fire. Then his wooden feet got burnt.
When Gepetto came home, Pinocchio cried, ‘Oh, Dad! Daddy! I’m sorry that I was a bad boy! Make me some new feet, Dad! And give me something to eat!’
Gepetto wanted to be angry. But then he saw Pinocchio’s poor burnt feet.
‘Oh, my poor boy!’ he said. ‘What a funny little wooden puppet you are!’ And he gave him all the food he had — three hard green pears. Pinocchio was so hungry he ate them all.
Gepetto made Pinocchio some new feet and the little puppet gave him a big hug.
‘Listen,’ said Gepetto. ‘I want you to go to school. I want you to work hard and be a good boy.’
‘But, Dad. I need a writing book!’ said Pinocchio. ‘I can’t go to school without a writing book.’
‘Wait there,’ said Gepetto. ‘I’ll get one.’
When Gepetto returned, Pinocchio said, ‘Where’s your coat, Dad?’
Gepetto didn’t answer. He just said, ‘Look! Here’s your writing book!’
‘Oh, Dad!’ said Pinocchio. ‘You sold your coat to buy my book, didn’t you? Oh, Dad! I’ll be a good boy, Dad. I’ll go to school tomorrow.’
But on his way to school, Pinocchio saw something.
‘Two pence,’ said a man. ‘It only costs two pence to see the famous puppets dance.’
‘I’m going to school,’ said Pinocchio. ‘And I don’t have any money.’
‘Hey!’ said the man. ‘Go to school tomorrow. Listen. I’ll give you two pence for that writing book. Come on. Come and see the famous dancing puppets!’
It did sound interesting so Pinocchio said, ‘OK. I will.’
But the puppets stopped dancing when they saw Pinocchio.
‘Hey! Puppet boy!’ they shouted. ‘Come and dance with us!’
Then everyone in the audience turned and looked at him.
Then the nasty Puppet Master arrived.
‘Why aren’t you puppets dancing?’ he shouted. ‘And who’s this?’ he asked, looking at Pinocchio.
The puppets were so afraid that they could not move.
‘OK!’ shouted the Puppet Master. ‘Time for bed! But first I need some wood for the fire. I want to cook my dinner!’
He grabbed an old puppet. ‘Ah! Here’s some wood!’ he laughed. ‘This will do!’
Then Pinocchio did something brave.
‘Let him go!’ he cried. ‘Put that old puppet down!’
Pinocchio was brave.
‘Take me!’ he shouted bravely. ‘Put me on your fire and let this old puppet go!’
‘What?’ said the Puppet Master. ‘What did you say?’
‘You heard me!’ said Pinocchio.
The Puppet Master looked at Pinocchio. He could not understand why Pinocchio was not afraid. He looked at Pinocchio’s eyes. Pinocchio’s eyes were not afraid.
Suddenly the old Puppet Master felt tired. He dropped the old wooden puppet onto the floor.
‘OK,’ he said. ‘No more dancing today. You can all go to bed.’
In the morning, the Puppet Master spoke to Pinocchio.
‘Where do you come from?’ he asked.
‘My father’s a poor old carpenter,’ said Pinocchio. ‘He sold his coat to buy me a writing book. But I sold that book to see your puppet show. I’ve been bad, but I want to be good.’