‘Dad!’ shouted Pinocchio. ‘I will help you!’
And bravely he jumped from the bird’s back into the wild sea. The waves were big and Pinocchio went up and down… and up and down all day. But he couldn’t see or find his father.
And in the evening the water carried Pinocchio to an island.
Pinocchio lay on the sand for some hours. He was tired, lonely, and hungry — but he was alive.
And after a while he got up. He saw people working. Two men were making baskets.
‘Hello, Mr Men!’ said Pinocchio. ‘Can you give me some bread?’
‘You have to work for your food here,’ they said.
Another man was mending a net. ‘Do you know how to mend a net?’ he said.
‘Er…’ said Pinocchio. ‘Er…’
Then an old woman said, ‘Help me carry this bucket and I’ll cook something for you.’
Pinocchio didn’t want to carry the bucket of water. But he was very hungry.
The bucket of water was very heavy. But Pinocchio carried it all the way to the old woman’s house.
‘Thank you for your hard work,’ she said. And she cooked something nice for him.
Then Pinocchio saw her blue hair. ‘It’s you!’ he cried. ‘The Kind Friend!’
‘Yes,’ she said.
‘But you’ve changed!’
‘Yes. I have grown older.’
‘Will I grow older?’ asked Pinocchio.
‘No,’ she said. ‘Puppets can’t grow. They are made of wood. Only real boys can grow.’
Then Pinocchio started to cry. ‘I want to be a real boy! I don’t want to be a wooden puppet!’
‘Well, if you go to school and work very hard,’ said the Kind Friend, ‘then one day you will become a real boy.’
So the very next day Pinocchio went to school.
‘Oh!’ shouted the school bullies. ‘A puppet!’
‘Give us your jacket, Puppet!’ said a boy. ‘You can’t learn anything, Wooden Head!’
But Pinocchio didn’t listen to them. He worked hard. He was good. He listened to the teacher. He didn’t talk in class. And he made friends with a boy called Candlewick. The Kind Friend was pleased with him.
‘Tomorrow evening you’ll be a real boy!’ she said.
But the very next day Candlewick said, ‘Hey, Pinocchio. I’m not going to school today. I’m going to Lazyland.’
‘Oh!’ said Pinocchio. ‘What’s that?’
‘It’s a fun place,’ said Candlewick. ‘Nobody does any work. There are no teachers. We just play and eat sweets all day.’
Then a very strange bus arrived. It was pulled by eight grey donkeys.
‘Come on,’ said Candlewick. ‘You are my friend, aren’t you?’
The bus did look interesting, so Pinocchio said, ‘OK.’
‘You’ll be sorry!’ said one of the donkeys. ‘I was a boy like you once!’
Lazyland was a noisy place. There were children everywhere, playing and shouting and eating sweets. It was fun at first, but soon Pinocchio felt tired and he wanted to go home.
‘Oh, come on,’ said Candlewick. ‘Have some more sweets!’
The next day Pinocchio felt strange.
‘Ah!’ he cried. ‘Candlewick! Help! My ears! Oh no! Your ears are the same!’
‘We’ve got the donkey sickness!’ said Candlewick. ‘We are changing into donkeys.’
It was true. Soon they had tails and fur. Then the bus driver took them to a donkey market and sold them.
An angry man bought Pinocchio, but after a few weeks he didn’t want him any more.
‘I’m going to throw this donkey into the sea and get a new one,’ he said.
Pinocchio fell into the deep blue water. And slowly he changed back into a puppet. Then a huge whale opened its mouth and suddenly Pinocchio found himself inside.
There he could breathe… and there inside the whale he saw… his father!
‘Dad!’ he cried. ‘I saw you fall and I tried to help!’
‘Nothing to eat but fish,’ said the old man. ‘How can we get out of here?’
‘The way we came in,’ said Pinocchio. ‘Hold my hand, Dad! And let’s go!’
When the whale opened its mouth, they swam out. Then a dolphin came and carried them both back to land.
Now Gepetto was too old and tired to work, so Pinocchio took him home. They went back to Gepetto’s cold room, and Pinocchio went back to school.
‘You are a good boy, Pinocchio,’ Gepetto said.
‘But I’m not a boy, Dad,’ said Pinocchio. ‘I’m just a wooden puppet!’
So Pinocchio worked hard. Every day he went to school and listened to his teacher, and at night he helped Gepetto around the house. Together they cooked their evening meal and talked about Pinocchio’s day at school.
The Kind Friend was getting old too, so Pinocchio took food to her and helped her carry buckets of water.
Some time later Pinocchio had a dream. The Kind Friend spoke to him.
‘Pinocchio!’ she said. ‘You are brave! And now you have also learned to be kind. You work hard and you are good. Because of this you have changed. You have grown and your heart has become a real heart. One day you will be a real man. Pinocchio! You are not a puppet any more! You have become real. You are a real boy!’
And when Pinocchio woke up… he saw that it was true!