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Title: The Heart of Pinocchio: New Adventures of the Celebrated Little Puppet

Author: Collodi Nipote

Illustrator: J. R. Flanagan

Translator: Virginia Watson

Release date: November 23, 2012 [eBook #41446]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Melissa McDaniel and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at


Transcriber's Note:

Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation in the original document have been preserved.

The frequent use of ellipses has been retained as printed.

On page 19, "I had better tried" should possibly be "I had better try".



[See p. 147



New Adventures of the
Celebrated Little Puppet

(Paolo Lorenzini)

Adapted from the Italian by

Printer's Logo

With Drawings by
J. R. Flanagan


The Twilight Series

Imaginative Stories and Fairy Tales

Illustrated—Jackets Printed in Colors

The Heart of Pinocchio

Copyright, 1919, by Harper & Brothers
Printed in the United States of America


I. How Pinocchio Discovered that He Had a Heart and Had Become a Real Boy 1
II. How Pinocchio Recognized the Advantages of His Wooden Body 22
III. How Pinocchio Sent a Solemn Protest to Francis Joseph to Rectify an Official Bulletin 33
IV. How Pinocchio Learned that War Changes Everything—Even the Meaning of Words 62
V. In Which Pinocchio Discovers that Sometimes When You Want to Advance You Have to Take a Step Backward 78
VI. Wherein We See Pinocchio's Heart 92
VII. How Pinocchio Came Face to Face with Our Alpine Troops 110
VIII. How Pinocchio Made Two Beasts Sing—Contrary to Nature 135
IX. How Pinocchio Complained Because He Was No Longer a Wooden Puppet 151
X. Many Deeds and Few Words 177
XI. And Now—Finished or Not Finished 199


"But smell this" ... and while he spoke the rascal of a Pinocchio took in both hands the dish and held it close to Stolz's nose Frontispiece
"I see the suet-eaters" Facing page 36
He saw a rag tied to a pole waving " 42
"You beastly little creature, what game are you playing?" " 46
One day he managed to capture a pig and to drag it along behind him " 62
His foot caught Cutemup right in the stomach and knocked him breathless " 88
Pinocchio did his best to get on his feet, but couldn't succeed " 116
Ciampanella, the company cook " 134


Dear Boys and Girls,—Let us hope that none of you has been so unfortunate as to have missed the pleasure of watching sometime or other a puppet show. Probably Punch and Judy is the one you know best, but there are many others with jolly little fellows who dance in and out of all sorts of adventures. So you can imagine Pinocchio, the hero of this book, as one of those lively puppets. And, in case you have never read the earlier book about him, you will want to know something of what happened to him before you meet him in these pages.

One day a poor carpenter, called Master Cherry, began to cut up a piece of wood to make a table-leg of it when, to his utmost amazement, the piece of wood cried out, "Do not strike me so hard!" The frightened carpenter stopped for a moment, and when he began again and struck the wood a blow with his ax the voice cried out once more, "Oh, oh! you have hurt me so!" The carpenter was now so terrified that he was only too glad to turn the piece of wood over to a neighbor, Papa Geppetto, who cut it up into the shape of a boy puppet, painted it, and named it Pinocchio—which means "a piece of pinewood." As soon as he had finished making him, Pinocchio grabbed the old man's wig off his head and started in to play tricks. Papa Geppetto then taught the puppet to walk, and when naughty Pinocchio discovered he could use his legs, he ran away. Then began all kinds of adventures, and Pinocchio was sometimes naughty and selfish, and sometimes kind and considerate, but always funny and jolly.

In this new book Pinocchio's heart has grown through love and consideration for others, so that he becomes a real boy and takes part in the war to help his beautiful country, Italy.

The Translator.





How Pinocchio Discovered That He Had a Heart and Had Become a Real Boy


He yawned, stuck out his tongue and licked the end of his nose, opened his eyes, shut them again, opened them once more and rubbed them vigorously with the back of his hand, jumped up, and then sat down on the sofa, listening intently for several minutes, after which he scratched his noddle solemnly. When Pinocchio scratched his head in this way you could be sure that there was trouble in the air. And so there was. The room was empty, the windows closed, and the door as well; no noise came from the still quiet street; a 2 deep silence filled the air, yet there, right there, close to him, he heard queer sounds like blows—tick-tock ... tick-tock ... tick-tock ... tick-tock.


It sounded like some one who was amusing himself by rapping with his knuckles on a wooden box—tick-tock ... tick-tock ... tick-tock.

"But who is it?" called out the puppet, suddenly, jumping down from the sofa and running to peer into every corner of the room. When he had knocked over the chest, rummaged the wardrobe with the mirror, upset the little table, turned over the chairs, pulled the pictures off the walls, and torn down the window-curtains, he found himself seated on the floor in the middle of the room, dead tired, his face all smeared with dust and spider-webs, his shirt in tatters, his tongue hanging out like a pointer's returning from the hunt. Yet there, close 3 to him, he still heard that strange tick-tock ... tick-tock ... tick-tock ... and it seemed as if those mysterious fingers were rapping even more quickly upon the mysterious wooden box. Pinocchio would have pulled his hair out in desperation if Papa Geppetto hadn't forgotten to make him any. But as the desperation of puppets lasts just about as long as the joy of poor human beings, Pinocchio, laying his right forefinger on the point of his magnificent nose, calmly remarked:

"Let me argue this out. There is no one else in here but me. I am keeping perfectly quiet, not even drawing a long breath, yet the noise keeps up.... Then, since it is not I who am making the noise, some one else must be making it, and as no one outside me is making it, whatever makes it must be inside me."

This seemed reasonable, but Pinocchio, who had not expected he would come to such a conclusion, gave a start, kicked violently, and began to roll around on the ground, yelling as if he would split his throat: "Help! Help!" The thought had suddenly come to him that during the night a mouse had jumped into his mouth and 4 down into his stomach and was searching about in it for some way to get out. But the quieter he kept the noisier grew the tick-tock; in fact, so loud that it seemed to cut off his breath. Fear made him calm.

"Let me argue this out," he said again, laying his forefinger against his nose. "It cannot be a mouse; the movement is too regular, so regular that if I weren't sure that I went to bed without supper I should think I had swallowed Papa Geppetto's watch by mistake.... Hm! If he hadn't told me time and time again that I am only a little puppet without a heart I should almost believe that I had one down inside me, and that this tick-tock were indeed ..."

"Just so!"

"Who said 'Just so'? Who said 'Just so'?" called Pinocchio, looking around in terror. Naturally no one answered him.

"Hm! Did I dream it?" he asked himself. "And even if there is any one who thinks he can frighten me with his 'just so' he will find himself much mistaken. A brave boy does not know what fear is, and I begin to think ...

"'Just so' or not 'just so,' if any one 5 has anything to say to me let him come forward and he will learn what kind of blows I can give."

Pinocchio in the mirror

He turned round and stepped back a few steps. It seemed to him that some one was making a threatening gesture at him. Without hesitating a moment, he rushed forward with his head down, thrashing out blows like a madman. Then he heard a terrible smashing of glass. Pinocchio had hit out at his own image in the wardrobe mirror, which naturally was shattered to bits. There is no need for me to tell you how he felt, because you will have no trouble in picturing it for yourselves. 6

"But how did I come to make such a blunder?" he asked himself, as soon as he had recovered from his surprise. "How did I happen not to recognize myself in the mirror? Am I really so changed...? Can I indeed be changed into a real little boy or am I a puppet as I always was?"

"Just so! Just so! Just so!"

This time there could be no doubt about it. Pinocchio sprang toward the window, opened it, and stuck his head out. There below, a few feet lower down, was a beautiful terrace covered with flowering plants. In the midst of the plants was a stand, and on the stand a magnificent green parrot who just at that moment was scratching under his beak with his claw, and looking around him with one eye open. Down in the street below there was not a soul to be seen.

"Oh, you ugly beast! Was it you who was chattering 'just so, just so, just so'?"

The parrot burst out into a crazy laugh and began to sing in his cracked voice:

"Coccorito wants to know

Who the glass gave such a blow.

Coccorito knows it well

And the master he will tell."


"Hah! Hah! Hah!" And he burst out into another guffaw. Patience, which is the only heritage of donkeys, was certainly not Pinocchio's principal virtue. Moreover, the parrot laughed in such a rude manner that he would have annoyed Jove himself.

The Parrot

"Stop it, idiot!"

"Idiot, idiot, 'yot, 'yot."



"Take care ..."

"Take ca-a-a-re."

"I'll give it to you."

"You, you, you."

"Ho! Ho! Ho! Ho!

Who the glass gave such a blow?

Coccorito knows it well

And the master he will tell."

"Will you? I'll make you shut up. Take this, you horrid beast!" 8

There was a large terra-cotta pot with a fine plant of basil in it standing on the window-sill, and the furious Pinocchio seized it in both hands and hurled it down with all his force. Coccorito would have come to a sad ending if the god of parrots had not protected his topknot. The flower-pot grazed the stand and was shattered against the marble parapet, and the pieces, falling down, hit against the large stained-glass window opening on to the terrace and broke it.

Pinocchio, who could hardly believe that he had done so much damage, stood still a moment and gazed stupidly at the pile of broken pieces and at the parrot, who laughed as if he would burst. But when Pinocchio saw a big officer rush angrily over the terrace, with his hair brushed up on his head, a huge mustache beneath his curved nose, and a thick switch in his hand, he was seized with such a fright that he threw over his shoulders the first thing in the way of clothing he could lay his hand on, rushed to the door, opened it with a kick, ran through a small room adjoining, sped down the stairs at breakneck speed, flung open the street door and—Heavens! 9 He felt a violent blow on his stomach and, as if hurled from a catapult, he was thrown into the air and fell down the rest of the steps, his legs out before him. But he didn't stay still when he got to the bottom. He sprang up like a jack-in-the-box, rubbed himself on the injured part, and was off again. He seemed to see some one strolling there in the middle of the street; he thought he heard himself called twice or thrice by a well-known voice, but the fear which was driving him bade him run, and he ran with all the strength he had in his body.

The Parrot

Poor Papa Geppetto! It was indeed he who was strolling in the middle of the street and who, seeing Pinocchio flying out of the house like a madman, wrapped in a flowered chintz curtain, had called to him imploringly.

And so it was—in his hurry Pinocchio had thrown over his shoulders one of the curtains of his room, and if I must tell you 10 all the truth, he was a perfectly comical sight. Soon Pinocchio had a string of people at his heels crying out: "Catch the madman! Give it to the madman!"

Catch him! That was easy to say, but it was no easy matter to grab hold of the rascal. Indeed, his pursuers were soon weary, and Pinocchio might have thought himself safe if a dog hadn't suddenly joined in the game. It was a large jet-black poodle that had come from no one knew where. With a couple of bounds he had caught up with Pinocchio and had seized the curtain in his teeth and was dragging it through the dust. Suddenly he stiffened on his four legs and Pinocchio gave a little whirl and found himself face to face with the animal.

"Ho, ho, ho! What do I see? Oh, Medoro, don't you recognize me? Give me your paw."

Medoro growled and shook the curtain violently, which was still knotted about Pinocchio's waist. It was only then that he noticed the strange covering he had on and burst out laughing.

"Oh, Medoro! What do you really want to do with this rag? I'll give it to you willingly." 11

He had scarcely undone the knots when Medoro made a spring and was off down the street they had come, the curtain in his teeth. The puppet stood there, quite upset. Medoro had given him a lesson. The dog that had been so friendly had turned on him and, after having pulled the miserable old curtain off him, had made off without paying any further attention to his old friend.

The dog had turned on him

"A fine way of doing!" he grumbled. "I'll catch cold running around after that rag. Papa Geppetto won't even thank him.... I had better tried to mend the mirror of the wardrobe or the general's window." 12

The thought of all the troubles he had caused the poor man in so short a time made Pinocchio rather melancholy, and two big tears shone in his bright little eyes. But suddenly he sighed a deep sigh, shrugged his shoulders several times, and with his head high and his hands on his hips, set off again on his way, whistling a popular song.

He had not gone a hundred steps when he stopped suddenly, cocked his ear, listened a moment quietly, and then flung himself into the fields which bordered the street. The wind brought from far off the gay notes of a military band.

There was a huge crowd, but Pinocchio didn't give that a thought, in spite of the fact that he was very tired with his long run. By pushing and poking and kicks in the shins he got up into the front row. Soldiers were passing. At the head was a company of bicycle sharpshooters (bersaglieri), then the band, then the regiment, the Red Cross ambulance, and soldiers, and a long line of sappers. Everybody clapped, threw kisses and flowers, and overwhelmed the bersaglieri with little gifts. The soldiers broke ranks and mingled with the crowd and answered the applause with loud 13 cheers for Italy, the King, and the Army. Some of them marched along in the midst of their families; weeping mothers begged their sons to be careful; the fathers bade them be brave, reminding them of the fighting in '48, '66, '70—the glorious years of our emancipation. The little boys kept close to their fathers, proud to see them armed like the heroes of old legends, and many of the girls besought their sweethearts: "Write to me, won't you? Every day I want you to write to me. If I don't get letters from you I shall think that you are dead and I shall weep so bitterly."

Dead! This word affected Pinocchio so that suddenly he felt his heart beating loudly—that strange tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock which had startled him earlier that morning.

Dead? "Oh! where are they going?" he asked a sprightly old man who was standing near by, shouting, "Hurrah for Italy!" as if he were a boy.

"They are going to the war."

"Are they really off to war? Will they fire only powder from their guns, or real, lead bullets, too?"

"Indeed yes, real bullets, too." 14

"And will they all die?"

"We hope not all of them—but they are going to fight for the honor and greatness of their country, and he who dies for his country may die happy."

Pinocchio did not breathe. He scratched his head solemnly, and with his eyes and mouth made such a face that if the little old man had seen it he would probably have boxed his ears for him. This "die happy" was silly. Death had always frightened him whenever he had come near to it.

"Have you been to war?" Pinocchio asked the little old man, half ironically.

"Can't you see?" and he pointed to a row of medals pinned on his coat.

"And you would go back?"

"Certainly, if they would take me as a volunteer."

This reply brought a strange longing to Pinocchio, all the more that the tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock in the box inside of his body was making so much noise that it rang in his ears. And then the gay notes of the band, the joyous air of the soldiers, the cheers of the crowd, suddenly brought a strange idea into his head. The war, with its cannon, marches on one side, fighting 15 on the other, horses dashing, flags waving in the wind, songs of victory, medals on the breast, prisoners tied together like sausages, war trophies, danced before his eyes in a fantastic dance. The war must be just the place for him, all the more so when he thought that it couldn't be easy to get to it if the little old man who had been there so often couldn't go now.

"I, too, will go to the war with the soldiers," he said, in a low voice, and without wasting a moment he pushed his way between the troops, who, now that they were approaching the station, began to close up the ranks. He found himself by the side of a young blond soldier, who seemed more lonely and sad than the others.

"Will you take me with you?" Pinocchio asked, pulling at his coat.


"To the war."

"You? Are you crazy?"

"No, indeed."

"And you ask me to take you with me?"

"Whom, then, must I ask?"

"There is the guard down there, that one with a blue scarf over his shoulder." 16

When Pinocchio got an idea in his head he had to work it out at any cost. So he repeated his demand to the lieutenant of the guard, who, smiling under his mustache, pointed out the captain inspecting the troops. But the captain could decide nothing without the consent of the battalion commander, who, for his part, would have had to ask the approval of the colonel. He advised Pinocchio to hasten matters by going to the adjutant, who could present his request directly to the general.

They were now in the station. The soldiers took their places in the huge cars, around which crowded their families, friends, and the cheering, curious throng. At the end of the train some first-class carriages were attached into which the orderlies carried the hand-baggage of their higher officers. In front of one compartment reserved for one of these was piled up a regular mountain of small objects—little packages, boxes, rugs, furs, which a cavalry soldier was trying to carry inside. The adjutant, a few feet away, was looking on, trembling with impatience and vexation.

"Quick! Quick! You lazybones! Quick! Quick! Mollica. General Win-the-War 17 will be here in a minute and his things are not yet inside. I'll put you under arrest for a fortnight."

"I respectfully beg the adjutant to observe that I have only two hands for the service of my general and of my country."

"And I beg you to observe that the train is about to start off."

"If the adjutant would order some one to give me a hand ..."

"There isn't any one to be had, confound it!"

Just at that moment Pinocchio advanced resolutely toward the adjutant to put forward his request to be enlisted.

"Mr. Adjutant ... I have come ... to ..."

The adjutant didn't let Pinocchio say another word, but caught hold of him under the chin, squeezed him, shook him gently ... and said:

"Good! I understand ... you want to do something for the army.... Good boy! You are the best kind of a volunteer. Fine! Help Private Mollica to carry in all this stuff and your country will be grateful to you. And you, Mollica, hurry up. I beg you to observe that now you have the four 18 hands you requested for the job. We understand each other, heh?"

Then he was off toward a group of soldiers who were chalking on the door of one of the railway carriages in large letters: "Through Train—Venice—Trieste—Vienna." A big crowd had gathered around, stopping the traffic.

"Ho, boys, who told you to write through train? Next time ask permission from your superior officer.... There will be a little stop before we get there."

"Doesn't matter, sir, as long as we get there."

"Well! You can tell when a train leaves, but not whether it will ever arrive."

"Hurrah for Italy!"

"Good boys! I like that. But rub out what you have written. You are first-class soldiers, you are. We understand each other, heh?" And off he went.

With Pinocchio's aid Private Mollica performed miracles. In a few minutes the general's things were inside, beautifully arranged in the baggage-racks.

"You are a prodigy, boy, I tell you. You have done me a great service and my adjutant will be so pleased that if you will 19 promise to keep guard here a moment I will go to tell him so that he can thank you in the general's name."

"Go along; I'll stay," Pinocchio replied, and took up a position in front of the door that was so soldierly you might have taken him for a distant relative of Napoleon the Great before St. Helena.

But a minute had not gone by and Mollica had not got a hundred steps away when Pinocchio turned as pale as death and trembled so with fright that he almost fell off the step. He had caught sight a short way off of General Win-the-War surrounded by a crowd of officers; and with his marvelous vision had recognized in him Papa Geppetto's furious tenant, whose stained glass he had shattered a few hours before, all on account of saucy Coccorito.

He was lost; there was no possible way of escape! Win-the-War was coming direct to his compartment and the adjutant was guiding him. The crowd in the way divided before him and the soldiers stood stiffly at attention. Even Mollica stood there straight as a ramrod.... Pinocchio gave a leap into the compartment, hoping to escape by the opposite door. 20 But it was not possible to open it.... He heard the sound of the approaching steps, the ring of the spurs.... Pinocchio flung himself down on the floor of the compartment and hid himself, face downward, under one of the seats.

The general, a colonel, and the adjutant got in. A band struck up the national air; thousands of voices cheered the King, Italy, and the Army. The soldiers responded with youthful courage.... You heard a continual medley of good-bys and good wishes, and the quick, sharp repetition of commands. A hundred voices were singing, "Farewell, my dear one, farewell"; a hundred others sang Garibaldi's Hymn.... There was a profound silence in the compartment. Perhaps the superior officers felt the great responsibility of the moment and were moved by it. Pinocchio didn't dare breathe for fear of betraying himself, but in his breast the tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock beat so loudly that he thought it must resound all along the wooden walls of the carriage. The notes of the national air seemed to be quicker ... the cries of the crowd louder ... the locomotive whistled shrilly a 21 desperate good-by ... the train began to move....

"Gentlemen," said the general to his two companions, "let Italy's fate now be fulfilled. To-morrow we shall cross the frontier, for the glory of our King and for the greatness of our country. Long live Italy!"

There was so much emotion in the old soldier's voice that Pinocchio felt as if a rope were strangling his throat. When the train was under way, rumbling noisily along the rails, he burst out crying and discovered that he had a heart just as if he were a real boy!


How Pinocchio Recognized the Advantages of His Wooden Body


"So, Colonel, you understand? This afternoon we shall be at —— (censor); we shall bivouac the troops; to-morrow morning at two we must be on the march. We shall cross the frontier at —— (censor) and we shall descend toward ——. I expect rapid and united advance until we encounter serious opposition. Remind the soldiers of the respect due to property in the conquered lands and to the beaten foes taken prisoners.... I have been told by the commander-in-chief that it has been discovered that there is a host of spies who are working to injure us. I command you to be very severe with spies caught in the act, no matter what their age, race, or social standing. Tell your officers to keep absolutely secret all orders which they receive. If 23 there is the slightest suspicion that an order relating to our advance has reached the ear of a person suspected even in the slightest degree, take him out, stand him with his face to the wall, and give him eight bullets in his back. You understand—without fear of consequences or that you may be mistaken. It would be better than to allow—let us suppose such a case—a whole regiment to be destroyed."

The General

Pinocchio, who had been beginning to enjoy the adventure, the swaying of the train, which, as he lay on his face, tickled his stomach, and the conversation of the general, which greatly interested him, was so terrified at these words that his body felt like goose-flesh. For a moment he thought he would faint. His ears rang loudly and he burst into a sweat. Heigh-ho! The general was not a man to say such things as a joke: "If there is the slightest suspicion that an order relating to our advance 24 has reached the ear of a person suspected even in the slightest degree, take him out, stand him with his face to the wall, and give him eight bullets in his back." It was clear. As clear as it could be! Instead of a single order, Pinocchio had overheard a number ... they would certainly take him for a spy, and most certainly the eight bullets would not be lacking.

"Eight!" he exclaimed to himself as soon as he had managed to grow a little calmer. "Eight! One would be enough for me, and even that would be too much! But I don't want to die with bullets in my back.... I am not a spy at all. Well ... how can I persuade that orang-outang that I am in this compartment and under this seat for no other purpose than to go to war against my country's enemies, and because the authorities certainly wouldn't let me go in a more decent way? And suppose he recognizes me as the one who smashed his stained-glass window that opened out on his terrace, instead of eight bullets, he will order me a couple of dozen.... What a pity! Poor me! Poor Papa Geppetto, what will he say about me? But, to sum it up, I am not a spy, and when any one wants to pretend 25 to be what he is not he must find out the way to show them that he is not what they believe him to be.... The best way, I think, would be to slip off quietly. No one saw me come in here ... all I have to do is to get out without any one's seeing me. It can't be very difficult to do that; I'll just stay quietly until the train gets to its destination, then let these gentlemen step out, and a minute later I'll fade away."

If you could have poked your head under the seat and seen Pinocchio's face at this moment you would have been made happy by his joyful smile. This little bit of reasoning had so quieted his mind that if they had pressed eight muskets against his back to shoot the famous eight bullets into him he would have begun to laugh as if they were doing it only to tickle him.

He stretched himself out slowly, and, lulled by the swaying of the train, was soon overcome by such a tranquil slumber that he couldn't have slept better in his own little bed.

"Poor Pinocchio!" I think I hear you say. "What is going to happen to him now?" Yes, that's the way. It is the usual rule in this world that when a person 26 thinks he can enjoy a moment of blessed repose some misfortune is lying in wait for him. If Pinocchio, instead of letting himself be overcome with sleep, had kept his eyes and ears open while the train was slowing down and the locomotive ahead was puffing noisily he would have heard General Win-the-War let out a yell of pain. Of course, he should have kept it back, but in time of war we pardon certain things, particularly when a general about to make an attack suffers from the torture of rheumatic sciatica, an old trouble of his.

"What's the matter, General?"

"My leg. My pain has come back; it's worse than an Austrian bullet."

"Perhaps you have taken a little cold."

"Perhaps.... It doesn't seem warm here, for a fact, does it, Colonel?"

"No, indeed."

"We are in the mountains and still climbing, and the temperature is going down."

"Gracious me! so it is. They ought ... Major, do me the favor at the next stop to ask if it is possible to heat the compartment. If the rest of you don't like the heat you can just go into the next compartment." 27

"The idea!"

At the next stop, which was not long in coming, the colonel asked permission of his superior officer to go off for an inspection of his men, and the major went off to see about heat for his commanding officer. It was not a hard matter to obtain what he wanted. The general was traveling in an up-to-date carriage, one of those that have under the seats special steam coils which can be connected with the exhaust pipes of the locomotive's boiler, and, by a simple adjustment, begin to send out heat immediately.

The signal for departure had already been given when the major returned joyfully to the compartment.


"The connection is made and we have heat on."

"Or rather we shall have it, because just now ..."

"Excuse me, General, all we have to do is to push that handle where the sign says 'cold' and 'hot' and ..."

The general, who was following the maneuver attentively, uttered an "Oh!" of relief as if the compartment were suddenly 28 transformed into a hothouse, and stretched his legs out comfortably, resting his feet on the opposite seat.

I can't tell you where Pinocchio's thoughts were at this moment. But I can assure you that he was dreaming and that they must have been pleasant dreams, because there was a beautiful smile on his face. But suddenly the expression changed to one strange and painful. Perhaps in his dreams, while he was seated at a table that was spread with the most delicious dainties, he felt himself slipping down, down, and suddenly found himself on a hot gridiron with St. Lawrence in person. It is certain that when he opened his eyes it was impossible to breathe the air beneath the seat, and where his back touched it, it was hot enough to bake a loaf of bread. He started to jump out, but caught sight, right in front of his nose, of the little wheels in the adjutant's spurs. The sight of these brought him back to his real situation.

"But what is the matter?" he said to himself. "Is the axle of the wheel on fire? And can I keep from burning? But if they notice it, too? If no one moves that means that there is no danger ... but, Heavens! 29 it burns! Ouch! I am covered with sweat, but I have got to stand it.... If I get out there will be the eight bullets in my back. Poor me! How much better it would be if I were still nothing but a wooden puppet!"

On a Hot Gridiron

Well, I can't help him. It's too much for me. It would indeed have been convenient at that moment to be made of wood, for he was in a situation such as no one would wish for any creature of flesh and blood—for me or you, for instance. He had either to stand being steamed on the boiling pipe of the heating apparatus or to give himself up into the hands of the general, who wouldn't delay long the threatened shooting.

Pinocchio was a hero, also a regular martyr, because he stood the torture more than half an hour, turning himself from side to side, moving restlessly, and drawing up his 30 body in one way and another like the aforesaid St. Lawrence of blessed memory, the only difference being that the saint expected to be well cooked on one side and then to turn over and be cooked on the other; while Pinocchio, when he discovered that a certain part of him was about to be cooked in earnest, let out a loud scream and followed it by calls for "Help! help!"

General Win-the-War and the adjutant jumped to their feet like jacks-in-the-box, threw themselves down on the ground, and, without paying any attention to the blow on the heads they gave each other, ran their arms under the seat, and with outstretched hands seized hold of Pinocchio and dragged him out. They nearly tore him in two like a tender chicken, one pulling him on one side and one on the other.

"You wretch!"

"You scoundrel!"

"Who are you?"

"Speak, you miserable creature!"

"General, he is a spy."

"We must question him in German ... he must be an Austrian."

"Wer sind Sie?"

No answer. 31

"What language do you speak, you little beast?"

Poor Pinocchio couldn't even draw a long breath. The general clutched him by the collar with such a military firmness that he turned the color of a ripe cherry. A little more and he would have been strangled to death.

The adjutant saved him by respectfully bidding the general remember that in questioning a prisoner it is necessary to allow him to breathe if you wish an answer.

"Mr. General ... forgive me. I am not a spy. It would be a real crime if you had me shot ... just as soon as we arrive at ... Give me a gun and I will go to war with the troops."

"Oh, you wretch! So you listened to all we said?"

"How could I help it? I was under here when the train started. It was I who helped Private Mollica to put all your stuff inside."

"Even this leather case?"

"Certainly I, I myself."

"Even the despatch-case with the plans! Major, give me your revolver so that I can shoot him like a dog."

"But why do you want to shoot me, Mr. 32 General? I haven't done anything.... I wanted to go to the war to hear the cannon, but I never spied on any one, not even when I went to school.... Can you really take me for a Boche? No, for gracious' sake, no.... Look at my features.... No, no, no, for Heaven's sake! Keep your weapon quiet.... Don't you know who I am?... I am Pinocchio, Papa Geppetto's Pinocchio ... who only this morning broke your stained-glass window...."

At that point the general uttered such a roar that Pinocchio felt his breath leave him. But he saw the officer hand back the pistol to the major and take up from the seat a big leather bag; then he didn't see the bag again, but he felt it several times and with great force exactly on the part of his body which had suffered the most from the heat of the steam coil.... But Pinocchio was saved by his sincerity. General Win-the-War could certainly not have bothered to beat a real spy, but I can tell you that at that moment Pinocchio would have preferred to be still a wooden puppet.


How Pinocchio Sent a Solemn Protest to Francis Joseph to Rectify an Official Bulletin


May had come with her blossoms, but up there a sharp wind was blowing so that it seemed still February. Pinocchio, half naked as he was, shivered like a leaf, and every now and then let out a sneeze which sounded like a bursting shell. At every sneeze Mollica gave him a kick, Corporal Fanfara a box on the ear, and Drummer Stecca a pinch. The only one who didn't abuse him was Bersaglierino, the blond young soldier, more melancholy than his companions, whom he had first accosted in the station when they were setting out. I have told you that Pinocchio trembled with cold, and I will tell you that it was almost a good thing for him to do so; otherwise they would have seen him tremble with 34 fear. If this had happened, his teasing companions would have driven him to despair. Pinocchio was to be pitied. He was at the front, the frontier several miles behind them, and any minute might bring Austrian bullets whistling through the air. The general had spared the youngster from being shot in the back, but he had given orders to put him in the very front line during the advance and to keep him well guarded. In one case the guns of the enemy would do justice to the suspected spy; in the other, Pinocchio would clear himself by his conduct and at the same time would lose his desire for a close view of the enemy.

Private Mollica was furious with him.

"Che-chew! che-chew! che-chew!"

"Plague take you!" Another kick. "Keep still, you little beast! If you let the enemy spot us I'll stick this bayonet in your backbone."

"I can't stand it any longer. I am frozen—che-chew!"

"Stop it!" Another box on the ear. "You are all right. You wanted to be a volunteer; now you see how much fun it is."


"Yes, you.... You were the cause of 35 the fine talking-to my general gave me, and you made me lose my place as an orderly where I had a chance to make extra soldi. If you hadn't gone and told him that you had helped me to carry his things and if you hadn't slipped under the seat of that same officer to listen to what he said, I shouldn't have been punished by being sent to the front."

"Are you afraid, then, Mollica?"

"I afraid? But don't you know that if I catch sight of an Austrian I'll eat him?"

"Like the food you took from the general," that rascal of a Pinocchio dared to remark.

There was a chorus of laughs that stopped as if by magic at the sound of a certain roar in the distance and of something whistling through the air and very near.

"There they are!"

"We're in it."


"Where are they?"

Who paid any attention now to Pinocchio? All of them had drawn close to one another and had rushed to the edge of the road, their guns pointed, to examine the distant landscape. The mountain was very 36 steep there and covered with thick vegetation. Down at the bottom, toward the plain, there seemed to be an unexpected rise ... after the steep descent a green stretch through which a river ran like a silver ribbon. Still farther, was a chain of low mountains, almost like a cloud on the edge of the peaceful horizon.

There was the roar of some more shots and the whistling of the shells, and a branch of a tree was splintered and fell.

Pinocchio, alone in the middle of the road, felt a creeping up and down his spine and experienced a trembling in his legs that shook like a palsied man's. The second time he heard a shell whistle he felt that he must find a hole in which to hide himself. He looked about him and caught sight near by of an enormous larch-tree which pointed directly toward the heavens. I don't know how to explain it, but the sight of it took away from Pinocchio the desire to hide himself under the ground and made him wish to climb toward the stars. He gave a spring and shinned up the big trunk in a flash. I bet you a plugged soldo against a lira that you would have done the same.... 37


"I see them! I see them!"


"Whom do you see?"

"Where are they? Where are you that we can't see you?"

"I am up here."

"Bravo! And whom do you see?" Bersaglierino asked.

"I see the suet-eaters."

"Where are they?"

"Down there where there is a kind of slope there is a town hidden among the trees ... up here you can see a roof and the spire of a bell-tower ... you can see people on the roof ... you can see something glisten ... now they are firing."

This time there were several reports, but they seemed to be aiming in another direction, because there was not the usual whistle in the air.

"Whom are they 'strafing'?" Corporal Fanfara asked himself.

"I'll 'strafe' that scoundrel Pinocchio. If you don't come down alive I will bring you down dead with a bullet in the seat of your trousers."

"But listen! Look down there and see whom they're giving it to," cried the enraged 38 Bersaglierino, pointing out a marching column which was hurrying below them.

"Our infantry!"

"Yes, indeed. They will beat us to it. It's a shame."

"Our company ought to start off at a double-quick."

"It must be a half-mile away."

"But the bersaglieri must get there first ... even if there are only the four of us."

"Sure thing."

"Do you hear?"

"Forward, Savoy!"

And, heads lowered and bayonets fixed, they rushed down the slope.

"Ho! boys! Ho! Mol-li-ca! Cor-po-ral!... Oh! They are going off without me! What a mean thing to do! They leave me here at the top of this tree and run off.... But if they think they can play me such a trick they are mistaken.... I am hungry as a wolf, and if I don't get them to feed me, whom can I join? Run, run.... We'll see who gets there first!"

He climbed down the tree, grumbling as he went, tightened the belt of his trousers, drank in several deep breaths of air, and 39 then tore off like an express train behind time.

I will tell you at once, not to keep you in suspense, that the bersaglieri got there the first, the infantry second, and Pinocchio ... a good third. I call it a "good third" merely as a way of expressing it, because when he arrived at the village our soldiers had already passed through it and had advanced some distance beyond, following the Austrians, who had taken to their heels and who were suffering a sharp fire at short range.

The village was so small that it didn't even deserve the name of one. There were ten houses in all besides the church with the bell-tower, and a long shed over which waved the white flag with the red cross. There was a deathlike silence everywhere. On the little square before the church some bodies of Austrian soldiers were lying; among them was that of an officer so ugly that he seemed to have died of fright, but there was a red spot on his back. Pinocchio was terrified at the sight of him, but he had such a longing for his sword, his automatic pistol, his handsome belt, his light-blue cape, and his cap that he persuaded 40 himself it was perfectly silly to be afraid of a dead Austrian, particularly when they weren't afraid of live ones. Without too much reflection, he buckled on the dead man's belt, armed himself with the pistol, wrapped himself in the blue cape, and pressed the cap down on his head. He was good to look at, I can assure you.

New Disguise

The Hapsburg army had never had an officer who could be compared with this puppet who had now become a real boy. Pinocchio was prancing up and down in his new disguise, his sword clanking against the pavement, just like any little lieutenant, when he heard a horrible roar high up overhead, 41 then, a moment later, an explosion which shook the ground! When he lifted up his head to see what had happened he thought he caught sight of some one walking about on the church's bell-tower. He saw a rag tied to a pole waving and, as if in reply to a signal, brumm! another shot that fell closer. Pinocchio, who was suspicious, went into the vestry and, pistol in hand, rushed up the steep little wooden stairs. He got to the top without even making the old worm-eaten stairs squeak. In the space where the bells hung a man in civilian's clothes had his back turned toward him. He was looking off from the balcony, and kept on waving the red cloth. You could see the vast expanse of the plain, and among the green a strange, intermittent flash ... then a puff ... then you heard a roar, followed by a crash, like a moving train rapidly approaching, then a tremendous explosion. The shells never fell as far as the town, but burst all around it, sending up columns of earth and smoke. And off there Pinocchio could see the bersaglieri, the soldiers of his country. The traitor with his signals was directing fire on the Italian troops. 42

Tell me truly, what would you have done if you had been in Pinocchio's place? Would you have fired at the traitor? Yes or no. Well, Pinocchio did the same—cocked his pistol, shut his eyes, pulled the trigger, and pum-pum-pum-pum-pum-pum-pum, seven shots went off. He had expected only one, and was so frightened that he pitched his weapon away and took to his heels, down the steps, without thought of the wretch, who, for his part, did no more signaling, I assure you!

When he had got down to the square Pinocchio rushed across it, and was about to run in the direction where he had seen his bersaglieri fighting, when, passing by the shed where the Red Cross flag waved, he thought he heard the sound of several voices in a lively discussion. He stopped suddenly and very, very quietly approached a big window closed merely by a wire netting. Inside he saw on one side of the large room two rows of beds, in the middle a group of rough-looking soldiers, with waxed mustaches, completely armed, who were busy plotting together. Just at that moment they separated to go to bed. They took off their weapons, hid them under the 43 sheets, and slipped themselves into bed, drawing the covers up to their noses.


"Wunderschön!" ("Fine.")

"When Italian pigs come we make a colossal festival," grunted a Croat and laughed boisterously. "We sick get well, and Italians all croak."

"I'll croak you," muttered Pinocchio, who in a twinkle had understood the deviltry the wretches were planning. He made himself as small as he could, so that the cape dragged on the ground like a petticoat, slunk along the walls of the shed, then rushed off at full speed toward the fields. He was just passing the last house of the village when he found himself unexpectedly surrounded by a score of Austrian soldiers in a half-tipsy condition, so that they took him for their superior officer. He thought himself lost.

"Lieutenant, don't go farther. 'Talians still near and make croak all Croats."

"Croat? I a Croat!"

"'Talians make croak Slovaks, too."

"Oh! Mamma!"

"Ja, ja!"

"Ja, ja!"

Pinocchio had a flash of intuition; he 44 hid his hand under his cape, unsheathed the sword, and, assuming so martial a manner that then and there he could have been taken for a handsome brother of William, he yelled and swore some doggerel which the dolts might think was Hungarian, Dalmatian, or Rumanian, spun 'round and continued on his way to the Italian position. The Austrians followed him, bayonets fixed, convinced that the spirit of Tegetoff had come to life and was leading them to victory. But instead, when they had gone a hundred yards they were showered with bullets and had to fling themselves on the ground in order to escape immediate extermination. Pinocchio saw that he was being shot at more than the others, and didn't know why. All around him the torn-up earth was strewn with plumes.

"I should like to know why they are after me especially, who am not even firing, while they are sparing these monkeys who have followed me and are shooting like mad. Oh! Perhaps it is on account of the uniform of that miserable officer. If that is the case, my dear ones, enough of your sport. 'Oho! I am an Italian. Stop firing, for Heaven's sake, so that I can tell 45 you something important. Oho! Enough, I say!'"

And standing up straight, he hurled the cape and the cap away from him, and with no thought of danger, made for the spot from which came the Italian fire.

Then came the end of the scene. The Croats behind him jumped to their feet like so many jacks-in-the-box, threw their arms about and waved their hands in the air.... From a hedge not far off, a company of bersaglieri came running up and surrounded them, yelling, "Surrender!"

"If one of them moves, stick him like a toad," commanded a lieutenant.

"Don't worry, sir, I'll spit him for your roasting."

"Secure their officer."

"Heh, boys! don't joke ... lower your bayonets. I'm no Austrian officer. I am Pinocchio. Mollica, don't you recognize me?"

"You beastly little creature, what game are you playing? But I'll run you through, all the same."

"What's up now?"

"Lieutenant, Mollica wants to make believe that I am an Austrian lieutenant, because 46 I was the cause of his losing his place as orderly with General Win-the-War, but I am Pinocchio. Do you know me? I am glad. Order these twenty apes, which I have brought all the way here, to be bound, and then if you give me thirty men I will guarantee to catch some others that I have put to bed in the big barracks under the protection of the Red Cross, who pretended they were ill, but who had hidden their guns under the covers to 'croak Italian hogs.'"

"Where are they?"

"I'll tell you now ... then I'll show you up on the tower what a pretty thing I found—a traitor who was making signals to some one far off, and then, boom! there came one of those shells that burst. I meant to let him have one little bullet, but the pistol fired so many at him that I threw everything away...."

"But come on! Come on! Show me the way!"

"Right away, but on one condition—that when I have guided you, you will give me something to eat, because I am so hungry that I could eat that miserable Mollica." 47

"Come on, boy, to the village. Double quick!"


Who would have imagined that his regiment had been fighting continuously for ten hours, leaving some dead on the field and sending not a few wounded to the ambulance? There on the square of the village won by Italy, beneath the shadow of the red, white, and green flag that waved from the summit of the little tower, the brave boys gave vent to unrestrained joy. It was time for rations. In the camp kitchens big pots were steaming, but the soldiers did not crowd around them as usual to fill their canteens. The bersaglieri's attention was held by a sight which put them in good humor, and good humor in war is a rare thing. Pinocchio was eating! He had swallowed three platefuls of soup in five minutes, and as he continued to grunt that he was hungry, they had given him a canteen full to the top and slipped into it a piece of meat that would have been sufficient to satisfy the hunger of four city employees.

"Look out for bones!"

"Are you going to eat them all?" 48

"If he stays with us he'll break the Government."

"Look out, boys, he'll end by bursting."

"Don't you split open with all the Austrians you have eaten, for pork is more indigestible than asses' meat."

"Heh! don't find fault with the food."

"And what kind of meat do you call this?"

"The best beef."

"Lie! I am familiar with animals ... you give beef to the officers; donkey-meat to the soldiers."

"Look out, you Pinocchio, you'll get into trouble with that tongue of yours."

"Then let me eat in peace. You are all staring at me as if I were a Zulu chewing a hen with her feathers on. My tongue can't be dainty both talking and eating."

"Let's murder him."

And then there was a loud burst of laughter from all. Pinocchio was shoveling food into his mouth with both his hands, so that his face was red as a cock's comb and he could scarcely breathe.

They were already as fond of him as if he were their son. His achievements had won for him a certain respect even from the officers whom he amused with his 49 monkeyshines. It had been decided to adopt Pinocchio as the "son of the regiment" and to keep him at the front as a mascot. He was to live with the troops and to wear the uniform of a Boy Scout. The soldiers with common accord had put off his costume to an opportune moment. Do you want to know the reason? The brave boys were afraid to stick Pinocchio into puttees with so many spiral bands because his little thin legs would have frightened people. For the time being they had him put on a pair of short trousers which dragged behind him on the ground, a little cape like a bersagliere's, and a fez with a light-blue tassel so long that it touched his heels. This tassel was Pinocchio's delight, who, in order to look at it, always walked along with his head over his shoulder, and so would keep bumping into first one thing and then another. One day the mischievous Mollica made him run into one of the quarter-master-corps mules, and Pinocchio saluted and asked its pardon. But when he ran into officers, sergeants, corporals, and soldiers, instead of saluting he swore at them all.

It is three days later. General Win-the-War's troops have not advanced. Our bersaglieri 50 are still in camp near ——. It is a sultry, thundering afternoon. Many of the soldiers are sleeping. The Bersaglierino is playing cards with Mollica. Corporal Fanfara is shaving. Stecca is practising on his cornet, trying a variation on a well-known tune. Pinocchio, in the back of the tent, is snoring so loudly that Mollica every now and then hurls a handful of earth at his nose to make him lower his note.

Suddenly the boredom is broken, every one jumps up and runs out to a certain point and crowds around an automobile that has just arrived. Pinocchio wakes up with a start, finds his mouth full of grit, his nose dirty, and hears all the noise about him—has a terrible fright, lets out a yell, and rushes out of the tent. But he is scarcely outside before he feels himself caught up by his legs and whirled around on the ground. He gets up again and is face to face with Bersaglierino, who has not left his post and who laughs loudly at Pinocchio's plight.

"What has happened?"

"The mail has come."

"And you're making all this racket for that? I thought it was the Austrians." 51

"You little coward, you!"

"That's enough, Bersaglierino, if you say that to me again I'll give you such a kick that will change your shape. But why don't you, too, go to see if you have any letters?"


"Who do you think would write me? I am as alone in the world as a dog, just like you, it seems."

"Yes, that's so," replied Pinocchio, swallowing hard, because he had suddenly felt his throat tighten at the thought of Papa Geppetto, from whom he had had no news for many a long day.

"It is a red-letter day for the others. Mollica will have a letter from his father, Fanfara news from his two babies, Stecca kisses from his wife.... I might be killed 52 to-morrow by a bullet in the stomach and they would let me rot in a ditch and that would be the end."

Mollica came back, his arms full of newspapers. His father, a news-dealer in Naples, sent him a copy of every unsold publication, knowing that anything may come in useful in war-times, even old news.

"Heh! Bersaglierino! You want us to play the postman and yet you don't take any trouble to get your scented letter."

"You are joking?"

"No, it's no joke. Here is one really for you, and I congratulate you because if you are engaged she must be at least a countess."

The Bersaglierino took the letter his comrade held out to him and read the address over several times. There was no doubt; it was his name that was written on the scented envelope the color of a blush rose. He turned pale and stood for a moment undecided, then he tore it open and read:

Dear Bersaglierino,—I saw how sad and alone you were at the moment of your departure, so I felt it was my duty as a patriotic Italian girl to write to you. Go and fight for our country; do your duty bravely, and remember that in thought I follow and will follow you every minute. If you return valorously 53 I will meet you and tell you how happy I am; if you fall wounded I will go to your hospital bed to soothe your suffering; if you die for your country my flowers shall lie on your grave and your name will always be written in my heart. Long live Italy!

Your war-godmother,

"Long live Italy!" Bersaglierino shouted like mad. He caught up his hat with its cock plumes and tossed it in the air with all his force, seized Pinocchio who was standing by him, and lifted him up in both his arms, pulled his cap off his head, and then twirled it round on his pate, scratching the poor boy's nose.

"What's got into you? Are you crazy?"

"Am I crazy? I am happy! I am not alone any more, do you understand? I am no longer an unlucky fellow like you with no one belonging to him. But I am fonder of you than ever. Give me a kiss ..." and he pressed such a hearty kiss on his nose that his comrades laughed. But Pinocchio longed to cry. The heart in his body beat a violent tick-tock, tick-tock.

"Have you read what Franz Joe's newspapers say?—'Italian soldiers are brigands who do not respect civilians or the wounded in the hospitals.' That means you, dear 54 Pinocchio, because you shot the traitor on the tower. You can be sure that if the suet-eaters win they will make you pay for the crime."


"Yes, indeed, you! You don't intend to say that I killed him, do you? And you, thank God, are not an enlisted Italian soldier, therefore ..."

"I understand."

The camp was quiet once again; indeed, I might say that tender memories had softened its youthful exuberance. The voices from home were keeping the soldiers silent. It was as if every letter their eyes fell on was speaking to them quietly and they were blessed in listening, their faces shining with happiness. Corporal Fanfara held a sheet of paper on which there was nothing but some strange scrawls. He gazed at it with delight, and while two big tears ran down his cheeks he murmured in his Venetian dialect, "My darling little rascals!" These scrawls of theirs were more welcome to him than the letter from his wife which told of privations, anxiety, and troubles. Private Mollica was acting like a detective, searching through the newspaper pages for his 55 father's dirty finger-marks; and as there was little trouble in finding them he kept repeating every moment, "This was made by my dear old man." Then he kissed the marks so often that his whole mouth was black with printer's ink.

Shortly after every one was writing, some bent over their writing-tablets, some on the back of a good-natured comrade, some stretched out on the ground, some on the edge of a bench, on the staves of a barrel, on a tree-trunk, with pencils, fountain-pens, on post-cards, envelopes, letter-paper spilled out miraculously from portfolios, bags, and canteens. Every one was writing. The Bersaglierino seemed to be composing a poem. He gesticulated, whacked himself on the ear, beat time with his pen that squirted ink in every direction, and every now and then declaimed under his breath certain phrases that were so moving that they made even him weep.

Pinocchio was as silent and gloomy as the hood of a dirty kitchen stove. Squatting at the entrance to the tent, he kept glancing at his companions, and every now and then he would scratch his head so vigorously that he might have been currycombing 56 a donkey. When Pinocchio scratched his head in that way ... Well, now you know that matters were serious, but I tell you they were so serious that he had the courage to interrupt the Bersaglierino in his literary studies.

"Excuse me, but will you do me a favor?"

"What do you want? Keep quiet ... leave me alone ... you make me lose my thread of thought ..."

"So you write with thread, do you? Are you aware that they don't use this any more?"

"Stop your nonsense. Leave me alone, puppet."

"Do me a favor and then ..."

"What is it? Spit it out!"

"Lend me a pencil and a piece of paper."

"You want to write, too?"


"Then you, too, have some one in the world who interests you?"

"Yes ... perhaps."

"A godmother like mine?"

"Hum! No indeed."

"You are serious about wanting to write?" 57


"Here's paper and pencil, then. Do you know how to write?"

"Once I knew how."

"All right. Then let me see it."


Pinocchio rested his elbows on his knees, chin on his clasped hands, and, biting his pencil, lost himself in profound meditation.

"Excuse me, Bersaglierino."

"Ho! Finished already?"

"No ... that is ... yes, I have finished beginning, but ... I don't know what you put before the beginning."

"Write, 'Dear So-and-so,' or 'My darling, etc., etc.'"

"But you see I can't put either 'dear' or 'my darling.'"

"So you are writing to a creditor?"

"Something like that."

"Heavens! Put his first name, his last name, swear at him, and that's enough."

"Excuse me, Bersaglierino..."

"Oh, are you still there?"

"Yes.... I haven't been able to start the beginning because ..." 58

"Do you or do you not know how to write?"

"Like a lawyer."


"I don't know what his last name is."


"Franz Joe's."

"Writing to him? You want to write to him? To that miserable Hapsburg?"

The news spread like lightning through the camp. The soldiers passed it from mouth to mouth, laughing like mad: Pinocchio was writing to Emperor Franz Joseph! This was interesting. They must know what the letter said. It would certainly be something to amuse them. So walking quietly, as if they were all eager to take him in the very act, they approached the tent where Pinocchio was composing his missive, not without difficulty. He had not been writing for several minutes and the words seemed so long to put down on paper. He had to keep thinking of the spelling, and the verbs bothered him terribly. When he raised his head to draw a breath of relief before re-reading what he had managed to write, he found himself surrounded by all the regiment. 59

"Oh, you are well brought up, aren't you? Who taught you to stick your noses into other people's business?"

"To whom have you written?"


"To the one I wanted to."

"Let's see the scribbling."

"Look in your mirror and you will see worse lines on your own face."

"We want to read the letter."

"But if you are a pack of illiterates ..."

"Listen, either you will let me see it or 60 I will take you by one ear and the letter with the other hand, and I'll carry you both off to the censor, who will haul you before a court martial that will condemn you to be shot in the back."

"Oh, do you really want to see it, Mollica?"

"You heard what I said."

"On one condition."

"What's that?"

"That you will take charge of it and see that it gets to its address."

"All right. Hand it here, you puppy. Listen to what he writes:

"Mr. Franz Hapsburg,

In his house in Austria,

"You wrote in the papers that the Italian soldiers are rascals because they kill civilians and wounded Ostrians. I want you to know that you are mistaken, because as you know the traitor was killed by a pistol that shot off Ostrian bullets by itself while it was in my hands who am not in the army. That's how our soldiers found the traitor already dead, the traitor who made signals from the church tower, so that the shells fell on the ruins. As for the wounded in the horspital I can asshure you that they were better off than me and you, and that they had guns between their leggs under the sheets. He who tells lies goes to hell and you will certainly go there, but just now I'd like to send you there myself who don't give a hang for you.



I can't describe to you what took place after the letter had been read.

They gave the poor youngster such a feast that they had to put him to bed in a hammock. Before Private Mollica went to sleep he kept repeating: "I have promised to take your letter to Franz Joseph.... You see if I don't send it through all the ranks till it reaches his own hands. On Mollica's honor!... I have promised to take your letter to Franz Joseph!"


How Pinocchio Learned That War Changes Everything—Even the Meaning of Words


The bersaglieri had passed the Isonzo and were intrenched at —— (censor). You certainly know now what the Isonzo is, because war teaches geography better than do teachers in the schools; so I don't intend to explain it to you. Pinocchio had followed his friends, and I assure you no one regretted his coming. When there were orders to carry to the rear or purchases to be made, it was Pinocchio who attended to them. Slender as a lizard and quick as a squirrel, he was out of the trenches without being seen and slipped along the furrows and ditches and the bushes with marvelous dexterity. He had been absolutely forbidden to approach the loopholes, and when they caught him about to disobey he got such boxes on the ears that he had to rub 63 them for half an hour afterward. Mollica, and the Bersaglierino in particular, kept their eyes on him, so that they punished him often.


"I'd like to know why it is you two can stand with your noses against the hole and I mayn't."

"Because of the mosquitoes."

"Who cares for them? I haven't the slightest fear of mosquitoes."

But when he saw them carry off a poor soldier hit in the middle of the forehead and understood that the "mosquitoes" were Austrian bullets, he gained a little wisdom. While the soldiers were suffering from the trench life which restrained their ardent natures, keeping them still and watchful, the rogue of a Pinocchio amused himself with all kinds of jokes. Dirty as he could be, he was always grubbing with his nails in the ground to deepen the trench, to make some new breastwork, to build up an escarp. If they sent him out to find logs of wood to repair the roofs of the dugouts he would come back laden with all sorts of things. Hens and eggs were his favorite booty. One day he managed to capture a pig and to drag it along behind him. But when 64 they got near the trenches the cussed animal began to squeal so horribly that the Austrians opened up a terrific fire on him. For fear of the "mosquitoes" Pinocchio had to let him go, and the pig ran to take refuge among his brothers, the enemy.

That evening it rained cats and dogs. The trench was one slimy pool. The rain dripped everywhere, penetrating, baring the parapets which collapsed, squirting mud and gluing the feet of the soldiers, who, wet to the bone, had to scurry through the wire to carry ammunition to safety and to repair the damage done to the trench. Pinocchio, barelegged, ran back and forth, bemired up to his hair, to give a helping hand to his friends.

"What fun! We seem to be turning into crabs."

"You are a beastly little puppy!"

"Poor Mollica! You really make me sorry for you."

"I make you sorry for me?"

"Certainly. I shouldn't want to be you in all this downpour."


"Because this rain will melt your sugary nature." 65

Mollica, to convince him of the contrary, started to administer one of his usual boxes on the ear, but he slipped and fell, face down, into the mud.

A Downpour

"Are you comfortable, Private Mollica? Tell me were you ever in a softer bed than now?... You look to me like a roll dipped in chocolate.... Bersaglierino, 66 come and see how ugly he is! All chalky up into his hair.... I never saw any one look such an idiot!"

Private Mollica

"I wish they would murder you, you beastly little puppy!"

After struggling about in the mud he managed to get to his feet again and had almost caught him, but in one spring Pinocchio was far away. The telephone dugout was a little deeper than the trench and the 67 water was rapidly filling it up. It was already up to the operator's knees. A crowd of soldiers were working hard to stop the flood.

"What are you doing, stupids? Do you think you can bail out this puddle with a cap? You are green. We ought to have big Bertha...."

He didn't get in another word. They took hold of him by his arms and legs and soused him into the dirty water and held him under till he had drunk a cupful. The telephone operator would have liked to see him dead, then and there.

"Hold him under till he is as swollen as a toad. He was calling down misfortune on us, wishing that a shell would fall on us. As if this rain weren't enough (che-chew, che-chew!); we are chilled to the marrow (che-chew!) and are likely to die bravely of cold ... (che-chew!)."

"Enough! Let me go! Help! Bersaglierino! Mollica-a-a!"

"What are you doing to him? Let him go. Shame on you!" yelled Bersaglierino, running up.

"But don't you know that he was wishing a shell would hit us, the little wretch?" 68

"Just as if we hadn't enough troubles now."

"Of course you have enough, and one of your troubles is that you are regular beasts," cried Pinocchio as soon as he could get his breath. "I said I wished for Bertha, the cook in Papa Geppetto's house, to sweep away the water in here, but now I wish I had a broom in my hand to break its handle against your ribs."

"But don't you know that a 'Big Bertha' is a Boche gun that would have blown us into a thousand pieces?"

"So, little devil, do you understand? And now that you have learned your lesson, be off with you."

There was nothing else for poor Pinocchio to do but to spit out the mud still in his mouth and turn on his heel.

"Bersaglierino, I would have believed anything but that words change their meaning in this way. With these idiots you have to pay attention to what you say. They made me swallow so much ditch-water that it will be a miracle if I don't have little fish swimming around in my stomach."

It stopped raining, but as if the Austrians 69 didn't want to give the bersaglieri time to repair the damages caused by the bad weather, they began a furious bombardment of the trench. The "mosquitoes" kept up a terrible singing. Huge projectiles churned up the ground all around, digging out deep holes, raising whirls of earth, throwing off shreds of stone and steel in every direction. One shell had fallen near the telephone and had done great damage. The soldiers couldn't venture any distance from the dugout to aim at the enemy who was firing at them with such accuracy. Mud prevented their movements. They couldn't change their positions because the slippery earth offered no foothold. It was impossible to excavate deep because the earth slid down. It was a critical moment. Several men had been killed, the wounded were moaning bitterly, the dying were groaning.... But the Italian bersaglieri did not lose courage and stood up against the foe, showing a genuine disregard for their lives. Pinocchio longed to cry. He wasn't thinking of the danger to himself, but of the fact that if this devilish fire kept up much longer all his bersaglieri would be killed. Wasn't there anybody to 70 look out for them? What was our artillery doing? Did they really intend to let them all be massacred?

He had scarcely thought this when he heard behind him the thunder of Italian guns. A quarter of an hour later and the Austrians were quite quiet. But the situation hadn't improved. Orders had come from the second line to hold out at all costs because it wouldn't be possible to relieve them until the next evening. An attack in force was expected every minute.

The captain assembled his company and said: "Men, we must stick and be ready for anything. We can't have reinforcements, but to-night they will send us chevaux de frise and barbed wire. But I don't want to be caught like a bird in a net. We have plenty of 'jelly.' If two would volunteer to carry a couple of pounds of it under the entanglements of those gentlemen over yonder we might be able to change our lodgings. They have a fine trench of reinforced concrete with rooms and good beds and bathroom. We'd be better off there than in this mud. What do you say, boys? Is there any one who ..."

They didn't even let him finish. All 71 stepped forward, and, if I am to tell you the truth, Pinocchio, too, but no one noticed him. Mollica and the Bersaglierino were chosen.

It grew dark. Some of them, completely worn out, dozed leaning up against the side of the trench. The Bersaglierino was writing rapidly a letter in pencil. Mollica had pulled out of his knapsack the old newspapers his father had sent him and seemed about to take up his old studies of fingerprints. There were tears in his eyes.

"Heh! Mollica, you look as if you weren't pleased with the duty the captain has given you."


"But you ought to let me go."

"You? But how do you suppose they would let a boy like you carry jelly?"

"Do you think I would eat it all up? I won't say that I mightn't taste it, especially if it is that golden-yellow kind that shivers like a paralytic old man, but I would carry out the order like any one else.... Only, I can't understand how for a little bit of jelly those scoundrels will give up their comfortable trench. It's true that they eat all sorts of miserable kinds of food 72 and that Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage, but ..."

"Shut up, you chatterbox! You'll see what will happen. I'll explain to you that 'jelly' in war-time is what we call a mixture of stuff that when put in a pipe under the wire entanglements and set off by a fuse will blow you up sky-high in a thousand pieces, if you don't take to your heels in time."

"And you ... want to go and be blown up?"

"No. I hope to come back safe and sound, and I have still to send your letter to Franz Joey."

Pinocchio was silent and hid himself in a corner without another word. I can't tell you exactly if he had some sad presentiment or if his disillusion resulting from Mollica's technical explanation of "jelly" had put him in a bad humor. There was no doubt about it—war had changed the dictionary. He was still more certain of this when, an hour later, he saw the "Frisian horses" arrive. He was expecting beasts with at least four legs, and instead he saw them drag in front of the trenches a huge roll of iron wound up in an enormous skein of barbed wire. But there was still a 73 greater surprise in store for him. That very night he was to find out that in war-time not only the value of words changes, but that there are some which are canceled from certain persons' vocabulary.

It was night ... and there was nothing to be seen and you couldn't even hear the traditional fly. From the Austrian trench there came a dull regular noise. It seemed as if a lot of pigs were squealing. Instead, it was the Croats who were snoring. No one slept in the Italian trenches. There was a strange coming and going, a fantastic flittering of shadows. There was low talking, commands were passed from mouth to mouth and whispered in the ear—every one was making preparations. Mollica and the Bersaglierino had put steel helmets on their heads and had shields of the same metal on their arms.

"But what are you going to do? You look like the statue of Perseus in the costume of a soldier."

"I would almost rather be in his place and with no more clothes than he has on instead of in this get-up ... but what's there to be done about it? I promised you to take the letter to Franz Joey." 74

A little later Mollica and Bersaglierino left the trench and wriggled along the ground like serpents, carrying with them big metal boxes. The bersaglieri took their places behind the loopholes, their muskets in position, and stood there motionless, anxious, and restless. Pinocchio, too, wanted to see what was happening, and, taking advantage of his guardians' carelessness, slipped out of the trench and squatted down in a big hole which an enemy projectile had hollowed out twenty yards away.

The poor youngster was very sad. The black night, the silence everywhere, the preparations he had watched and could not understand, were the causes of his melancholy.

"But how under the sun did it ever enter Bersaglierino's head to offer himself for this expedition?" he thought. "He might have let some one else go. Not so bad for Mollica. He'll eat up the Austrians like waffles. If any one dares to play a trick on him he'll land him a few good blows and put him where he belongs, but Bersaglierino ... so little and so frail.... If any misfortune happens to him ..."

Some time went by, I can't say how long, 75 but it was quite a little while, because Pinocchio had almost fallen asleep, when the air was shaken by two tremendous explosions. He woke with a start, saw two red flashes shining for an instant on a shower of fragments thrown up to a great height ... then blackness and the fiendish rattling of the machine-guns and crackle of musket fire. Suddenly a long white shaft of light broke the darkness, coming from no one knew where, waving to the right and to the left, and fixing itself on the ground between the two trenches, which were immediately showered by shells.

"And Bersaglierino? And Mollica?" Pinocchio asked himself, anxiously, feeling his throat tighten up.

Suddenly a black shadow was outlined in the gleam of a searchlight that was operated from a distance. It crawled along the ground, moving by starts. They had seen it, too, from the trenches and there were confused cries of, "Come on!" ... "Bravo!" ... "A few more steps!" ... "Stick to it!"

And the figure seemed to gain new strength and to bound like a wild beast. But who was it? Surely the Bersaglierino. 76 The form was small, slender, and very quick. Mollica was large and slow. What had become of him? Between the roar of the explosions and the whistle of the shells there came a shrill cry of anguish. The little shadow slid along, then a leap in the silvery ray, and it was lost in the blackness of the earth torn by the rain of steel.

"Oh, beasts that they are! They have murdered him!" Pinocchio screamed. "Enough! Enough! Wretches! Don't you see that he has ceased to move? Stop shooting.... Give him time to recover.... Perhaps he is wounded."

It seemed that the Austrian fire grew even more murderous.

Pinocchio, beside himself with fury, rushed out of his hiding-place and in a couple of bounds was back in the trench.

"They have wounded Bersaglierino.... He is there ... out there in the No Man's Land.... Help him ... don't let him die so."

They sprang over the top to rescue their wounded comrades, but had scarcely gone a step before they were lost to him.

Pinocchio lost his head. He sprang out of the dugout and ran as fast as he could 77 into the spot still illuminated by the ray of silver. He stumbled, fell, got up again, fell once more, but kept on crawling on his hands and knees.... He heard a groan, felt a body, lifted it in his arms, and, gathering all his strength together, began to drag it toward the trench. All at once he felt his legs give way and he let out a yell of terror. He was answered by another from a hundred valiant throats; he saw a strange flash, felt a hurricane strike him, a wave roll over him ... but before losing his senses there came to him the cry of victory. The Italian bersaglieri had bayoneted those who had wounded Bersaglierino and had won from the enemy one more portion of their country.

A little later the stretcher-bearers were able to gather up the wounded from the field of honor.


In Which Pinocchio Discovers That Sometimes When You Want to Advance You Have to Take a Step Backward


For a long while Pinocchio didn't know whether he was alive or dead. Then after a time he seemed to be dreaming, but the dreams were so queer that ... just imagine, he thought he was a puppet again, asleep on a chair with his feet resting on a brazier full of lighted charcoal, that one of his feet was on fire and that the flame, little by little, was creeping up his leg. And, just as once before when something similar had happened, the dream became a painful reality. However, there was another dream that comforted him. A lovely woman's smiling face would come close to him and he would hear soft, affectionate words. It was the queerest thing possible! It seemed to him that this face was set in 79 a lovely frame of light-blue hair which came down like a veil, like a cape enfolding the graceful form of a young girl. Some one had told him that her name was Fatina, and he kept repeating the name, as once ... when he was still a little puppet and the girl with blue hair ... But what had happened to him?

One morning he opened his eyes and discovered that he was in a little white bed in a white room, and that to right and left of him in two other beds were two wounded men all enveloped in bandages.


"Bersaglierino! Bersaglierino!" cried Pinocchio, trying to raise himself up in bed. But a horrid pain made him fall back on the pillow and forced him to scream loudly. The door of the little room opened and a Red Cross nurse in her blue uniform entered swiftly. 80

"Oh! At last! But be good and don't try to move! The Bersaglierino is here on your right; he is better, but you must let him be quiet, and you, too, need to rest."

"Tell me, Fatina, is the Bersaglierino really alive?"

"Don't you see him? Here he is. When he wakes up you can say a few words to him. Yesterday he was so eager to know about you, but you couldn't speak to him."

"Listen, Fatina, and I ... am I really alive?"

"It seems so to me."

"But am I ... made of wood or ..."

"You are made of iron."

"Of iron? Don't joke so with me, Fatina. If you want my nose to grow longer, dearest lady, or if you want me to turn back into a wooden puppet, I am ready to do so; but not of iron, no. I am too afraid of rust."

"But what are you talking about? Let me feel your pulse. No, that's all right, no fever. I said you were made of iron because you have come out of it all so wonderfully. You were threatened with gas gangrene, and if they had not amputated at once, it would have been the end of you, but instead ..." 81

"Please, please ... what did they do to me?"

"They cut off your injured leg."

"My leg!"

"Yes, indeed; they couldn't help it."

"And when did they cut it off?"

"Three days ago."

"You are perfectly certain of this?"

"I was present."

"And I ... wasn't I present?"

"I think so."

"And how is it I didn't know anything about it?"

"You were asleep."

"I think it was you who were dreaming. Look."

Before Fatina could stop him Pinocchio caught the covers and threw them off. One leg was indeed missing and just the one which he had dreamed had been burned by the brazier. He saw a heap of bloody bandages and let out such a scream that he made the other two wounded start up.

The one on the left, who looked like a monk in a hood, because from under the bands which bound his head a long shaggy beard was sticking out, cried in annoyance:

"Heh! What is it, a locomotive? You 82 are making as much noise as an enemy's cannon."

"Be quiet, be quiet!"

"Bersaglierino, have you seen what they did to me? They've carried off one of my legs without asking my permission."

"And they took off one of my arms, and they've made a hole in my head and cut open my stomach."

"But what kind of dirty tricks are these? I want my leg.... I want my leg!"

"If it were still on you it would be all swollen and black. Be silent, shut up, and thank God that they haven't taken the other one. Because Major Cutemup is here, and when he begins to amputate it is hard to get him to stop. Imagine, they wanted to cut off my nose."

"I want my leg!"

"Be good."

"Fatina, I beg you, make them make me another one. Write to Geppetto to make me another one, even of wood, but I want to be able to walk and run. I want to go back to the war, I do!"

The patient on the left jumped out of his bed and, in giving him a kiss, brushed his face with his bushy beard. 83

"There, you are a brave boy. You please me.... We will have another leg made for you, and if you want to go back to see the Boches you can come with me. Sister Fatina, is it not true that they're going to make him a new leg?"


"Of wood?"

"And with machinery inside so that you can move it as if it were a real leg."

The Surgeon

"Then ..."

"Will you be good?"

"Yes ... but as soon as I catch sight of Major Cutemup I'll tell him a few things I think of him."

"How are you, Bersaglierino?"

"Better, Fatina dear."

"Be brave."

Then she moved softly away, as noiseless as a dream.

"Did you see, Pinocchio? Fatina kept 84 her word. She had scarcely heard that I was wounded before she hurried to my bed. She is an angel and I am quite happy. But I owe it to you that I am alive. I had four bullets in my back.... Those dogs had got the range on me, and if you hadn't come to my aid they would have finished me.... And you weren't lucky, either—they shot your leg to pieces, and if the company hadn't appeared ... But we won! Hurrah for Italy!"

"And Mollica?"

"Dead. They found him near the wire, surrounded by a heap of dead enemies. He made a regular slaughter. He had your letter to Franz Joseph stuck on the end of his bayonet. Every time that he hit a foe he cried, 'Beast of a potato-eater, take this letter and carry it to your Joey.'"

"Poor Mollica! If I am able to get back there I'll avenge you."

"I told you I wanted you with me. You will see what we'll do to those creatures. I am Captain Teschisso, of the Second Regiment of Alpine Troops. What fights we have had! How we have 'strafed' them! A shell splinter gave me a whack and carried off one of my ears, but if you 85 join me we'll have dozens of them every day."

"Will I go with you? Yes, indeed, if the Bersaglierino ..."

"As far as I am concerned, do what you've a mind to. I shall never return to the regiment now.... You can't make war without an arm, but ..."

Just at this moment the door of the little white room opened and Major Cutemup, followed by two young lieutenants, Fatina, and some men nurses, came in. He was a short, squatty little man, with smooth face and tiny eyes hidden behind gold-rimmed glasses, and with a stomach that would have made an alderman jealous. He looked more like a cab-driver than like an officer, and even more like a butcher who has risen to be master of a shop by selling old beef for veal.

"Good morning, boys. You are getting on finely, eh? When I take hold of you you either die or are better off than you were before anything happened to you. Let's look at you, Bersaglierino. The arm's doing well ... the wound in your head will be healed in ten days or so. Thank God that I saved your eye. It was a risk 86 ... we ought to have taken it out if we had followed the usual method.... No, no, I find you in good condition, so good, in fact, that I can tell you a piece of news ... they have recommended you for the silver medal. I believe his Majesty will come in person to pin it on your breast. It would be a real honor for our hospital.

"And you, lad? But really I don't need to bother about you, either. Boys are like lizards—you can cut them in pieces and they keep on living."

"Please, please, Mr. Major Carve-Beefsteak, I should like to know who gave you permission to cut off my leg."

"What? What? You dare ..."

"There's no good lecturing me, because I am not in the army, as poor Mollica used to say, so you don't frighten me worth a soldo. So I am just asking you who gave you permission to ... carry off my claw."

"Your claw? The femur was broken, the tibia cracked, the patella shattered, your temperature up over a hundred, delirium, threatened with gas gangrene.... I couldn't wait until you had gone to the devil before asking your permission to amputate. And, moreover, no more words 87 about it. I cut when it's my duty to cut. If, in spite of the operation, the gangrene had continued I should have amputated your other leg as well. So let's look at it. Nurse, undo the bandages."

In a minute the bloody flesh was uncovered. Pinocchio bit his lips in order to keep from yelling with pain. Cutemup approached in a solemn manner, and, nearsighted as he was, had almost to stick his nose into the wound to make his examination.

"Fine.... The healing process has already begun ... the granulation is splendid, but have you any pain in the groin, boy?"

"How in the world do you expect me to know what that is?"

"Does it hurt you here?"


"Have you any pain in the sound leg?"


"Can you move it?"


"Bend it at the knee."

"I am doing it."

"Again, again, again. Does it pain you?"

"No." 88

"Fine!... Now stretch it out."

He should never have said that. Pinocchio stretched it out with such agility that there was no difference from the way he usually administered his solemnest kicks. His foot caught Cutemup right in the stomach and knocked him breathless into the arms of the young lieutenant, who had to resort to artificial respiration to revive him.

The Alpine soldier broke out into such an astonishing laugh from beneath his bandages and his beard that the others, Fatina included, had to echo him. Pinocchio played 'possum, perfectly still with his eyes half closed. When Cutemup, quite recovered, sprang toward him to give vent to his just vengeance, he seemed much surprised to see him in such a state. He examined him attentively, and, keeping himself a respectful distance away, poked with his forefinger two or three times the leg which had given him such marvelous proof of vitality and energy, then, turning to his colleagues, he began to speak in an imposing manner:

"The accident which befell me was the result of the nervous depression of the patient. The reflex motions have superiority 89 over the will centers. The muscles slacken at the lightest pressure, like a cord of a strung bow. The vitality shown by the patient is due to a nervous over-excitation, not noticeable until now. I shall keep the patient under observation. If you come across similar cases, take notes of them that I may include them in my article. I shall order extra nutrition and care in building up the patient as soon as the wound has healed completely. Sister Fatina, note for the boy special rations of filet of beefsteak, roast chicken, eggs, custards well-sweetened, at dinner and again at supper."


At this bill of fare Pinocchio's leg by some strange phenomenon began to bend again from the knee.

The major, thoroughly absorbed in his lesson, did not notice it: "So, then, that is understood. You, Captain Teschisso, are doing splendidly; in a few days we'll take the bandage off you. Gentlemen, let us go into the next room."

They had scarcely gone out and the door was scarcely closed before Pinocchio burst out into such a hearty laugh that the captain and Bersaglierino had to laugh, too.

"You don't seem too much depressed." 90

"What were you doing with that leg in the air?"

Special Nourishment

"Do you know, Captain, as my first kick had gained special nourishment for me, I wanted to give him another one so that I could get a double quantity; then there would have been something for all of you."

"Thank you, you shaved poodle."

Just then Fatina returned and was surprised to see Pinocchio laughing so hard that his tongue was hanging out with happiness.

"What's this?"

"Fatina, my compliments. Did you hear what the major ordered? Filet of beefsteak, chickens, custards with heaps of sugar, at dinner and again at supper." 91

"You wretch!"

"I am not a wretch; I am a poor, weak invalid and no one had better feel the muscles in my legs too much who doesn't want to get kicks in the stomach."

"You little beast! Suppose I go and tell the major that ..."

"No, for Heaven's sake! Dear Fatina, keep quiet."

"On one condition."

"Let's hear it."

"That you will be good, that you will be patient and let yourself be taken care of until it is time to fit your wooden leg."

"I promise you. You know, once I was made of wood all over. In order to get ahead I can even make up my mind to take a step backward."


Wherein We See Pinocchio's Heart


All three of them were now up again. It was to be for them a day of great gladness. Yet all three were in a bad humor. They didn't even talk. Captain Teschisso, dressed in a brand-new uniform, couldn't tear himself away from the mirror, which he addressed in a low voice:

"Just see what they have made of me. I can't go on this way.... I am not presentable. Without an ear, with a slash on the cheek, half my beard gone ... I look like a wild animal to be shown at a circus. Lord! How many kicks I'd like to give those dogs! They've botched me so I'm no longer fit for this world.... It's against the regulations, but before I die I want to devour heaps of those curs! Who allows them to make war like this? Who permits them to reduce a captain of Alpine troops 93 to such a sight? It would be better for me to die at once. I'm not good for anything, and that dog of a Cutemup might have made a better job of me. Let him show himself and I'll give him a piece of my mind."

Poor Teschisso! He was right! His ugly scar did disfigure him. Another man would have wept at seeing himself thus; he trembled with eagerness to be revenged.

Pinocchio, too, was grumbling like a stewpot, giving vent to his ill humor. They had put on him a wooden leg that was a real triumph of mechanism. It was jointed like a real one and moved with an automatic motion in harmony with his sound leg. Pinocchio had tried to run, to jump, and to balance, and had to convince himself that he had not lost anything by the exchange. But the leg had one fault—when he extended it it unbent too rapidly, hitting the heel on the ground with a noisy and annoying sound. And in addition to this the mechanism, which was still so new, rattled.

"Plague take it! My own didn't need to be oiled. Who knows how much oil this one will expect me to give it? But that I'll make Mr. Cutemup pay for. If he 94 comes up to me and repeats that I am better than I used to be I'll plant another kick in his stomach, then I'll ask how he would manage to walk if it were his, on the tip of his toes, with this heel that beats like a drumstick."

Wooden Limbs

The Bersaglierino, too, had a wooden left arm. You wouldn't even have noticed it. He could move it in any direction, and the gloved artificial hand which came out of the sleeve of his gray jacket, although a little stiff, could be moved as easily as a real hand. The wound that furrowed his forehead didn't disfigure him; indeed, it gave to his gentle features a certain air of nobility and fierceness. But the Bersaglierino 95 was sad, so sad that if you had looked into his eyes you would have been certain that he had to make a great effort not to cry. Pinocchio noticed it.

"Tell me, Bersaglierino, what was your business before the war?"

"What's that to you?"

"Oh, I just want to know."

"I was a journalist, a writer."

"Hm! Must be a horrid profession."


"Because you have to work so hard not to die of hunger."

"Who told you so?"

"Nobody. But if you had made a lot of money in your job you wouldn't have left it to volunteer, and as you get only fourteen cents a day as a volunteer at the front, as a civilian you must have been hard up all the year. Then ... you needn't make a face ... you don't write with the left hand ... so you can go back to being a journalist, even with ... the Austrian improvement."

He hoped to drive away his sadness by saying it in this way, but instead he only increased it.

"Leave me in peace, puppet!" he said, 96 roughly and with such a stern tone that Pinocchio in his turn longed to cry.

At this moment the door of the room was opened with great violence and Major Cutemup, as if hurled by a catapult, made his appearance, followed by Fatina and by a regiment of soldiers and nurses. He was red as the comb of a cock at his first crow, wheezed every now and then like a pair of bellows, and dripped sweat as a bucket just out of the well drips water.

"Sister Fatina, I rely on you ... I rely on you to see that everything is in order. Four soldiers will wash the windows ... six will scrub the floors, which must shine like a mirror, and everything must be done in ten minutes. And you, boys, put on your special uniforms.... I have great news for you. His Majesty has announced his visit to the hospital; with his own august hands he will bestow the decorations. You, Bersaglierino, who are among these fortunate ones, take care to be irreproachable in your appearance. You, Captain ..."

"What! What did he say? Do you think I can let his Majesty see me in this frightful condition? Half a beard, half a mustache, minus an ear, half a face ..." 97

"But ... I don't know what you can do about it. Fix it up the best you can."

"Certainly I'll fix it up, I'll ... Good Heavens! man, let me go to a barber who can make me look like a Christian, because you, Major Cutemup, have made me resemble one of Menelik's crew."

"But ..."

"But I swear that I won't let the dogs who got me in this condition stick their fingers on my face, I tell you."


"No, I won't let them touch me."

"Captain Teschisso, I must remind you of the respect due ..."

"What's that? Major Cutemup ... did you think I was talking of you? Not a thought of doing so. I meant those dogs of Austrians."

"A-a-a-h! Then be off to the barber's."

"Thanks. I'll have him fix me up in a minute."

"Boy, hurry up. His Majesty is coming."

Ten minutes later everything was shining like a mirror. The soldiers were already at work in the adjoining room. Pinocchio had disappeared. Teschisso had gone to be 98 shaved. Fatina was arranging the white window-curtains. The Bersaglierino was seated on his bed, his right arm resting on his knee and his chin held in the hollow of his hand.

"What's the matter? What is it, Bersaglierino?"

He didn't answer, and Fatina, after having looked at him a minute with her large, soft eyes, came up nearer and sat down beside him on the little white bed.

"Tell me what's the trouble, Bersaglierino. Why are you crying? Why don't you make yourself handsome? Didn't you hear? The King is coming to give you the medal."

"Why should I care about that? What do you think that means to me, Fatina?"

And then, since she seemed much astonished at his words, he continued, vehemently:

"Why, indeed, should I care about that?... After they have sent me away from here I shall go back to living alone like a dog ... to fighting every day for my existence. Who will get any satisfaction from the reward the King's hand has bestowed on me? No one. Perhaps the day will 99 come when I shall have to pin the medal on my coat to keep the boys in the streets from making fun of me, the poor maimed creature who will wander about playing a street-organ."

"Oh, Bersaglierino! I never imagined you could talk like that. I don't want you to talk so."

And she spoke with so much feeling that he, fearing he had offended her, started to beg her pardon:

"Fatina ..."

"Tell me, aren't you glad to have done your duty, to have given your blood for your country? Didn't you volunteer? Didn't you go willingly through the barbed wire to open a road of victory for your country? And now you are almost blaming yourself for the good you have done, for fear of the morrow. And you think yourself destined to end as a laughing-stock of horrid little children? Oh, but you are bad! Tell me, are you really so sure that you are alone in the world, that there is no one who will rejoice to see shining on your breast the medal your country has bestowed on you?"

"Ah, if it were so, Fatina, if it were true!" 100

"Do you believe that no one has followed you in thought through all your dangers on the field of honor, that no one suffered, knowing you were wounded, or trembled at the thought of your bed of pain? Do you really believe that there is no one to rejoice at seeing you take up again your place in the world? You are young, full of ardor and intelligence ..."

"But I am poor, so poor!"

"You can get rich by working. You fought the war with weapons; continue it with the pen. Write what you have seen; you will make a name for yourself and some day will be the pride of your family."

"I! Don't make fun of me, Fatina. I, wounded, maimed, will never find a woman to link her life with mine."

"Bersaglierino, I, too, am alone in the world, free to dispose of myself. I am not rich, but I have enough to live on; I am not a professor, but I am widely educated.... I will be frank; if to-morrow a brave man like you, in the same condition, should come and ask me ..."

"To be his wife?"

"I should say yes, and I should be proud. Do you understand? Proud of him and of 101 the medal shining on his breast, which would seem like my own...."

"Oh! Fatina, Fatina!"

He could say no more. Tears choked him. But she looked at him tenderly with her kind eyes, and in them, too two large tears were shining.

Pinocchio could not stand any more of this. For half an hour he had been hidden under the bed, had therefore listened to this noble dialogue, and had had to bite his lips to keep from crying. But as it was not amusing he could not stand it any longer. He crawled very quietly from his hiding-place, approached Fatina and Bersaglierino cautiously and without their seeing him or being able to put up any resistance, he gathered the two heads in his arms, brought them close together, and held them close, covering them both with kisses.

Pinocchio's generous and lovable impulse had found the way to unite these two beings whom destiny had brought together. The picture they made was interesting and touching and would have touched every one who knew them, if at this moment Captain Teschisso had not entered, quite made over by the barber. 102

"What ... what are you doing? Aren't you preparing for the august visit?"

"Augusta? Who's she?"

"What? Don't you know that the King, the commander-in-chief of our army, the first soldier of New Italy, the head of the state, the corporal of the Zouaves, like his grandfather before him, the flower of gentlemen, a good father of his family, one of the wisest sovereigns of Europe...? In short, you'll see him soon. Hurry up, because when I came in the royal automobile had been sighted.... Don't you think that dog of a barber fixed me up fine? Anyway, he was able to get rid of the half of my beard which the Germans shaved with a shell."

The King? This short word frightened Pinocchio terribly. This man who commanded everybody, who could put everybody in prison, who was named Majesty, August, and Victor Emanuel all at the same time, who caused the rooms to be polished in five minutes, who set Cutemup to trembling, who kept all the wounded in the hospital in order, all of them men of valor who had held their own against hundreds of the foe—frightened him like a hobgoblin or 103 something similar. At the very thought of having his glance fall upon him he felt goose-flesh all over his body.

"It isn't fear; it is lack of courage or something of that sort, but I must get out of the way. I have never had anything to do with kings and I don't know much about the way they think. If Augusta, or his Majesty, is in a bad humor and should find my presence among the soldiers out of order, he can bat his eye at Cutemup, make him a sign, and ... whack! ... my head would roll on the ground. Wouldn't that murderer of a surgeon be glad to be revenged for the kick I gave him in the stomach? Yes, I must find some way ..."

His musings were interrupted by three bugle notes which brought every one to attention.

"There he is! There he is!"

Then resounded enthusiastic hurrahs for the King.

Pinocchio disappeared under Bersaglierino's bed ... popped up again, disguised himself, and no one noticed that ...

Captain Teschisso and the Bersaglierino stood at attention at the foot of their beds, straight and immovable, awaiting the royal 104 visit. The King in his soldier way entered without ceremony, followed by his aide-de-camp, General Win-the-War, Major Cutemup, and a number of other officers of the garrison, Red Cross nurses, and other wounded who had come from their rooms to take part in the ceremony. It didn't seem possible that the room could hold so many persons, but all of them crowded in, squeezing together in order to see the King and to be near to him. And his face, which was wrinkled, was illuminated by a kindly smile that spread out from his thick mustache grown prematurely white. He gave Teschisso a military salute, then shook his hand vigorously and said:

"I am so pleased to see you recovered. I am sure that when you go back to your regiment I shall hear more of you. You Alpine troopers are all of you wonderful soldiers."

"For Italy and for our King, your Majesty."

"For our Italy greater than ever."

"She shall be, if we have to shed all our blood."

"Such is my belief."

Major Cutemup had suddenly turned 105 crimson with rage, and approached Fatina, his large, angry eyes scowling at her from behind his eyeglasses.

"Why have you treated me so?" he asked, in a low, furious voice.


"Yes. I told you to put everything in order."


"Look at that mess!" and he nodded toward a kind of clothes-hanger near the head of Bersaglierino's bed, on which were hung a hat with cock plumes, a coat, with a pair of trousers all torn and ragged and dirty. It was the uniform the brave young soldier had worn on the field and which Fatina had hidden under the bed a little while ago.

Fatina didn't know what to say. The sudden appearance of this clothes-hanger, ... those clothes spread out, affected her so that she had no thought of the major or of his rage, which escaped in such violent outbursts that they would have started a windmill going.

The King had approached Bersaglierino, and General Win-the-War presented him, with these words:

"Your Majesty, this brave soldier has 106 been proposed for the medal of valor for the following reasons: enrolled as a volunteer, he took part in the first battles with the enemy, giving an example of courage and discipline; he volunteered to blow up the enemy wire defenses; he carried out the assignment given him, and, unhurt himself, he tried to free a comrade caught on the barbed wire and managed to put to flight an enemy patrol which attacked him. Then he was hit several times by machine-gun fire. Carried to the first-aid station, he showed the greatest self-control and cheered for his King and his country when he learned that his efforts had enabled his company to take an important trench from the enemy."

The King took from the hand of his adjutant a silver medal hung from a light-blue ribbon and pinned it on Bersaglierino's breast, who was so pale with emotion that he looked as if he would faint, then clasped the soldier's right hand in both of his and said:

"Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! You have done your duty as an Italian soldier. Treasure this medal which your country gives you by the hand of your King. Wear it always proudly on your breast. Every one 107 should know that you deserve it and that they should follow your example.... You are crying? But it is with happiness, is it not?"

"Yes, your Majesty."

"And now that you have recovered, what will you do?"

"I shall go back to my profession. I am a journalist."

"And ... will you be able?"

"I hope so. I was very severely wounded, but ..."

"You cured him, Major Cutemup?"

"I myself, your Majesty; he was one of the worst cases. The left arm carried away by a shell splinter, wounded on the temple, and threatened with damage to his eye, wounded in his third upper rib and another wound in the groin with lesion in the intestines. An abdominal operation was performed, his arm was amputated and there was a suture in the occipital region.... The poor fellow has certainly had his share."

"You can see that by looking at his glorious uniform; it is indeed a document."

The uniform in question trembled and the plumed hat shook.

"Yes ... truly ... but ..." 108

"Would you deny it?"

"No, your Majesty, I wanted to say that that uniform shouldn't be there just now. It is a glorious object, but in a hospital ward it may have infectious germs.... I had given orders to ... but ... and if your Majesty will permit, I will give orders to remove it at once."

He had scarcely finished speaking when the coat, trousers, and hat suddenly fell to the ground with such a curious noise that Cutemup could not help running up to see what had happened. Imagine how he looked when he found himself face to face with Pinocchio, cold with terror. He tried to hide him with the glorious garments in order to carry him off, bundled up in them, but the King turned and asked:

"What's happened?"

"Your Majesty, I don't know how to explain it.... Under these clothes was hidden a wretch who ..."

"Ah! I saw. I know him. Pinocchio is one of my old and dear acquaintances. I am glad to see him among my soldiers, in semi-military garb. Leave to Bersaglierino this uniform that is dear to him. It will be a glorious souvenir for his family. 109 Good-by, brave soldier; remember your King. I called to you in the hour of need; if to-morrow you have need of me, remember that I shall never forget those who have served me on the battle-field."

And the good King, the loving father, the model soldier, turned to leave, followed by his suite.

Before he had crossed the threshold Pinocchio had sprung to his feet, flung him two kisses with the tips of his fingers, and began to dance like mad with happiness. His wooden leg made a horrible noise. Fatina, fearing Cutemup's anger, begged him to behave.

"What? What? If Cutemup scolds me, woe to him. Did you hear? The King is an old acquaintance of mine. If he gets offended with me, I'll take out my paper and pen and inkstand and I will write: 'Dear King, you are the best and kindest man in the world, but do me the favor to cut off the head, or some other organ, from the major who amputated my leg without permission. In this world an eye for an eye, a head for a leg. Many kisses from your Pinocchio.'"


How Pinocchio Came Face to Face with Our Alpine Troops


If you had come across him unexpectedly in his new costume I assure you you would not have recognized him. On his head was a woolen helmet from which emerged only his eyes and the point of his nose; on his back was a short coat of goatskin which swelled him out like a German stuffed with beer and sausage; his legs were lost in a pair of big boots with lots of nails. Around his waist was a huge belt of leather from which hung a number of small rope ends, and in his hand he carried a splendid stick with an iron point. Captain Teschisso was a gentleman and wanted his new orderly to be magnificently equipped. That odd creature of a mountaineer amused himself thoroughly with the rascal Pinocchio. It didn't seem real to see him struggling 111 to conquer the mountain peaks and ready to fight those dogs of Austrians who were up there and with whom he had so many accounts to settle. They had arrived one morning at Fort —— (censor). Teschisso had been greeted like one raised from the dead. Finally the soldiers had thrown their arms about his neck and kissed and hugged him. They all seemed like one family, and for a fact they did all resemble one another a little: tall, with extraordinary beards, with muscular legs straight as a column and hands that seemed made to give vigorous blows.

Coat of Goatskin

"Where is my company?"

"On —— [oh, that censor!], at nine thousand feet altitude."

"All well?"

"'Most all."

"And the Boches, where are they?" 112

"Bah! We've got them on the run."

"Send my things up to me with the first supply division; I'm off now at once."

"Nine feet of snow and a biting wind."

"Heavens! If I were sure of finding that dog who cut my beard I would go to hell itself."

"I am thinking less of you than of your little orderly."

"Ha! That youngster has a wooden leg and is as hardy as a goat."

Pinocchio, to show off, whirled his leg around and with a shy glance convinced himself that in a wink of the eye he had won the respect of the little garrison.

"Listen, Captain, if you give me something to eat I'll go ahead; if you don't, here's where I stay."


"How indeed! Did you understand that I am hungry?"

"And I have nothing more to give you to eat."

"And I stop here."

"You'll get caught in a blizzard and buried in snow and will be frozen hard like Neapolitan ice-cream." 113

"But ... I'm hungry."

"You have eaten two rations of bread, a box of conserved beef, nearly half a pound of chocolate ..."

"Is it my fault if the air of these mountains makes me as hungry as a wolf? You should have told me before we left. Now I know why you are always saying that you would like to eat so many Austrians. But if you think I can get used to the same diet you are much mistaken."

"Are you coming or aren't you?"

"Is it much farther?"

"Do you see that cloud up there?"

"I defy any one not to see it."

"When that is passed there is a crack in the mountain called Spaccata; we must cross that and we are there—at least if they haven't gone on ahead."

"In the clouds? Really in the clouds?"


"Listen, Captain, do I really seem to you as much of a fool as that?"

"Just now, yes."

"Thanks, but you can go in the clouds by yourself; I'll turn back and bid you farewell."

He tried to make one of his usual pirouettes 114 to turn around, but the snow slipped under his feet and he fell, sitting down, and, sliding on the white surface, was precipitated down the slope of the mountain with terrifying speed.


"Help! Help!"

"Stick your staff in! Stick your staff in!" yelled Teschisso, who already believed him lost. 115

He had need to yell. Pinocchio was flying along like a little steamer under forced draught and couldn't hear anything, I assure you. Suddenly he stopped as if he were nailed to the snow. That was to be expected, you say, with that air of superior beings you assume every now and then. I know—but I can tell you Pinocchio didn't expect it, nor even Teschisso, who was leaping down to help his little friend.

"Are you hurt?"


"Do you feel ill?"

"No, not exactly ill, but I suffered terribly from—lack of courage."

"Why don't you get up?"

"I'm afraid of sliding off again."

"Let me help you."

Captain Teschisso took hold of the rope Pinocchio had tied around his waist and pulled one end of it through his leather belt, fastened the other end round his body, and, after planting his feet firmly, said: "Take hold of the rope and pull yourself up. You are quite safe; the mountain will crumble before I fall."

Pinocchio did his best to get on his feet, but couldn't succeed. His hinder parts adhered 116 to the crust of the snow as if some magician had glued them firmly. Teschisso, who had little patience and thought that Pinocchio was feigning in order not to have to climb the mountain, gave such a vigorous pull on the rope tied to the boy's belt that he jerked him up, swung him through the air for several feet, and flung him face downward on a heap of snow as downy as a feather-bed. A piece of gray cloth left behind showed the spot where Pinocchio had been miraculously halted in his precipitous descent. Teschisso glanced at it and couldn't keep back one of his loud, honest mountain laughs. Pinocchio, believing he was being swung around for fun, sprang to his feet, so furious that the captain's hilarity grew even stronger and louder.

"Heavens! And you can thank Heaven that you are still in the land of the living. Look there and feel the back of your trousers. Hah, hah, hah! Don't you understand yet what has happened to you? You were caught in a wolf-trap which the Austrians put there to catch some of us, and instead you were the one, which isn't the same thing at all." 117


Notwithstanding the laughter of the captain, Pinocchio's anger evaporated in a second. His eyes were fixed on the scraps of his trousers that still hung on the teeth of the trap and his hands were rubbing the frozen surface left uncovered. He longed to cry, and felt so ridiculous that he was almost on the point of flinging himself again down the snowy slope.

"Come on, come on! There's no time to lose. There is a long road to go and the clouds are hanging lower. There's no sense in your staying there like a macaw, weeping for the seat of your breeches. When we arrive up there I'll have the company's tailor mend them for you. You've got to march, and no more nonsense. Forward, march!"

"Captain, it's impossible."

"Heavens alive! How impossible?"

"I am not presentable."


"If we find the enemy and the Austrians see me with my trousers in such a state, they will say that the Italian army ..."

"Fool! The Italian army never turns its rear to the enemy, and you won't, either." 118

"But ..."

"If you are afraid of taking cold in your spine that's another matter. If that's the case let's see what can be done."

Captain Teschisso turned Pinocchio over, took a copy of a newspaper out of his pocket, folded it over four times, and stuck it into the hole of the trousers. And he did it so well that the "Latest News" with the headlines seemed to be framed in the ragged edges of the cloth.

"There you are. Are you satisfied?"

To tell the truth, he would have preferred to consider a little before answering, but the captain didn't give him the time. He started off with a quick stride, pulling the rope after him which he had fastened to his belt, as if bringing a calf to the butcher.

I do not know if you, my children, have ever been up in the high mountains. You must know that after you reach a certain altitude, whether because the air becomes rarefied or because of the silence that surrounds you, you seem to be living another life in another world. Your breath grows shorter; it seems as if you could not draw a long one, while the lungs are so full of 119 oxygen that the heart beats more rapidly; then fatigue is followed by a condition of strange torpor. Nevertheless, you continue to climb without effort, as if the legs moved automatically. If you speak, the voice reaches the ears faintly as if it came from a distance. Sometimes you have a certain discomfort called mountain-sickness, which makes the temples throb and brings with it such a languor that the traveler is forced to give up his ascent. Pinocchio, who for some time had been experiencing all these sensations peculiar to the high mountains, found himself suddenly hidden in a fog so thick that he couldn't see a hand's-breath before his nose.

Not seeing Teschisso any more, and not feeling his numbed legs move, and feeling himself dragged upward and upward through the darkness as if by some prodigious force, he really imagined himself to have entered a new world, and was seized by such a terror that he began to scream as if his throat were being cut. But, seeing that his voice didn't carry far and that Teschisso was not affected by it, he thought it easier to let himself be dragged along and to spare his breath for a better cause. 120

"I'd like to know where that creature is dragging me," he began to grumble in a low voice like a somnambulist in the dark to give himself courage. "I'd like to know where he is taking me. I am almost beginning to believe that I am really in the clouds, but I'd like to know what need there is to climb 'way up here to fight when there is plenty of room down below. Anyway, I don't believe that we'll find a single Austrian up here in the clouds; it's just a fancy of the captain, who must be a trifle crazy. Once I heard a country priest say that the Heavenly Father lives in the clouds to let the water down when the peasants need it to water their cabbages and turnips, and to keep the sun lighted to warm those who have no clothes. It looks to me as if He had let the Alpine troops take His place.

"Hum! Let's see how this is going to come out. All I care about is to fill my stomach when we arrive, because I am hungry and can't stand it any longer. I've been eating snow for an hour now, but I don't get any nourishment from that. I am beginning to think I was better off where I was before. If Bersaglierino hadn't been injured I'd still be with him and his 121 fine regiment. At least down there I could hear some noise ... patapin! patapum ... pum! Here there's nothing but snow and ice, not a living person to be seen. I should just like to know with whom we can fight. In any case, if the Austrians are up there it seems to me it'll be hard to get close enough to bother them.... But it's easy to see that the air up there isn't for me; I can scarcely go on, but if I slip I'd have to fall all the way, as I did this morning. If I hadn't been so frightened I should almost have enjoyed it. I went along like a trolley-car, and such speed! But I left my trousers on the way. A nice sight I'll be when I'm introduced to the company with the newspaper on ... the rear front! And, to tell the truth, it doesn't keep me very warm. I feel a little cold in my back. I don't know whether it really comes from that, but I feel it, almost—if I didn't feel so well—as if I were going to be sick."

Teschisso noticed the dead weight on the rope he was pulling and absent-mindedly quickened his pace, so terrifyingly horizontal. If the boy had fainted it wouldn't be an easy matter to carry him to safety 122 in such weather. Although he knew the rocks inch by inch, it was not easy to find the way in the whiteness of the snow nor to judge how much more of the road there still remained to cover, on account of the fog which hid the landscape. He was reproaching himself for not having listened to the advice of his comrades at the fort, who had advised him to delay his climb, when he heard a strange metallic noise which grew stronger each moment.

"No so bad. Here we are!"

He took a few steps more, then, pulling from his pocket a horn whistle, he blew several short, shrill blasts. He was answered by a dozen voices, one deep one calling:

"Who goes there?"




"I'm well. Who are you?"

"Captain Teschisso."

"Bah! Don't believe it."

"Here, you dog! I tell you it is I."

"Captain Teschisso is killed. Too bad. I saw him fall down in the valley."

"Oh, did you, Sergeant Minestron?" 123

"I'll be dogged if it isn't he; it really is he!"

From the fog emerged several Alpine figures; they came nearer, growing more distinct, and then there was a yell of delight.

"It is he in flesh and blood. Hurrah!"

"Hurrah for our captain!"

"Thank God that he is really alive."

"Lieutenant, Lieutenant, come here ... a surprise!"

"Captain, how many surprises?"

"Let me get my breath; you are suffocating me with your hugs. Where are they?"

"The Austrians?"

"Heavens! Whom do you suppose I'm talking about? I came up here for the express purpose of getting even with them!"

"They are a long distance away, Captain. We must transport our artillery up to Mount X [censor]; there we'll go for them."

"And have you got the filovia [aerial railway] in working order for that purpose?"

"Yes, indeed! They have been working on it for three days."

"And the company?"

"They are intrenched in the hut on Mount X with the battalion." 124

"It will take four good hours to get there."

"Even more, Captain."

"And how will I manage to tow along this lump of a Pinocchio who is half dead with mountain-sickness?"


"Where is he?"

"Pull the rope and take him off my back; he has tired me out."

Pinocchio, who was in a state of great weakness and curiously sleepy, felt himself lifted up and whirled around to the outburst of loud laughter. It seemed to him that something slipped down his throat which burned and made him cough and sneeze ... then he thought he was stretched out on a bed that was rather hard, but covered with warm and heavy coverings; then ... he experienced a strange feeling of comfort disturbed only by a long, monotonous, persistent humming.

If he had been able to notice what was happening to him he would either have died of fright or he would have believed himself in the very hands of God. Fastened to the gun-carriage of a six-inch cannon, suspended in the car of a filovia, he was traveling over 125 the abyss which separates two of our giant Alps. Below him was a sea of clouds, above the beautiful blue sky, all about him the gleam of white snow, and on the snow here and there a group of little gray points, like grains of sand lost in all this immensity. Those were our Alpine troops, the dear big boys who were laughing at the joke played on Pinocchio, and defying serenely all the obstacles that nature opposed to their victorious advance on Italian soil which Austria's power had for so many years disputed with us.

When Pinocchio regained his senses he found himself lying on the ground wrapped up in coverlets and warm as a bun just out of the oven. Above his head dangled horizontally the huge basket from which he had been flung by the shock of its sudden halt, and which swung on the steel cables of the filovia as if it were weary of being up there and eager to set about its job. All about was the gleam of the snow, even though the light was growing paler every moment. I bet you a soldo against a lira what hour it was. But Pinocchio guessed it from the odor of cooking which 126 sweetened the air all about, an odor which would have brought a dead dyspeptic to life. He sniffed the air like a bloodhound, rolled his eyes in every direction, in all corners, to discover the spot whence came the delicious fragrance, but couldn't see anything but snow, nothing, not even a curl of distant smoke. He was so hungry that he thought he would faint.

"I am dreaming with eyes open. How is it possible that there should be in this desert pastry covered with caramel sauce? Because I know I am not mistaken ... the odor I smell is just that. If I had only a piece of bread, by means of my nose and by means of my mouth I could fool myself into believing that I was dining magnificently, but ..."

But the odor affected him so strongly that he had to get up to limber up his muscles. He had scarcely got to his feet when a strange thing happened—from the very spot where he had been lying a puff of smoke rose gently upward, and this smoke had precisely the odor of pastry covered with caramel sauce.

Experimental Method

Pinocchio crossed his hands over his empty stomach and stood for a moment 127 pondering. Never in all his life had he had presented to him so difficult a problem as this to solve. He thought and thought, and, like Galileo, had recourse to the experimental method. He knelt down in the snow and began to scrape it away with his hands on the spot where his body, covered by the latest issue of the newspaper, had left an impression. The smell of caramel sauce kept growing more fragrant, and Pinocchio's tongue licked the end of his nose so solemnly that he would have made the inventor of handkerchiefs blush with shame. Suddenly a deep opening appeared under the snow. Pinocchio stuck his arms in up to the elbows and uttered a shriek of terror. His hands and wrists were held as in a fiery vise and his arms were pulled so violently that he was jerked face down on the earth and his nose stuck into the snow. 128

If he had not been in such an uncomfortable position and had been able to look over his shoulder he would have seen four devils of Alpine troopers advancing very quietly, guns pointed and bayonets fixed. It could be only a starved Austrian who would attempt to enter through the dugout's little window cut through the snow into the officers' mess, and they intended giving him a fine welcome. A corporal with a reddish beard which hung down to his stomach stood two paces away, ready to give him a bayonet thrust that would have run him through like a snipe on a spit, but suddenly he focused his eyes on a certain point, advanced on his hands and knees, and began to read the "Latest News" which he had caught sight of in the seat of Pinocchio's trousers.

The Alpine troops are the bravest soldiers in the world; if any one doubts this let him ask the hunters of that foolish gallows-bird of an emperor; but they are not all well educated, and for this reason Corporal Scotimondo, as soon as he had spelled out the interesting headline, signaled to his comrades to advance cautiously.

You can't have the faintest idea of how 129 important a newspaper becomes, even if it is not a particularly late one, up there among those snow-clad peaks where our soldiers were fighting for a greater Italy. So this editorial, which contained the news of the miraculous conquest of the Col di Lana, deserved to be preserved in the archives among the masterpieces of our glory, instead of in the seat of Pinocchio's trousers.

As I have told you, Corporal Scotimondo could scarcely spell, but among his three comrades Private Draghetta was looked upon as a genius, because as a civilian he had been a clerk in Cuneo. But Draghetta, who could see the Austrians a mile off and when he saw them never failed to knock them over with a shot from his gun, was nearsighted as a mole, and when he wanted to read had to rub his nose into the print.

When Pinocchio felt Draghetta's nose tickle him he began to kick like a donkey stung by a gadfly.

"Hold him tight; tie him. We've taken the Col di Lana! The Col di Lana is ours!"


"Is it true?" 130

"Read it, Draghetta ... don't be afraid ... I'll hold him for you."

Scotimondo sat astride Pinocchio's back and squeezed him with his knees so hard that he took his breath away.

"'Yesterday our brave Alpine troops, supported by infantry regiments, by means of a brilliant attack gained the highest summit of the Col di Lana, which is now safely in our possession.' ... Hurrah!"

"Hurrah for Italy!"

"Hurrah for the King!"

They were crazy with joy and danced about on the snow like fiends, throwing their plumed hats up into the air, waving their guns above their heads. Suddenly, just as if they had risen from the ground, a hundred soldiers appeared and surrounded them.

"What is it?"

"What has happened?"

"The Col di Lana is ours!"

"Hurrah for Italy!"

"Who told you so?"

"Where did you hear it?"

"In the latest news of the Corriere."

"Are you certain?"

"Where did you find it?" 131

"If you don't believe it, ask Draghetta."

All this noise, this rushing out of the trenches and the soldiers staying in the open, was against regulations, so that Lieutenant Sfrizzoli couldn't let it pass without giving vent to one of his usual fits of rage. Red as a radish, he rushed toward Draghetta, shoving apart the group of rejoicing Alpine soldiers, and stopped in front of him, legs wide apart, and with fists clenched.

"Is it you, Draghetta, who have set the camp in such an uproar?"

"Not I, sir; it is the Col di Lana."

"What? What? What?"

"We've taken it, sir."

"Who told you?"

"I read it myself."


"On ... on ..."


"I don't want to be lacking in respect, sir, to my superior officer, no matter what the occasion may be ..."

"Stupid! Tell me where you read it."

"On the frontispiece of a book without words belonging to an Austrian soldier who ..."

Draghetta didn't succeed in getting out 132 another word. Something interposed between him and the lieutenant with a lightning-like rapidity ... and he felt a terrible kick in the shins which made him roll over on the ground with pain.

"Mr. Lieutenant, it is I ... the scout Pinocchio, under Captain Teschisso's protection. I took part in the campaign on the Isonzo and left a leg there and in its place I now have a wooden leg of perfect Italian manufacturing. He told you what he thought was so, but I beg to convince you of the contrary. But the news about the Col di Lana is true, as true as can be. Here is the Corriere which was on the frontispiece ... of my book without words, in the seat of my trousers. But, as I can't stand the cold, I beg you to have a patch put on and to have served to me a plate of that pastry cooked under the snow, because I am so hungry I could eat even you."

Shortly after the delighted Pinocchio sat in front of a dish piled high with spaghetti, and surrounded by soldiers of the company who never stopped asking him questions about how the war was going down in the plains. With his mouth full he kept turning to this one and that one, uttering inarticulate 133 sounds that might have come from a sucking pig.

The arrival of Captain Teschisso was the signal for a furious attack. He had seen in the distance a long file of the enemy clad in white shirts moving across the snow; he had hurried to the dugout to give the alarm and, taking command of the company, had flung himself on the foe, who, relying too much on the secrecy of his attack, was beaten and put to flight.

Pinocchio had assisted in the action at a loophole in the trench, armed with the finest of spy-glasses. The Alpine troops had performed prodigious deeds of valor. The captain came back with two prisoners, one a Hungarian and one a Croat, whom he held by the collars as if they were two mice surprised while robbing tripe from the larder.

"Heavens! What blows!" he cried, happily, to the soldiers who surrounded him, rejoicing. "But, boys, I won't let them sleep to-night. We must get ready for an attack in force. We must make these pigs sing!"

There was no time to pay any attention to them. A few moments later a rain of 134 shells began to fall around the neighborhood of the dugout. The Austrians wanted to revenge themselves from a distance for their sudden rout. Teschisso ordered four mountain guns which had just arrived by the filovia to be mounted on the gun-carriages, assembled his men, and ran to take up his position in an excavation nearly a mile away whence it was possible to observe the enemy's position. Pinocchio and Ciampanella, the company cook, remained behind to guard the dugout, and to them had been assigned the care of the two prisoners from whom Teschisso hoped later to obtain some definite information.



How Pinocchio Made Two Beasts Sing—Contrary to Nature


Excuse me, my children, for not having presented Ciampanella to you before. Ciampanella was a pure-blooded Roman, born under the shadow of the Capitol, like—the wolf kept at the cost of the City Commune. If Francis Joseph had seen him he would have appointed him at once as royal hangman because he had a gallows countenance and a body like a gigantic negro. Yet he was the best-hearted man in the world, so good that he wouldn't harm a fly.

This evening he was in such a good humor that he made even Pinocchio laugh, whom the charge of the prisoners had made as serious as a judge.

"Listen, youngster, don't bother yourself with these two scoundrels whose throats 136 I'll cut some day with my kitchen knife as if they were pigs, and so you will be freed from the care of them, and I win back the honor which I lose in feeding the enemies of my country."

"Are you crazy?"


"Didn't you hear what my captain said? We must make them sing."

"Them sing? It's easier to make the statue of Marcus Aurelius sing that's of bronze and won't move from the Capitol for fear the Councilors of the Commune might take it to a pawnbroker's."

"But I've found out already what their names are."

"I, too."

"Let's hear."


"That is their family name, but the real name of the Croat is Stolz and the Hungarian's is Franz."

"And then?"

"We've got to find out how many of them are down there in the trenches; if there are others behind them; how many pieces of artillery they have and where; from what point their munitions and supplies 137 come, and how many officers are in command of the troops."

"That's the easiest thing possible."

"You think so?"

"You ask them and they will answer."

"And if they pretend not to hear?"

"Leave it to me, youngster. I have a special way of making myself understood, even by the deaf. I didn't read for nothing The Spanish Inquisition. Bring to me here those two satellites of Franz Joe and you'll hear the speeches I'll make them."

Ciampanella rubbed his ears, tied an apron around his waist as when he entered upon his official functions, filled up the little stove with charcoal and lighted a fine fire. When Pinocchio returned to the kitchen, followed by the prisoners, a pair of tongs and a shovel were heating on the red-hot charcoal.

At the sight of these the Croat and the Hungarian exchanged glances and a few quick, dry phrases in their language.

Ciampanella advanced triumphantly to within a foot of them, bowed like an actor to an applauding audience, and unfolded one of his most polished discourses:

"Gentlemen, our officers say that we 138 must respect the enemy, and I respect you according to command; but in case any one should persist in refusing to speak, just like the beasts, I should feel it my duty to treat him like a beast, and my superiors would say to me, 'Ciampanella, you're right.' I explain this because we have need of certain information, so we take the liberty of asking you in secret certain things which you, gentlemen, can answer, after which we will give you special attention in our culinary service. This is said and promised, so I begin my questions. We want to know how many men and how many officers that big simpleton of your emperor has whipped up together against us."

No answer.

"What? Are you deaf? Don't you understand modern Italian? Then I'll talk ancient Roman to you."

Ciampanella grabbed from the stove the red-hot shovel and waved it before the Austrians' noses. Their eyes popped out with fright, but they didn't utter a word.

"You will either answer or I will give you two kisses with the shovel on your right cheeks and two on your left."

"'Talian pigs! Brigands!" 139

"May you be skinned alive! To call me a brigand! Me! Pinocchio, which creature is this, Spitz or Spotz?"


"Listen, Franz, if you dare insult me another time, I'll untie your hands and then I'll give you so many boxes on your ear that'll make you more of an imbecile than your emperor."

"You kill us, we die mouths shut."

"We, we ... Wait before you talk in the plural; wait till I put this red-hot shovel to Stolz's ear, and then ..."

Ciampanella came closer to the Croat, armed with his other heated iron, but suddenly he felt a blow on his eye which half blinded him.

"...they can..."

He couldn't finish because Pinocchio burst out laughing so wildly that he had to hold his stomach. Ciampanella, who had been taken unaware by the glass of water Pinocchio had thrown at him, let out all his anger on him.

"Youngster, look out for yourself. I won't stand nonsense from you. I owe to our enemies the respect enjoined by regulations, but you I can take by the nape 140 of the neck and set you down on the stove, and I'll roast you as if you were beef."

Pinocchio became suddenly serious and began to swing his wooden leg so nervously that if Major Cutemup had seen him he would have turned as yellow as a Chinaman with fear. If the descendant of Romulus and Remus had had the slightest idea of the kick which menaced him at this moment he would have grown calm as if by magic. But Pinocchio, who had seen Franz and Stolz exchange sly glances and a smile full of irony, held himself in and, after scratching his head solemnly, approached Ciampanella, who was wiping his eye with his apron, and taking hold affectionately of his arm, said:

"So you want to roast me on your stove?"

"As I told you."

"Wouldn't it be better to cook something on it for our supper this evening?"

"This evening's supper? But you know that this evening I wouldn't light the fire if the commander-in-chief came in person to command me to. When the company is in action I am free to do what I want, and when I am free to do what I want I 141 don't do anything. So if you are hungry you'll have to eat bread and compressed meat, and if you don't like it you'll have to fast."

"Listen, Ciampanella; you reason like Menenius Agrippa, who was an ancient Roman able to make things clearer than modern Romans, but sometimes you get tangled up in your premises."

"Listen, youngster, don't insult me, because as sure as Ciampanella is my name I will wring your neck like a chicken's."

"But I'm not insulting you."

"Then tell me what kind of things are premises; otherwise ..."

"Otherwise you'll take me and make me sit on the stove and roast me, won't you? That proves that the fire is lighted and that the charcoal is burning for nothing, and so if, for example, the commander-in-chief should pay you a visit he would give you a fortnight's imprisonment for it, because when the company's in action you are free to do what you want, but not in the kitchen, and if you are hungry you must eat bread and compressed meat or fast."

"Heh, youngster! I didn't light the stove for culinary purposes, but for strategic 142 reasons. It was to make these two beasts talk."

"But they haven't talked."

"We'll fling them out and let the mad dogs eat them."

"But if you, instead of heating the shovel and tongs, had roasted a young pullet and served it with one of those famous sauces ..."

"Chicken in the Roman style with potato puffs ..."

"Just look at Stolz. He's licking his greased whiskers as if the potatoes were cooking under his nose."

"Look at Franz gaping."

"They have a dog's hunger, and in order to make them sing ..."

"You want me to cook a little supper such as I can cook if I set myself to it, stick it under their noses, and ... Youngster, that's a magnificent idea! When I write my Manual of War Cookery I'll put you on the frontispiece as the first of kitchen strategians. Leave things to me and in half an hour I'll hand you out a couple of stews that would raise up the dead better even than Garibaldi's Hymn!"

Pinocchio heaved a sigh. He had won 143 such a battle that, if he had been a German, would have caused the people to hammer I don't know how many nails into his statue. While Ciampanella was bustling about on all sides, plucking two young fowls, peeling potatoes, frying lard and onions, melting butter in a saucepan, preparing a stew in another, Pinocchio was striding up and down the kitchen, long and narrow as a corridor, eying stealthily the two prisoners, who were beginning to show signs of a growing restlessness. They had been fasting for more than twenty-four hours and their last food had been such a mess that it might have been requisitioned from the poultry-yard and the stable.

Ciampanella seemed eager to surpass himself. He hovered over his pots without paying any attention to Pinocchio, but talking in a loud voice as if he wished to impart a lesson in cookery to half the world.

"Listen, youngster, when you want to eat two savory young fowls you must cook them in the Roman fashion according to Ciampanella's recipe, which, when it is written down, will not have its equal in Urbis et Orbis. I call it the Roman fashion, 144 but it might also truly be called the Ostrogothic fashion ... but that's the way. Take two young fowls and cut them into pieces, put a good-sized lump of butter into a saucepan and a little onion and fry it a little; dredge the fowls with flour, and put them to simmer in the butter; when they are browned put in some tomato paste, salt and pepper, and let them cook down, later a grain of nutmeg, cover it and let it cook.... Do you smell that odor, youngster? And just think how it will taste! You'll lick your napkin like that dirty Croat who ... Ho! ho! look at his tongue hanging out.... Ho! ho! ho!"

The air was filled with a fragrance so entrancing that it would have given an appetite to the mouth of a letter-box; so imagine how the miserable two felt, who, after all, were men of flesh and blood and had no other defect than of having been born under the Executioner's scepter. Stolz with his mouth wide open breathed in the air in deep breaths, tasting it hungrily as if he could really taste the odor that tickled his nostrils. Ciampanella stepped in front of him, and spouted out one of his special speeches, gesticulating with his fork. 145

"Well, Mr. Croat? How do you think we do it? Franz Joe is worse off than the least of our Alpine troops, because we are not reduced to gnawing bones like you who make war in order to fish, as the proverb says, in troubled waters. What a delicious odor, isn't it? But don't stand there with your mouth open or I'll fill it with dish-water. Here's some!"

"'Talian pig!" howled Stolz, half strangled with nausea and disgust, spitting all around.

"If you call me an Italian pig again, I'll break your head in spite of the respect they teach us is due the enemy, because in this world it is tit for tat."

"Listen, Ciampanella," Pinocchio interrupted at the right moment, "if the chickens are done we could sit down at the table and offer a bite to Stolz."

"That's a good idea, youngster."

While the boy was setting the table and the chef was dishing up the stew, from the distance came several tremendous rumblings, which brought a smile to the faces of the prisoners, who exchanged significant glances. The sound came from our six-inch guns that had been dragged with such effort to the altitude of nine thousand feet and 146 arrived the day before by way of the filovia, which were now opening fire on the enemy's trenches. If Franz and Stolz had had even the faintest suspicion of this they would have changed their expressions.

"Dear Ciampanella, as a cook you should be put on the pedestal of a monument. This chicken is a masterpiece. If that imbecile of a Stolz, instead of standing there like a dog with his tongue hanging out, a foot away from the tail of a hare, could give a lick to this drumstick, I wager he would desert his emperor and demand Italian citizenship."

A Cook

"For my part, I'd rather give him the chicken than the citizenship."

"I would as lief have it," Stolz risked saying, passing his tongue over his whiskers.

"I guess so." 147

"And I'll give you not only a drumstick, but half a chicken with gravy and a loaf of bread to go with it, if you'll tell me ..."

"We can't talk; don't want to betray our country."

"Dear Stolz, you're a fine fellow, but if you can't talk I can't give you anything to eat and we are quits. But I haven't asked you to betray either Croatia, or even Hungary, if you are afraid of Franz's hearing you."

"Oh, he speaks only Magyar."

"All the better; then you can tell me how many Bohemians, Slovaks, Carinthians, Poles, Germans, and Styrians are intrenched on Mount X opposite our men.... We'll leave out the Croats, your countrymen ... and, moreover, I'll wager five soldi of Victor Emanuel against a crown of your emperor that if they were here and smelled this odor they wouldn't make such a to-do about it or talk like lawyers. But smell this" ... and while he spoke the rascal of a Pinocchio took in both his hands the dish with the stew and held it close to Stolz's nose, who shut his eyes and heaved a sigh as if he were giving up his soul to the god of all the Croats. 148

"You 'Talian scoundrel, if you give me and Franz all we can eat and drink I'll tell you what you want to know."

"May the saints in Paradise reward you! If you sing and sing well, look what delicate morsels I'll give you," cried Ciampanella, jumping about with delight. He hastened to fill two plates with delicious food and two loaves of fresh bread and half of a sharp old sheep's cheese which would have brought a dead man to life.

"And now there's nothing more to do except to untie your hands and to give you chairs to sit on."

"We have three lines of trenches, fifteen hundred men ... two batteries placed on the Donkey's Saddle ... but you have Alpine troops and we can't get the better of you. So our colonel had marvelous plan—he had huge mine dug and thought to blow up Alpines to bust them all up. This morning we attacked on purpose. When Alpines came face to us, we go all back to retreat, but they not come to mined spot and didn't all bust up. But when Alpines enter first trench which we leave ... bum! 'Talian pigs all dead and Austrian soldiers shout hurrah for emperor. 149 Did you hear little while ago lots of noise? I knows ... I knows what it was ... big mine blow up."

"And 'Talian pigs all killed, aren't they?" yelled the enraged Ciampanella. "And you think I am going to give you food? Not by a long shot. See what game I'm going to play with you. In the mean time pray to the god of all the Croats that what you have said may not be true, because if, instead of making war as real soldiers do, your side has committed such a despicable deed, you two shall pay for it, and as truly as my name is Ciampanella, chef of the mess, you'll pay for it dearly enough."

And shaking his lion head and jumping up in the air, waving his arms about violently, he took up a piece of rope and bound the prisoners tightly to a pole which supported the roof of the dugout.

"And now if you can eat these good gifts of God which I leave under your nose, you'll do well, I assure you.... Come, Pinocchio, we must take this news to the officer commanding our company, because I don't believe anything wrong has happened yet."

"And the prisoners?"

"They won't escape, I, Ciampanella, 150 assure you. They are tied up like two pork sausages, and, besides, you know what we'll do? When the door is shut we'll put up against it one of the bombs that they make which go off almost without touching them. I know where some of them are hidden away. If they should succeed in loosening the rope and should try to get away they'll take a ride in the air. And now we'll wish the gentlemen good appetite and be off on our own affairs."

Five minutes later Ciampanella and Pinocchio were running across the snow through the dusk.


How Pinocchio Complained Because He Was No Longer a Wooden Puppet


It was no easy matter for Ciampanella and Pinocchio to reach their company, which was intrenched about three miles away, on a declivity as sharp as a knife-blade, bordered by jagged precipices. They could not have held out against artillery up there, but the position was well chosen from which to hammer the enemy's first trench that was built on a little slope two hundred yards lower down and less than two miles away. Farther along there opened up a pass of great strategic importance which the Austrians apparently were intending to defend at all costs. Yet it had seemed strange to Teschisso that the foe with its numerous exits should try to attack his Alpine troops in force, all the more that his first line of defense 152 might be considered as irretrievably lost. For this reason he had restrained the impulse of his brave soldiers to fight and decided to intrench them on the difficult slope to await a favorable moment for decisive action. In the mean time he had been able to hammer the enemy's position with four large pieces of artillery which he had placed on a summit above his intrenchment. When Pinocchio related to him how, with the aid of the mess-cook, he had made Franz and Stolz sing, and repeated the few words which he had heard from their mouths, he had no longer any doubt regarding the foe's strange behavior.

"Heavens! Those scoundrels wanted to blow us up! Luckily I was prudent, but you'll see what a joke I'll invent to play on those dogs! Call Corporal Scotimondo."

The most important duties were usually intrusted to this soldier with a face like a cab-driver's, with a large blond beard and full, ruddy cheeks, who at first sight looked so good-natured. But he was a man of exceptional energy and extraordinary courage. Calm and quiet when danger raged, he could inspire in his comrades a boundless confidence. 153

"Corporal, from information received I have learned that we have opposite us fifteen hundred men."

"All the better."

"And a mined zone."

"That's not so good, not good at all."

"I have determined to attack the foe from the rear and force him on to the mined zone. I shall set off with the whole company, leaving only eight men in the trench, which they must hold at all costs and keep up a devilish fire to make the enemy think we are all here. Do you understand?"

"Certainly, certainly."

"You will command the squad."

"Thanks, Captain."

"I will leave you also Pinocchio and Ciampanella, so that there will be ten of you. Choose the other eight quickly, because I am going to give immediate orders to depart."

"Draghetta, Senzaterra, Pulin, Cattaruzza, and the four Scagnol brothers."

"All right! Go and tell them. Remember that I trust you. I am attempting a big coup, but if I succeed, Heavens, what a stroke!... They'll fly up like birds." 154

A little later Pinocchio was witness of a marvelous and fantastic scene. The narrow trench was alive with a mass of black figures that moved noiselessly. The Alpine troops armed themselves with rope and hatchets, filled up their canteens, and replenished their cartridge-belts, whispering quick, concise sentences, interrupted with laughs, quickly smothered as the rattle of an officer's sword was heard. All these shadows grouped themselves in the depth of the trench against a heap of huge stones and merged into the profound darkness. For a time still there was to be heard coming from down below a subdued rustle, then a profound silence. Pinocchio was strangely affected and was eager to find out what had happened. He ran to the end of the trench—there was not a soul there. Where had his Alpine troops gone? Had they perhaps been swallowed up by the abyss which yawned a few feet away? He was so terrified that he began to yell desperately.

"Captain! Captain Teschis ..."

He didn't get the chance to finish; he felt two rough, heavy hands grab him by the ears and lift him up three feet from the ground. 155

"Less racket here. Don't be such an idiot. Don't you know that in the trenches you've got to be as quiet as in church, and ... here I'm in command, and when I command anything I've got to be obeyed."

"I'll obey," Pinocchio grumbled, keeping back a cry of pain.

Corporal Scotimondo put him down gently on the ground, face to face with himself, and then asked, sharply:

"What did you want with Captain Teschisso?"

"I? Nothing."

"Why did you call him, then?"

"I thought perhaps ... something terrible had happened.... He's gone ... they're all gone."

"Gone? How gone? They haven't disappeared; they've only gone down ..."


"The precipice, and then they'll climb up again on the other side, will reach the first trench, will get the better of the enemy and drive them on the mined zone. Then we'll see a fine sight. But until this minute comes we've got to keep quiet and not make a racket. Do you understand? 156 Now go to sleep because you have been mobilized and will have to stand sentry also, and, besides, to-morrow there'll be things to do. Now march!"

The Cook

Scotimondo emphasized this command with a kick which made Pinocchio take the first steps and showed him the direction he was to go. The unexpected disappearance of the Alpine troops still seemed miraculous in spite of the simple explanation Scotimondo had given him, and Pinocchio had 157 a profound respect for everything that smacked of magic.

A Kick

"Yes, gone down," he grumbled to himself while he was nearing the other end of the trench. "That's quickly said, but I'd just like to know how it is possible for men of skin and bones to do such a thing. The precipice is so deep and so steep that if Ciampanella had not pulled me by the collar I should never have got here. And how will they manage to get down it? Hum! I am almost beginning to believe that these Alpine soldiers are in league with the devil. I saw two of them yesterday with some 158 kind of shoes a couple of yards long which flew over the snow like airplanes. I wanted to ask the mess-cook to explain it to me, but from fear he would make fun of me I kept quiet. But from now on I must keep my eyes more on those men. If I discover they really have any dealings with the devil I'll take myself off on the first occasion."

He stumbled and fell face downward into a soft warm mass from which came a dull grunt. Overcome with terror, he was about to take flight when he felt himself held fast by a leg as firmly as if by a trap.

"I wish you'd get killed. Couldn't you let me sleep a minute? You must be either a creditor or that tyrant of a picket officer going his rounds.... If you are a creditor come back six months after peace is declared, because now I won't pay you a soldo even if I had one. If you are the picket officer I tell you that when I have put out the fires I have a right to take my ease ... and now let me sleep ... May you be ..."

"Oh, Ciampanella, let me go. Don't you recognize me? I am Pinocchio."

"Oh, it's you, youngster, is it? Did you 159 intend to make me sing like Spizzete Spazzete? I have nothing to tell you, but if you insist upon my singing something for you at all costs, I will sing for you to get up off me."

Pinocchio, seeing that the mess-cook was in one of his "moments," thought it prudent to leave him in peace, so he lay down on a heap of straw that was close by, intending to go to sleep.

But his sleep didn't last long. About four o'clock in the morning, when dawn was peeping over the horizon, he heard a shot that seemed to come from a spot not far from the trench.

"Get your guns, boys!" yelled Scotimondo, rushing to a machine-gun, while the others, guns in hand, took their places before the loopholes. "It was Draghetta who saw the enemy. Boys, I count on you. We've got to make a racket, lots of noise as if all the company were here, and don't expose yourselves ... let them have a continuous and intense fire."

His glance took in Pinocchio, who was gazing at him, his eyes wide open with terror, and Ciampanella tranquilly dozing. With a bound he caught up a gun and put it into the boy's hands. 160

"Ho, lad, stop standing there doing nothing or I'll break your neck! I'll smash your head before the potato-eaters knock it in."

With another spring he was on top of the cook, who was calmly dreaming a culinary dream, and gave him such a kick that he jumped up like a jack-in-the-box.

"I hope they'll eat you."

"Ready to fire! Fire! for Heaven's sake!" Scotimondo screamed at him and ran to take his post, grumbling, "but why doesn't the sentinel come back? What's that scoundrel of a Draghetta doing?"

Ciampanella rubbed his eyes and discovered Pinocchio, who stood there turning his gun round and round without having yet discovered what exactly it was that he held.

"May the dogs eat you! Instead of standing there fiddling with your weapon that you know as much about as I know about training fleas, you would do better to give a look at the saucepan that it doesn't burn instead of making me get that kick from the corporal."

"But what saucepan? Are you still asleep?"

"Didn't you hear what he yelled at me when he kicked me? 'Fire! Fire!'" 161

"Certainly, but he meant the fire of the battery, not that of the stove. Don't you know that we are expecting an attack?"

"Who says so? There's no need to wait for it. You can wait if you want to, but I'm off. I don't know anything about war and don't know how to shoot. When there are necks to wring or beasts to butcher I'm ready, because they are hens or lambs or such like beasts, but Christians I can't, and toward the enemy I have the respect ordered by our superiors. Listen, youngster, if two bullets hit me in the rear I'll take them and won't protest, but I don't stay here at the front unless they tie me."

He was just getting away when Scotimondo, who had an eye on him, turned hurriedly and poked a revolver at his back.

"Oh, very well! There are certain arguments you can't dispute. I'll remain, but I'll find me a hole where I can be safe, because if I die the Manual of War Cookery won't be written," and he threw himself down on a big stone, signaling to the "youngster" to follow him.

A voice outside was calling for help, only a few feet away from the trench.

"Stay where you are, all of you. I'll go," 162 commanded Scotimondo, and, wriggling like a serpent, with his revolver in his hand, he set off and was lost in the darkness. Shortly after he returned, dragging in Draghetta.

"What's the matter? Are you wounded?"

"No, not exactly wounded, but I can't stand up. I'm afraid my feet are frozen."

"Let's have a look," and he made him sit down and began to free him from his woolen puttees, his hobnailed boots, his waterproof stockings, and to rub his red, swollen feet with snow, all the time continuing to question him.

"Was it you who fired that shot?"


"Is the enemy in sight?"

"They tried to leave their trenches—two little groups—one of their usual nasty little ways to draw us out, and as my superiors did not see them, I thought it my duty to give the alarm signal."

"You were right."

"But I wasn't able to get back because my legs gave way, so I had to try to crawl on my hands and knees until I had only breath enough left to call for help, certain and sure that ..." 163

"Heavens! Swine!" Scotimondo swore and stopped rubbing.

"What's the matter?"

"Nothing, nothing; take your place at the machine-gun; I'll take mine in the trench."


"You have need of rest," and he went off, growling, "poor Draghetta! He tried to warn the rest of us and couldn't get away himself."

He again left the trench to reconnoiter. Half an hour later he returned, assembled his men, and told them that the foe had retreated to their trenches, but that as soon as it was lighter they would have to make themselves heard, so as to keep the enemy from attempting an attack, which would undoubtedly be fatal to the little garrison. They would have to make a lot of noise, but must not waste ammunition, because when Captain Teschisso's company came into action they would probably have to support it.

"And I impress upon you the importance of not exposing yourselves. The first who does so I'll send to the devil myself. I have need of every one of you, and it's too much 164 that out of ten one should be without feet, one a cook, and one who isn't even a man."

"Did you hear that, youngster?" Ciampanella asked Pinocchio, when the laugh which followed Scotimondo's words had died down. "Did you hear? They want to send you to the firing-line. What do you think of that?"

But Pinocchio didn't reply. His wooden leg just then seemed to have nervous twinges and rattled like a rusty key in a lock. The sun had scarcely begun to rise above the horizon and the snow to glisten in its rays when from the trench cut out of the slope narrow as a knife-blade came a sound of firing that was truly infernal. The machine-gun was smoking, but poor Draghetta didn't let it rest a minute. The others kept up a tremendous fire and an accurate one, because they could see that the parapet of the enemy's trench was marked by little red clouds. Every now and then above the crackle of the musketry resounded the humming of larger projectiles that had their own special tone. The Austrian commanders were evidently laying plans for the whole day because there was not even the shadow of an enemy 165 to be seen. They contented themselves with replying with an occasional shell. But what would they have done if they had known that opposite them were only seven men, and one of them disabled, and that the formidable ta-pum, ta-pum, ta-pum which rose above the whine of the musketry came from—the mouths of Pinocchio and Ciampanella?

The coming of the twilight cast a veil of melancholy over the little garrison, wearied by the fatigues imposed by its continual vigilance and the continual answer to the firing of the foe.

They were all expecting every moment to see Captain Teschisso's company come into action, the Austrians swept from their trenches with the bayonets at their backs and thrown on the mined zone where they would all be blown up. Yet nothing of the sort was taking place. The enemy had never appeared more quiet and as sure of himself as to-day. What had happened to the company? It wasn't possible that it had been captured by superior forces. The Alpine troops would have fought like lions; the noise of their battle would have reached the trench, and some one would 166 certainly have returned to bring the news of the disaster. It was more likely that Captain Teschisso, knowing that he would have to engage a superior force, had decided to attack at night. The surprise and the impossibility of judging the number of the assaulting force would certainly keep the enemy from resisting. But Corporal Scotimondo was not altogether satisfied with his captain's tactics.

"I'm not a Napoleon," he grumbled, in his patois, striding with long steps through the narrow passageway of the trenches, every now and then making a right-about face. "I'm not a Napoleon. It's easy to say 'hold fast at all costs,' but in order to hold fast you have to have men. My men are not made of iron; I am not made of iron; they need rest and yet even to let them rest I can't allow the trench to be without sentinels all night. If I change sentries every half-hour, nobody sleeps; if I make them stay at the posts for two hours according to regulations, they'll come back to me with their feet frozen like Draghetta, and then we couldn't hold fast. Plague take it! This is certainly a situation to upset a corporal. If ..." 167

He stopped suddenly because Pinocchio barred his way. He looked at him for a minute in amazement, gestured with his head for him to move to one side, but, seeing that he stood there as firmly as if he had taken root, he grunted, I don't know whether with anger or surprise.

"Skip, boy, skip. Don't you understand anything? Don't you understand I want you to get from under my feet?"

"Just a question, corporal."

"What is it?"

"You need a sentinel for to-night."

"Yes, a new one every half-hour."

"I have come to volunteer."

"Why not? I like the idea ... you, too, will take your half-hour's turn, but this doesn't help me solve my problem of ..."

"But I have come to volunteer for the whole night."

"Really? Are you in earnest?"

"Yes, indeed. You see, Corporal Squassamondo, I should have liked to remind you this morning early that I have a wooden leg, but I prefer to tell you now. Wood doesn't freeze and so I can stand guard for ten hours even without any danger, if 168 you only give me enough to cover myself with and plenty to eat."

"And the other leg?"

"Ciampanella has told me that storks sleep all night standing on one leg and don't fall over. I am a man 'that's not a man,' but if I were no more good than a stork I shouldn't have got a wooden leg on the battle-field."

The little lesson had sunk in and Scotimondo felt it like a pinch on the shins. He tried to be furious, but didn't succeed. He let out a terrible "Good Heavens!" then was overcome with emotion, caught Pinocchio in his arms, pressed him to himself, and kissed him again and again.

It was a night blacker than a German conscience. Two shadows glided over the snow and stopped in the shelter of a rock which dominated all the narrow slope, the enemy's trenches, the awful mass of peaks and jagged ridges. At the side of the adversary's position the snow was marked with an enormous black streak which was lost in the depth of the mountains. It was the abyss, a frightful wedge-shaped crack which looked like an enormous interrogation 169 point drawn with charcoal on an immense white sheet.

"You feel all right?"

"Fine as possible."

"Did they give you a good supper?"

"I'm so full that I can't draw a long breath with all this stuff I've got on me. I certainly sha'n't feel cold."

"In your right pocket you'll find a thermos bottle of hot coffee; in the other, chocolate."


"Do you want a gun?"

"What should I do with it? In case of alarm I'll keep sounding 'ta-pum' like this morning."

"Then you understand. You must keep a lookout down there all the time, there where the white of the snow meets the black of the sky. If you see anything white on black or black on white which moves give the alarm; if not, keep still. Take good care not to fall asleep, because if I should go the rounds and find you asleep I should be compelled to kill you at your post."

"In that case wake me up ... five minutes beforehand."

"Well, I'm off." 170

"Good luck."

"I want to impress it on you—no racket now."

"Good-by, Scrollamondo. Don't worry."

Pinocchio had the courage of a lion that night, and if the Austrians had attempted an attack he would have felt equal to them all by himself. As soon as he was alone he took out from the pockets of his cloak, so full of food that they seemed a military depot, a thin rope a couple of yards long, knotted one end of it, stuck his head through, bending his good leg, put his foot on the rope, which he swung in front of him at the height of his knee, and, leaning against the rock, stood there still, resting on his wooden leg.


"And now I am ready," he muttered, contentedly; "now let them come on. I'm not afraid of any one, not even of the snow. There's no denying it—my idea was magnificent. If that simpleton Toni Salandra had had one as good he would have saved the Ministry. Two feet of rope and the trench is saved. With two soldi's worth of soap he could have saved the finest Parliament our poor country has ever seen.... 171 It's queer that I haven't the slightest sensation of fear.... It's dark, but I seem to see as well as by day. It must be that a sentinel's duty clears the sight. I could swear that I could see a flea a mile away. Besides, my duty is simple: I am to stay here and do nothing; I am not to get my feet frozen, and as far as that is concerned there's no danger; and I am to look out for white moving on black or black on white. Then, ta-pum, ta-pum, ta-pum, like this morning, then throw myself on the ground and creep back to the trench like a 172 cat.... What a fire we kept up this morning, I and Ciampanella! He fired so often and so vigorously that he ended by falling over with fright.... If he hadn't had to sleep off his fatigue I couldn't have done the fine deed I'm doing. I am sure he wouldn't have let me get cold like this ... because ... I didn't feel it at first, but now I feel chills creeping up my spine!"

When Pinocchio stuck his hand into his pocket it touched the rounded form of the thermos bottle. He took it out, put it to his lips, and drank a mouthful. Five minutes later the boy felt the heat mounting to his brain as if he were at the mouth of a furnace.

"Ah-ha! That's good! When I am a general like Win-the-War I'll heat the railway compartment with coffee instead of with a radiator. I wish they'd 'murder' the garments I got on, as Ciampanella says: When I think that he made me run the risk of having eight bullets in my stomach I don't know what to do. But before I would have him burned up, it would be nice to sleep here under this upholstered seat, with the lullaby of the train that sounds as if my nurse were singing it. If he found me now I should like 173 to drop into one of those dozes from which even Ciampanella's ta-pum wouldn't wake me.... If I go to sleep I'll be cold. That tyrant of a Scotimondo would just as lief wake me up with a revolver at my head.... I'd like to know what's the fun of keeping a poor sentinel out in the cold where there's nothing to watch, because I bet a soldo against a lira that the Austrians are sleeping soundly to-night—I seem to hear them snoring like so many suckling pigs.... No, I said I wouldn't go to sleep, and to keep my word I won't go to sleep, but I can allow myself a nod, just a little nod. There's no black on white, or white on black; it seems to me to be getting more cloudy ... so that ... Scotimondo? But what is it? I am no Napoleon ... he said it. But even Napoleon when he found a sleeping sentinel took his gun and waited till he waked up. He would do the same ... with the difference that I haven't any gun ... so that ... not so much noise ... Scotimon ...? but where is Scotmona ... Scoti ... mon ... do..."

Just at this moment the snow began to fall gently, so gently, and as dry as flour 174 just from the mill. The corporal, who was about to set out on his usual tour of inspection, glanced at the sky, then growled, as he rubbed his hands: "The Austrians won't come out in such weather. It will be a foot thick in less than an hour. I'll go and sleep, myself."

An Explosion

Pinocchio woke up with a start. It was dawn!... He found himself buried in the snow up to his chest. He looked about and could no longer see the enemy's trench; he looked behind him and couldn't recognize the Italian post. What under the heavens had happened? He was on the point of becoming despondent and ready to give the alarm when on the side of the enemy's position in the wide wedge-sloped cleft, which looked like an exclamation point drawn with charcoal on an immense white sheet, he thought he saw a curious movement like many ants. He fixed his eyes on it, and while his heart beat so loudly that he thought he would suffocate, he concentrated all his attention, all his mind, on the point there below. He saw the jagged rock swarming with Alpine troops, saw little clusters of men suspended 175 over the abyss, and ropes hanging in space slowly lifting up soldiers; and at the sight of this miracle of daring and dexterity he naturally forgot the fear of his wakening. Anxiously he followed the maneuvers of these brave sons of Italy, saw them suddenly disappear.... Then a cry of terror rose from the enemy's trench, a rattle of guns and almost at the same moment two or three hundred Austrians were in flight and flinging themselves on the slope, pursued by a steady fire. It was time to give the alarm. Pinocchio wanted to let out one of his extraordinary ta-pums, but just then a terrible explosion shook the earth and clouded the sky.... A horrible yell, a cry 176 from hundreds of throats struck him to the marrow ... then there was silence.

Captain Teschisso, returning victorious from his expedition, found Pinocchio there, and tenderly gave him first aid, but, seeing that he didn't come to, he intrusted him to four soldiers, saying:

"Take him to the first ambulance, with Draghetta and the other wounded, and tell the surgeon to care for him as my best friend. Poor youngster, who will have to have another wooden leg! But we have avenged him and given those dogs what they deserved. Heavens, what a fight!"


Many Deeds and Few Words


My dear little friends, I won't stop to show you Pinocchio in the sad surroundings of a hospital. I will tell you only that he stayed there for more than two months, and that he left it with his two wooden legs, new and well oiled, and that Fatina, by a curious coincidence, was his careful and affectionate nurse, and that Ciampanella, playing the part of a good friend, did not fail to make him frequent visits, bringing with him certain samples of camp cookery which enraptured Pinocchio. His surgeon was a most polite Piedmontese, always bowing and salaaming, who announced to him with all formality the misfortune which had again overtaken him and asked his permission two days in advance to amputate his frozen leg.

"All right," exclaimed Pinocchio, "go 178 ahead. I've got accustomed to such trifles now. But you must do me a favor."

"Let me hear it."

"When you give me my new wooden leg I want it to be longer than usual and that naturally you change the other one, too."


"Because I'd feel as if I were on stilts and it would amuse me to death to take steps longer than any one else."

He was satisfied and left the hospital with such long legs that he was almost as tall as Ciampanella, who took Pinocchio's arm in his as if he were his sweetheart.

"Heh, youngster, but you have grown! And then they say that we non-combatants never do anything! I haven't done anything, but if I were the one I have in mind I would bestow on you the medal for bravery because your legs have won it. I tell you, I, who know what I am talking about."

"Even if they don't give me anything, I am satisfied all the same. All I ask is for them to leave me here and not send me home."

"Come with me and I'll appoint you first adjutant of the mess kitchen, and when I 179 have taught you how and put the ladle in your hand we will live on the fat of the land and will make meat-balls with our leavings for the general, and when we don't know what else to do we'll write the Manual of War Cookery, which I won't risk now because I haven't a writing hand, as the saying is."

"Listen, Ciampanella, I am as grateful as if you had offered to lend me a hundred lire without interest, but just now I can't accept."


"Because it requires a special constitution to be a cook. I'd be all right as far as eating the best morsels was concerned, but it would be dangerous for me to stay near the stove. I am half wooden and run the risk of catching on fire. I should have to decide to take out insurance against fire. Moreover, let's consider. To-day I have other views. Fatina here has given me a letter for my friend Bersaglierino, who is at headquarters as the war correspondent of an important newspaper. We'll see what he advises me to do."

They parted good friends after a solemn feast which almost made Ciampanella roll 180 under the table, like an ancient Roman at one of the banquets of Lucullus or Nero.

At Table with Bersaglierino

Bersaglierino was truly delighted to see his dear little friend again and kept him with him several days for company. From him he learned a number of things he didn't know. One day he asked him:

"Tell me, Pinocchio, do you know the reason for this war in which you, too, have played your small part and to which you have paid tribute of part of yourself?"

"Do you imagine I don't know? It is to make Italy bigger."

"And that seems a just reason to you?" 181

"That's what every one says."

"All those who don't know what they are talking about. If every nation had the right to let loose a war for the sole purpose of enlarging her boundaries we'd have to take off our hats to the Germans who provoked the present curse for their own purposes. We have other and nobler ideals. We have brothers to liberate, peoples to free from a foreign yoke. Certain lands which are ours because they were enriched by the labors of our fathers, because our Italian tongue is spoken in them, were until to-day exploited by the enemy, who sought in every way to embitter the existence of our brothers, paying with contempt and scorn, with persecution and oppression, their loyalty and love for the mother-country. Italian unity, begun in the revolutionary movement of 1811, was not completed in 1870 with the taking of Rome. The jealousy of other nations halted us on our way to emancipation. We were too weak then to make our will felt; we were exhausted with fifty years of continuous fighting and we had need of a little rest in order to restore our energy. To-day we are strong enough to stand up for our 182 rights. Neither underhand dealings of wicked men nor betrayal by partizans will prevent the victory of our arms. Italy will be retempered in the war. Our destiny will be fulfilled.

"I see as in a dream our borders which have been overrun won back to us, Trent bleeding with Italian blood, Goriza twice redeemed, Trieste in the shadow of the tricolor. Istria awaits us impatiently; Parenzo is preparing the way for us to Pola, which we shall take intact, with the defenses the Austrians erected there against our own brothers. Zara, Sebenico, and the coast of Dalmatia, which for so many centuries displayed the glorious insignia of the Lion of St. Mark, are longing impatiently for the moment which shall reunite them to the mother-country, that for them and with them will grow ever greater. War is a curse; this one which is being fought to-day all over the civilized world is perhaps the most terrible which humanity has ever known; yet it will not fail to bring great blessings. It has awakened the consciences of peoples and revealed the virtues and the defects of particular races. In the contest of the ancient Latin civilization with the 183 Teuton power the might of right has been re-established, the right that has been trampled upon by force...."

And so on and so on, for when Bersaglierino began to argue there was no way of stopping him, and Pinocchio stood there listening with his mouth open like a peasant absorbed by the wonderful discourse of a fakir at a fair. And who knows how long he would have stood there, but Bersaglierino had so much to do and was obliged to leave him alone, letting him stay in the rear where he could follow the progress of the war without exposing himself too much, but where he could still be doing important service for his country. He put him in the care of a captain of the commissary department, a good friend of his who had the unlucky idea of making him a baker in a camp bakery. He stayed there only two days, astounded at the enormous quantity of bread which was kneaded and baked all the time. All he did was to give a hand in filling the baskets which were loaded on automobiles that carried the bread to the front. The third day he made a figure of dough that looked like the twin brother of the captain, put it in the oven 184 and, when it was baked, set it astraddle on the cup of coffee poured out for that officer, then hid himself behind a curtain to take part in the welcome which would certainly be given to his most valuable work of art. But the commissary officer's orderly found him and wanted to dust his trousers and pull his ears. He never succeeded in doing this. Pinocchio helped him out of the house with kicks and then hurled him into the flour-barrel. If they had not pulled him out in time he would have suffocated.

The boy fled on the first automobile which left for the front, and for several days whirled back and forth between the front and rear lines, going forward on the supply automobiles and returning on the Red Cross ambulances which brought the wounded to the first-aid posts. The drivers were glad to take him on their machines because he kept them all jolly with his pranks, and he, better than any one, was able to get an idea of the gigantic and wonderful work which was being done side by side with the army which was fighting for the defense of its country. What profound respect for discipline, what order, what spirit of 185 self-sacrifice in those brave soldiers (almost all fathers of families), continually exposed to bad weather, to the hardest fatigues, to the most complete privations! Rain, snow, ice, tornadoes of wind and of shot and shell, nothing succeeded in interrupting for a single minute the interminably long chain of wagons and lorries that carried food to the trenches, ammunition to the artillery, and cannon to the fortified positions. The drivers, dead with sleep, soaked with rain, shivering with cold, remained calmly at their wheels and at the heads of their horses. When the great caravan stopped for a moment for any reason these men, revived with new energy and by the force of their will, started the huge mechanism on its way again.

For a little way Pinocchio thought he would become an automobile-driver, but when they told him that he would have to have a license and that, in order to get one, he would have to take a regular examination, he didn't proceed farther. Examiners he looked upon as even greater enemies than Franz Joe's hunters.

Distributing Letters

After pondering the subject a long time he decided to become a military postman. 186 At first he took pleasure in it all. When he arrived it seemed as if heaven had come down to earth. He was received like a king, with joyous cries and shouts, and he walked between two rows of soldiers like a general. When he distributed the letters it was as if he conferred a favor; when he handed out a money-order he had an air of condescension as if he were doling the soldi from his purse. When he had finished 187 distributing the mail he would let them pay him to read their letters. I can tell you it was not an easy matter. Often he had hieroglyphics to decipher which would have given trouble to a professor of paleontology. But Pinocchio had such a quick mind that when he found he couldn't puzzle it out he invented a letter and did it so well that he earned a soldo by it and the deep gratitude of his clients. What disgusted him with the business was the postal service, which suddenly became confoundedly bad, perhaps on account of a change in the Ministry. Pinocchio saw his popularity vanish in an instant, and the soldiers made him bear the brunt of their dissatisfaction. One day he heard so many complaints that he grew furious and flung away the bag he wore about his neck and cried out to those who were disputing around him:

"You are a bunch of imbeciles. Why do you come to me with your letters? Do you know what you ought to do? Go and get them, because I won't take another step for the sake of your pretty faces."

His ears were boxed again and again and he replied with as many kicks, but he didn't 188 play postman any more. He was wondering to what new service he could dedicate himself when a corporal baker gave him this note:

Dear Pinocchio,—I am having the one who will hand you this write these lines so that he can tell you for me that I have a great longing to see you, because I am not well and I don't know what to do, and I sign myself your most affectionate

Chief Mess-cook in the service of the

Pinocchio was so affected by this letter that he set off at once in search of his friend. He found him in full performance of his noble functions, white, red, and flourishing as if he had come back the day before from taking the cure at Montecatini.

"Well?" he said in astonishment, after they had embraced.

"Well, youngster, I am here and I am not here in this beastly world."

"But, truly ..."

"You wouldn't say that I am on the downward path, to make use of the words of the chaplain, but Ciampanella is no longer himself. They have given me only a few months more to live. I don't mind 189 for myself, you know. I think that I shall be as well off there as I have been here.... But I am thinking of humanity."

"Nothing and a little less than nothing."

"No joking now, youngster. Without the Manual of War Cookery written by Ciampanella humanity can never be happy, because with it men will eat and laugh, and when you laugh you spend willingly, and when you spend willingly you eat well.... So that ..."

"Why don't you write it?"

"First of all, because I lack the knowledge of handwriting, which you've got to do; that is why I sent for you, and then ... because I am afraid that I won't have time enough to dictate it all, because the surgeon-major who examined me said that I had a disease of the liver from eating too much, and that it would be the liver that would bring me to my grave if I didn't stop immediately living on the fat of the land and drink quantities of water. Listen, youngster, I have always had a great antipathy for liver, so much so that I never even put it in patties called Strasburg and which in my Manual I will rechristen 'Austro-German Trenches with Reinforcements of 190 War Bread and Ambushed in Jelly.' But that's not the point. As I tell you, I have always had a great antipathy to liver, but also for water, so much so, I'll tell you in confidence, that sometimes I don't even use it to wash my face in.

"So listen. Since they have brought me to this crossroads—either drink water and live or eat good things and let my liver take me to the next world—I have decided on the latter. Before dying I wanted to call you to my presence to tell you that as I have no one in the world I have been thinking of leaving you everything I possess: ten ladles, a carver, the change-purse, and the recipes for the Manual, for which, when you publish it, they will give you at least the cross of a knight, that when you put it on will make, you feel 'way and ahead of those who look at you."

Saucepan Boiling Over

In short, Ciampanella said so much and did so much that he persuaded Pinocchio to stay with him. And certainly the boy could not find a better way of making himself useful to his country. The mess-cook was at the orders of a division. Each day he satisfied the hunger of four generals, six colonels, and a crowd of 191 majors and captains of the General Staff. All these were men who had need of good eating that wouldn't cause indigestion. Pinocchio served ... as director of the mess. When he saw some saucepan boiling over, a pot too full, he quickly reduced them by tasting their contents generously. Sauces and ragoûts were his passion. Every 192 now and then you might have seen him dipping half a loaf of bread into the casseroles. One day a captain who was inspecting surprised him at this, and naturally he lit into Ciampanella about it, who threatened to quit the kitchen if they didn't leave him in peace.

"Do you understand, Mr. Captain? Do you imagine that standing over a fire is a great pleasure? I am beginning to believe that it is better to stay in the trenches and die with a ball in the head than in the rear when you come and ruin my comfort with your inspections. But do you know what I'll do? I'll hide the ladles in a place I know of and I'll take up a musket and you'll see what you'll see."

The captain had to slink off, speeded by the laughs of Pinocchio, whose nose was smeared and greasy and his mouth dripping with tomato sauce. Ciampanella, who was so lacking in respect to his superiors, obeyed the boy as if he were a head taller than he. Pinocchio had persuaded him to drink quarts of water and to take digestive tablets after his meals, and every morning a spoonful of salts in a glass of water as the surgeon-major had ordered. And he followed out 193 this prescription so carefully that he had noticed a wonderful improvement, and he kept a big bottle full of medicine among his cans of pepper and spices. This fact had several times started an idea in Pinocchio's whimsical pate, and several times he had been on the point of exchanging this medicine for the kitchen salt, but the thought of the serious consequences which might result had kept him from doing it. Moreover, Pinocchio was called more and more often to serve the mess-table and spent less time in the kitchen. The famous captain of the inspection had thought in this way to avenge himself upon that most insolent of semi-puppets, but, to tell you the truth, he didn't find it bad. Serving at table so many grand generals seemed to him almost an honor, and he was proud of it. When he handed the dishes to the highest officers he would make low bows; the captains he treated almost with disdain. He always tried to serve his "particular" captain the last, and when there was left in the dish scarcely enough to scrape out another portion he would whisper in his ear:

"Heh, Captain, blessed are those that are last!" 194

The captain fumed, but waited for the moment when he could give him a reprimand. He thought the time had come one morning when he found a fly in the stew.

"Come here, you little beast."

"Yes, sir; at your orders, sir."

"Look!" and he stuck the plate of stew two inches from his nose.

"There is no doubt, Captain, that it is a fly, a very vulgar fly," and sticking two fingers delicately into the sauce he pulled the insect out ... "a fly indeed! But you may consider yourself lucky because in the rations of your men there will be at least twenty of them. And those who fight don't think much of it. You do the same, Captain ... in war-time don't bother about such trifles."

A tank commander who was next to him laughed heartily. The captain, as green as a newly formed tomato, kept quiet and ate the stew.

That day there was a grand dinner for some French and British officers who had come on a mission to the front. Ciampanella had cooked one of his wonderful recipes. Pinocchio, who had stuck his 195 nose and tongue into all the pots and pans, swore that even the King's cook was not equal to producing such a dinner. And he, too, wished to do himself honor. He set the table in a grassy spot surrounded by high trees and thick hedges. It wasn't possible to find a more picturesque spot, shady and safe from curious eyes, from reporters, and—spies. It was a little distance from the kitchen, but distances didn't bother Pinocchio, whose legs, longer than ordinary ones, could take steps like a giant's. He decorated the table with wild flowers and wove between the branches of the trees the flags of Italy, France, England, and America, tied together with the colors of Belgium, dressed himself afresh, and prepared to display all his good manners.

All the high officers seated at the table made a wonderful sight. The uniforms, starred with crosses and ribbons, shining with gold and silver, were all the more sparkling against the green background of the trees and the meadow.

Pinocchio had served the finest consommé with the air of a head waiter in an expensive restaurant. When he returned to 196 serve a magnificent capon in jelly shaped like a cannon surrounded by hearts of green lettuce which appeared on the menu under the name "William's Wishes, with Evasions of German Financiers," he was struck by a strange sight. All the diners had fled from the table and were going hurriedly behind the hedge, overcome with nausea. A terrible idea flashed through Pinocchio's mind. He turned around and, his capon in his hand, rushed to the kitchen.

"Ciampanella! Ciampanella!"

"What's the matter?"

"The medicine?"

"What's the medicine got to do with dinner?"

"What did you put in the soup?"

"Are you crazy, youngster? Be quiet and let the officers eat."

"Ciampanella, are you perfectly sure of yourself?"

"Why do you ask me if I am sure of myself?"

"Because ... the officers aren't eating."

"What are they doing?"

"Just come and see, because I don't understand about cooking." 197

They went running, but had scarcely passed the threshold when a bomb from an enemy airplane burst a few feet from them. They were hit in the chest by a column of air which turned them round, were hurled back into the kitchen, and buried beneath a shower of masonry.

Ciampanella remained buried there, to the great misfortune of humanity, who, after all, had to do without his Manual of War Cookery, but Pinocchio was dug out alive. He was carried hastily to the nearest ambulance station and fell into the hands of a splendid surgeon, who, after having set a slender fracture of the arm and of the breastbone, swore to save him in spite of fate. He hurriedly amputated an arm, and a fortnight later in the hospital of a near-by city they extracted the broken ribs, for which they substituted two silver plates.

When Fatina and the Bersaglierino hurried to his bed to help him and cheer him they found themselves face to face with a poor creature who, with his artificial legs, arm, and breast, seemed indeed ... a wooden puppet.

But Pinocchio was still himself, humorous, 198 lively, and mischievous. When he noticed that Fatina was looking at him with her big blue eyes full of tears and pity, he shrugged his shoulders and, scratching his left ear vigorously, made a face and said:

"Pretty object, heh? But you must be patient. In order to become a real boy I couldn't help but go back to ... the old one!"


And Now—Finished or Not Finished


It was a beautiful morning, sparkling with sunshine and glory because the tricolor was waving from the windows of every house and the people in the streets had joy in their eyes and a smile on their lips. On the terrace of a handsome mansion, a terrace of marble decorated with exotic plants, at the end of which was a large stained-glass window, a man of mature age and military bearing was stretched out in a reclining-chair. He was smoking a large meerschaum pipe and blew out such puffs of smoke that it seemed as if he were trying to obscure the sun. By his side was a soldier awaiting orders, and near by was a stand on which a magnificent green parrot stood, scratching his head with his claw and rolling his big yellow eyes.

"Heh! What do you say to that, Duretti? Are we or are we not great? To-day that we can say we have made Italy?" 200

"Now you see


The general has made so free ..."

chattered the wretch of a parrot.

"Be quiet, Coccorito; if you keep on with that nonsense I won't give you any sunflower seeds for a week. I'd like to know who trained him to be so impertinent during my absence. If it were not ..."

General Win-the-War started to get up, but a sudden twinge of pain made him cry out and keep still in his chair. After biting his lips for five minutes he began again to suck the mouthpiece of his pipe, and after smoking up the air for another five minutes he said:

"Heh! My dear Duretti, it is a great satisfaction to fight for the greatness of one's country, and if it were not for that cursed Austrian shot which broke my leg I should like ..."

But Coccorito wouldn't let him finish and began to sing in his horrible voice:

"Every day,


When he grew great,

The soldiers he ate,

Ho, ho, ho!

He broke his leg,

Or so he said,

'Tis gout, you know,

Won't let him go ..."


He Threw His Pipe at the Bird

The general groaned and threw with all the strength he had left his big meerschaum pipe at the bird. Coccorito would have come to a sad end if the god of parrots had 202 not, as he always did, held his protecting hand over his tuft. The pipe grazed his head and fell in the street, while he, with a strong tug at his light brass chain, flew off and perched himself on the window-sill of the floor above, where he laughed loudly and cried:

"Ha, ha, ha!

The general to the front set out,

Felt a blow and down he fell,

Because he suffers from the gout.

He says his leg he broke—well, well—

For his King, for Italy

He broke his leg—he, he, he, he!"

But Coccorito could now sing in peace and be as insolent as he liked because the general was no longer paying any attention to him, for two excellent reasons. First, because, in spite of his high rank, he was not great enough to reach up to the second-floor window; second, and more important, because at the moment that his pipe fell in the street a carriage stopped in front of the house and out of it got a gentleman, a lady, and ... a small box they were carrying, and it was against this box that the strange projectile fell, making such a clatter that the lady couldn't help uttering a few words 203 of protest. Win-the-War, who never allowed any one to outdo him in courtesy, found it necessary to explain matters, and with the help of his orderly got up from his chair and dragged himself to the railing of the terrace.

"Pardon me, I beg you.... You are right to protest, but my pipe ... fell.... I threw it.... In short, it is all the fault of my parrot, who upset me and the pipe. Coccorito, show them at least ... so that the lady and gentleman may not believe ..."

"But don't imagine such a thing, General. Don't bother yourself ... it is no matter."

"Ha, ha, ha!

The general to the front set out,

Felt a blow and down he fell,

Because he suffers from the gout.

He says his leg he broke—well, well—

For his King, for Italy

He broke his leg—he, he, he, he!"

Coccorito began again.

"Oh, you wretch! Did you hear him?"

"Don't apologize, General. I beg your pardon. Does old Geppetto live here?"

"Yes, sir, on the floor above. Ring the second bell." 204

"Thank you."

"Not at all."

Old Geppetto was getting ready to mend an old table the legs of which were red with worm-holes and had in hand a piece of seasoned wood, a splendid piece. He was going to cut it with a hatchet and he had lifted up his hand holding the shining tool, when who knows what queer thoughts made his arm fall heavily. Did he perhaps remember that other famous piece of wood from which the sprightly little old man had shaped the wonderful puppet which had brought him so much bother and trouble? And what had become of him? Why had he sent no news of himself since he had gone out into the world like a real boy? Perhaps the poor little old man would have preferred to have him still at his side, a puppet as he used to be, and of wood out of which he had made him, than to be left thus alone in the last years of his life. He had tried so often to make another Pinocchio, but he had never been able to finish his work. His hands trembled; his eyes were no longer what they used to be, and even the wood—certainly it was the truth about the wood—wasn't what it used to be. 205

When he heard the bell ring he felt his heart beat, and he ran to open the door, swaying from side to side like a drunken man.

"Who's there?"

"It's I, Geppetto. Don't you recognize me?"

"My Fatina!"

"Yes, indeed, your Fatina who has come to introduce her husband, the Bersaglierino, to you, and to see how you are, and to bring you somebody you are fond of, very fond of," she replied, as they entered.

He gave her a long, questioning glance from beneath his spectacles; then he spied Pinocchio mischievously hiding behind Fatina and the Bersaglierino.

"Oh, Fatina! Fatina! How did they bring my poor puppet to such a state?" sobbed Geppetto as he looked at Pinocchio. "What under the sun is all this machinery and these contraptions? I made him of wood, all of wood, and so splendidly that no one was ever able to imitate him. Why did you let them abuse him in this way? Wouldn't it have been better if you had let him stay a real boy than to bring him back to me in this condition?" 206

And the dear little old man couldn't contain himself and gave vent to his sorrow in loud weeping.

Fatina and the Bersaglierino could find no words to comfort him with and looked at him compassionately, their own throats tightening. When Papa Geppetto had grown a little calmer he took his puppet in his arms and examined him carefully all over, shaking his head and drawing his lips tightly as if he wished to keep his sobs from bursting out again. He saw the artificial legs, the arm with its steel spring and the tweezers for hands; he saw the large silver plate which supported the breastbone—admired all this up-to-date mechanism, but was not in the least satisfied. The poor little old man preferred his wooden puppet all of wood to the marrow ... and he no longer recognized his old Pinocchio.

"Oh, Fatina!" he said, sighing, "who brought him to such a state?"

"Our country, dear friend."

"Our country?" and for a moment he stood there, his eyes wide open with surprise. "Our country, did you say, Fatina?" Then he was lost in thought again.


While the old man was bending over 207 Pinocchio, Fatina and Bersaglierino quietly slipped out of the door. Papa Geppetto was again alone with his beloved puppet in the same room where he had first carved the little fellow out of pine wood. 208

Don't you remember how Pinocchio first broke up everything before he ran away? How he knocked over the chest, rummaged the wardrobe, broke the mirror, upset the little table, turned over the chairs, pulled the pictures off the walls, and tore down the window-curtains? And don't you remember how he left everything in a mess and ran out into the street wrapped in a flowered chintz curtain?

Well, Pinocchio was home again, and Papa Geppetto had long ago repaired the things Pinocchio had broken. Everything was in good order except Pinocchio himself. That was what worried the old man. He did not care much about the mirrors, wardrobes, or window-curtains, but he did care about his little puppet friend whom he loved.

It was getting dark and old Geppetto sat down in a large armchair and held Pinocchio on his lap. As the shadows began to gather and the room to get darker, Papa Geppetto began to nod and soon closed his eyes. With his arms clasped around Pinocchio, he went to sleep.

If you could now step quietly into the room, you would see both of them asleep. The old man's head was resting on Pinocchio's 209 head, and Pinocchio's on Geppetto's shoulder.

The little puppet was sleeping quietly, but the old man was not. He seemed to be having a bad dream, judging from his sighs and groans.

"Oh, Pinocchio!" he said, aloud, in his sleep, "why did you run away and go to the war? Just look at you! No legs, and one arm gone! I wish you were my dear wooden puppet again."

Then the old man sighed, but kept on sleeping.

After about two hours Papa Geppetto awoke. It was now quite dark, but not so dark that the old man could not see that some change had come over Pinocchio. He looked down at the little sleeping puppet and what do you think he saw? Not artificial legs and an arm. Oh no! Pinocchio was just as he was when he was first made. Pinocchio was again the little wooden puppet!

Papa Geppetto was so overcome with joy that he caught up Pinocchio in his arms and hugged him so tight he nearly smothered the little fellow. And Pinocchio threw his arms around the old man's neck and kissed the top of his bald head.