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- Pinocchio in Africa - 10/16 -
"Hello there!" he said in a low voice. No one answered.
"Hello there!" repeated the marionette a little louder. But there was no answer.
"They are deaf, or asleep, or dead!" concluded the marionette, after calling out at the top of his voice again and again.
Then he thought it might be a deserted village, and he entered bravely between the towers. There was no one to be seen. As he stretched out his tired limbs on the ground he murmured. "Since it is useless to think of eating, I may at least rest." And in a few minutes he was sound asleep.
He dreamed that he was being pulled along by an army of small insects that resembled ants. It seemed to him that he was making every effort to stop them, but he could not succeed. They dragged and rolled him down a slope toward a frightful precipice, over which he must fall. I even seemed as if they had entered his mouth by hundreds, busying themselves in tearing out his tongue. It served him right, too, because his tongue had made many false promises and caused everybody much suffering."You will never tell any more lies!" the ants seemed to say.
Then the marionette awoke with a struggle and a cry of fear. His dream was a reality. He was covered with ants. He brushed them off his face, his arms, his legs, - in short, his whole body. They had tortured him for four or five hours, and only the fact that he was made of very hard wood had saved his life.
"Thanks to my strong constitution." thought the marionette, "I am as good as new."
28. Pinocchio Is Carried Away In An Eggshell
PINOCCHIO now found himself in a dense growth of shrubbery which made his progress difficult. He pushed on among the thorny plants. They would have stopped any one but a wooden marionette. His clothes were torn, to be sure, but he did not mind that.
"Soon I shall have a suit that will make me look like a price. Goods of the best quality, and tailoring that has never been equaled! The gold, the silver, and the diamonds must be found." And he went on at a brisk gait as if he had been on the highway.
Trees, shrubs, underbrush, nothing else! The scene would have grown tiresome had it not been for a swarm of butterflies of the most beautiful and brilliant colors. They flew here and there, now letting themselves be carried by the wind, now hovering about in search of the flowers hidden in the thick foliage.From time to time a hare would run between Pinocchio's feet, and after a few bounds would turn sharply around to stare at him with curious eyes, as much as to say that a marionette was a comical sight. Young monkeys peeped through the leaves, laughed at him, and then scampered away.
Pinocchio walked along fearlessly, caring little for what went on around him, and thinking only of the treasures for which he was seeking.
On and on he walked until at length he found himself at the edge of a vast plain. He gave a great sigh of relief. The long march through the woods had tired him. However, he kept his eyes open, now and then looking down at his feet to see if any precious stones were lying about. Presently his attention was drawn to a great hole or nest, in which he saw some white objects shaped like hen's eggs, but considerably larger than his head.
Curious to see whether or not he could lift one, Pinocchio approached the nest. Just then he heard a frightful noise behind him.
Turning quickly, the marionette saw a huge bird running toward him. The next moment a powerful push sent him head over heels upon one of the eggs! As he fell he heard a loud crash, and at almost the same instant found himself carried through the air. What had befallen him?
Of course, the hole was the nest of an ostrich. Enraged at the sight of the broken egg, the fierce bird had seized in its powerful beak that part of the shell into which the unfortunate marionette had fallen, and was now rushing across the plain with the swiftness of an express train.
The marionette screamed in terror, and with the stick which he still held in his hand rained blows upon the bird's long neck. But the blows had no effect whatever. The furious creature ran and ran and ran. Pinocchio, gasping for breath, was certain that his end was near.
The mad race lasted for hours. Suddenly the marionette was thrown into a muddy pool, in which he sank up to his neck like a frog. Having no desire to be suffocated in the mud, he raised his head a little, although he did not try to climb out. What he saw surprised him beyond measure.
29. Pinocchio Escapes Again
HIS ostrich was no longer alone. There stood another. The new arrival, somewhat smaller, but uglier and even more ferocious than the first, moved cautiously, ready for fight. Suddenly Pinocchio saw the gleam of a knife, and an instant later the ostrich that had carried him thus far fell to the ground, wounded to death. The marionette could not understand how it was possible for a bird to carry a knife hidden beneath its wings and to make use of it. Yet the thing had happened right before his eyes; there was no doubt about it.
While seeking an explanation for his very strange incident, he saw the victorious ostrich draw first one arm, then the other, from beneath its feathers, and finally take off its beak and place it upon the ground. The second ostrich was a man.
Pinocchio now began to understand what had happened, and to hate the trickster who had put on the feathers of an ostrich, in order to attack and kill the poor creature that lay there breathing its last.
The man approached the dying ostrich and tried to lift the huge bird to his shoulders, but in spite of his great strength he failed. Then looking about in search of help, he saw the marionette, whose head was out of the water, and signaled to him to come ashore. Pinocchio would have refused, but there was the knife lying on the ground, and there was the man. He decided to obey.
He came out of the pond as best he could, and the ugly black man began to laugh. He laughed and laughed until he was able to stand no longer, and could only throw himself upon the ground, where he lay, breathless and weak. The marionette, seeing this, said to himself: "If I do not escape now, it will be my own fault. My dear legs, it is no dishonor to run when you must!" and he went on at a gallop toward a hill which could be seen a short distance away.
"May you die of laughing, you villain!" he cried as he ran.
Presently he was somewhat alarmed to discover that the man was running after him. Feeling sure, however, that he could easily outrun his pursuer, he halted a moment, as if waiting for him. The man was hurrying on, thinking that the boy could go no farther, when the saucy marionette, putting his hand to his mouth, shouted "Cuckoo!" Then at a pace swifter than the wind he set off once more, pausing now and again to call out, "Cuckoo! Cuckoo!"
Pinocchio had nearly reached the top of the hill, and the man was halfway up, when a loud roar made them both stop. Turning around, they saw that a lion was carrying off the dead ostrich. At that, the hunter thrust his fingers into his curly hair, and without paying further attention to the marionette, started off to regain the knife, which was still lying where it had fallen.
"Tit for tat," Pinocchio shouted after him, and went on up the hill.
30. Pinocchio Is Swallowed By A Crocodile
WHEN Pinocchio reached the top of the hill he looked around for a place where he could rest. He thought of the lion that had carried off the ostrich, and he did not like the idea of meeting him. Fortunately there were no signs of life, but neither was there any place where he could sit down in comfort. Sand and rocks, rocks and sand were everywhere. In the distance he saw water.
"At any rate," he said, "I shall at least be able to wash myself;" and he turned his footsteps toward the water.
He arrived before long at the water's edge. How fresh and clean it was! He was so dusty and tired that there was only one thing to do, take a bath! When Pinocchio decided upon a course of action he did not hesitate. In an instant he was undressed.
As he started toward the water a voice cried, "Pinocchio! Pinocchio!"
"Oh, let Pinocchio alone!" the marionette said, and leaped into the air.
Horrors! As he came flying down, a green mass rose to the surface of the river. It was a crocodile! Pinocchio saw it and shuddered, but there was no time to cry out. Down, down he went into that open mouth! But wooden marionettes are always fortunate. The crocodile's throat was so wide that Pinocchio slipped into the stomach of the creature with great ease. Not even a scratch! As he was accustomed to being under water and inside the bodies of animals, he was not at all frightened. In fact, when he noticed that he was being carried down to the bottom of the river, where it was cool and refreshing, he uttered no word of complaint, but rather enjoyed the experience.The crocodile crawled in to a cave, and prepared to digest the marionette at its leisure. Pinocchio was naturally annoyed at this and began to kick and squirm about.
At first this did not seem to cause any ill effects, but Pinocchio kicked and struggled until the poor reptile could not help wondering what the trouble was, and began to twist and shake its whole body. Pinocchio did not stop. Presently the crocodile decided to return to the surface and deposit the marionette upon the bank. Pinocchio desired nothing better. As soon as he saw a ray of light he became very quiet. The crocodile, now that the trouble seemed over, was about to return to its cave, but it had made this plan without consulting our wooden marionette.
"Suppose I let the beast carry me a short distance! I can make it throw me upon the bank later as well as now! It may carry me to some place where - enough, I am going to try it! A green ship, without
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