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- Pinocchio in Africa - 3/16 -

there is any Africa outside this tent?"

"Tent or no tent, I have decided to go to Africa, and I shall go," boldly replied the marionette.

"I like that youngster," said the man who played the part of a crocodile. "That boy will make his fortune someday."

"Of course I shall!" continued Pinocchio. "I ought to have fifty thousand francs, because I must get a new jacket for my father, who sold his old one to buy me a spelling book. If there is so much gold and silver in Africa, I will fill up a thousand vessels. Is it true that there is a great deal of gold and silver?"

"Did we not tell you so?" replied another voice. "Why, if I had not lost all that I had put in my pockets before leaving Africa, by this time I should have become a prince. And now were it not for the fact that I have promised to stay with these people, to be a panther at two francs and a half a day, I would gladly go along with you."

"Thank you; thank you for your good intentions," answered the marionette. "In case you decide to go with me, I start to-morrow morning at dawn."

"On what steamship?"

"What did you say?" asked Pinocchio.

"On what steamship do you sail?"

"Sail! I am going on foot."

At these words everybody laughed.

"There is little to laugh at, my dear people. If you knew how many miles I have traveled on these legs by day and by night, over land and sea, you would not laugh. What! do you think Fairyland, the country of the Blockheads, and the Island of the Bees are reached in a single stride? I go to Africa, and I go on foot."

"But it is necessary to cross the Mediterranean Sea."

"It will be crossed."

"On foot?"

"Either on foot or on horseback, it matters little. But pardon me, after crossing the Mediterranean Sea, do you reach Africa?"

"Certainly, unless you wish to go by way of the Red Sea."

"The Red Sea? No, truly!"

"Perhaps the route over the Red Sea would be better."

"I do not wish to go near the Red Sea."

"And why?" asked the wolf man, who up to this time had not opened his mouth.

"Why? Why? Because I do not wish to get my clothes dyed; do you understand?"

More laughter greeted these words. Pinocchio's wooden cheeks got very red, and he sputtered: "This is no way to treat a gentleman. I shall do as I please, and I do not please to enter the Red Sea. That is enough. Now I shall leave you, and he started off.

"Farewell, farewell, marionette!"

"Farewell, you impolite beasts!" Pinocchio wanted to call out, but he did not.

"Come back!" cried the bearded man; "here is the bucket; please fill it once more, for I am still thirsty."

7. Pinocchio In Doubt

PINOCCHIO went away very angry, vowing that he would avenge himself on all who had laughed at him.

"To begin with," said he, "I intend to make them all die of thirst. If they wait to drink of the water that I bring, they will certainly die." With these thoughts in his mind the marionette started homeward, carrying the bucket on his head.

"The bucket will repay me for all the work I have had put upon me. How unlucky we children are! Wherever we go, there is always something for us to do. To-day I thought I would simply enjoy myself; instead, I have had to carry water for a company of strangers. How absurd! two trips, one after the other, to give drink to people I do not know! And how they drink! they seem to be sponges. For my part they can be thirsty as long as they like. I feel now as if I would never again move a finger for them. I am not going to be laughed at."

As he finished these remarks Pinocchio arrived at the fountain. It was delightful to see the clear water rushing out, but he could not help thinking of those poor creatures who were waiting for him. He had to stop.

"Shall I or shall I not?" he asked himself. "After all, they are good people, who are forced to imitate wild animals; and besides, they have treated me with some kindness. I may as well carry some water to them; a trip more or less makes no difference to me."

He approached the fountain, filled the bucket, and ran down the road.

"Hello within there!" he said in a low voice. "Here is the bucket of water; come and take it, for I am not going in."

"Good marionette," said the beasts, "thank you!"

"Don't mention it," replied Pinocchio, very happy.

"Why will you not come in?"

"It is impossible, thank you. I must go to school."

"Then you are not going to Africa?"

"Who told you that! I am returning to school to bid farewell to my teacher, and to ask him to excuse me for a few days. Then I wish to see my father and ask his permission to go, so that he will not be anxious while I am away."

"Excellent marionette, you will become famous."

"What agreeable people!" thought Pinocchio. "I am sorry to leave them."

"So you really will not come in?"

"No, I have said so before. I must go to school first, and then - "

"But it seems to me rather late for school," said the crocodile man.

"That is true; it is too late for school," replied Pinocchio.

"Well, then, stay a little longer with us, and later you can go home to your father."

Pinocchio thrust his head through the hole and leaped into the tent. The naughty marionette had not the least desire to go to school, and was only too glad of an excuse to watch these strange people.

8. He Bids Good-by To The Animals

THE show had begun. The director was explaining to the people the wonders of his menagerie.

"Ladies and gentlemen, observe the beauty and the wildness of all these animals, which I have brought from Central Africa. Here they are, inclosed in these many cages, but hidden from your view. Why are they hidden? Because, ladies and gentlemen, you would be frightened at the sight of them, and your peace and health greatly concern me. The first animal which I have the pleasure to present to you is the elephant. Observe, ladies and gentlemen, that small affair which hangs under his nose. With that he builds houses, tills the soil, writes letters, carries trunks, and picks flowers. You can see that the animal was painted from life and placed in this beautiful frame."

The people began to look at one another.

"Now, ladies and gentlemen, let us go on to the next one."

A roar of laughter and jeers arose on all sides. The director saw the unfortunate state of things and began to shout: "Have respect, ladies, for the poor sick monkey I told you of. At this moment she is pressing to her breast for the last time her friendless child."

But not even this was sufficient to calm the crowd, which presently became an infuriated mob. Men and women rushed about the tent, making fierce gestures and heaping abuse upon the director. What an uproar!

In the cage where Pinocchio was, there was no confusion, and the conversation between the marionette and the wild beasts went on without stopping.

"When do you leave for Africa?" Pinocchio was asked.

"Have I not told you? To-morrow morning at daybreak, even if it rains."

"Excellent! But you must carry with you several things which you may need."

"And those are - ?"

"First of all you will need plenty of money."

"That is not lacking," said Pinocchio in his usual airy way.

"Good! Then you should get a rifle."

"What for?"

Pinocchio in Africa - 3/16

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