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- Pinocchio in Africa - 4/16 -
"To defend yourself against the wild animals."
"Come, come! You don't want me to believe that! I have seen what the wild animals of Africa are!"
"Be careful, marionette. Take a good rifle with you, for one never knows what will happen in Africa."
"But I do not know how to load one."
"Well, then, stay at home. It is folly for you to begin such an undertaking without arms and without knowing how to use them."
"It is you who are foolish. Do not make me angry. When I have decided upon a thing no one can stop me from carrying it out."
"Take care, marionette; you may be sorry."
"Nevertheless I shall go."
"You may find things very unpleasant."
"It is for that very reason that I am going."
"You may never return."
"The good Fairy will protect me."
"Who is the Fairy?"
"How may things you want to know! If you are in need of nothing else, I will bid you all good-by!"
"Till we meet again."
"Don't be rude! said Pinocchio, greatly vexed, and out he went.
9. Pinocchio Does Not Sleep
WHEN Pinocchio arrived at his home he found his father already in bed. Old Geppetto did not earn enough to provide a supper for two. He used to say that he was not hungry, and go to bed. But there was always plenty for Pinocchio. An onion, some beans moistened in water, and a piece of bread which had been left over from the morning, were never missing.
That night Pinocchio found a better meal than usual.
His good father, not having seen his son at the regular dinner hour, knew that the boy would be very hungry. There would have to be something out of the ordinary. He therefore added to the fare some dried fish and a delicious morsel of orange peel. "He will even have fruit," the good man had said to himself, smiling at the joy his dear Pinocchio would feel on seeing himself treated like a man of the world.
The marionette ate his supper with relish, and having finished his meal, went over to his sleeping father and kissed him as a reward for the fish and the orange peel. Pinocchio, to say the least, had a good heart, and would have done anything for his father except study and work.
That night he slept little. Lions, elephants, tigers, panthers, beautiful women dressed in silk and mounted on butterflies as large as eagles, men, in large boots, armed with knives and guns, palaces of silver and gold! All these and a great many more strange sights floated before his dreaming eyes, while he could hear animals roaring, howling, and whistling to the sound of trumpets and drums.
At length the night needed and Pinocchio arose. First of all he went to bid farewell to his friends in the circus, but they were no longer to be found. During the night the director had quietly stolen away with his company.
"A pleasant journey to you!" said Pinocchio, and he began to search the ground for a forgotten piece of gold, or some precious stone which might have fallen from a lady's diadem; but he found nothing.
"What shall I do now? Shall I go to Africa or to school? It might be better to go to school, for the teacher says that I am a little behind in reading, writing, composition, history, geography, and arithmetic. In other subjects I am not so dull. Yes, yes; it will certainly do me more good to go to school. Then I shall be a dunce no longer."
Having made this sensible decision, the marionette started for home with the idea of studying his lessons and of going to school.
10. Pinocchio Eats Dates
SOON he met a man in a paper hat and a white apron. He was pushing a cart filled with a kind of fruit that Pinocchio had never seen before.
"Dates! dates! fresh dates! sweet dates! real African dates!" came the cry.
"Even he speaks of Africa!" thought Pinocchio. "Africa seems to follow me. But what has Africa to do with dates, and what are these dates? I have never heard of them." The man stopped; Pinocchio stopped also. A lady bought some of the dates, and it happened that one of them fell on the ground. The marionette picked it up and handed it to her.
"Thank you," she said with a smile. "Keep it yourself; you have earned it."
The man with the cart went on, "Dates! dates! fresh dates! sweet dates! real African dates!"
Pinocchio looked after him for a time and then put the date into his mouth. Great Caesar! How delicious! Never before had he tasted anything so sweet. The orange peel was nothing compared with this! What the circus people had told him, then, was really true!
"To Africa I go," he said, "even if I break a leg. What do I care about the Red Sea, the Yellow Sea, the Green, or any other sea? I will go!"
And the rascal, forgetting his home and his father, who at that very moment was waiting to give him his breakfast, set out toward the sea.
As he neared the water he heard a voice call, "Pinocchio! Pinocchio!"
The marionette stopped and looked around, but seeing no one, he went on.
"Pinocchio! Pinocchio! Be careful! You know not what you do!"
"Farewell and many thanks," answered the stubborn marionette, and forthwith stepped into the sea.
"The water is like ice this morning. No wonder it makes me feel cold; but I know how to get rid of a chill. A good swim, and I am as warm as ever." Out shot his arms and he plunged into the water. The journey to Africa had begun.
At noon he still swam on. It grew dark and on he swam. Later the moon arose and grinned at him. He kept on swimming, without a sign of fatigue, of hunger, or of sleepiness. A marionette can do things that would tire a real boy, and to Pinocchio swimming was no task at all.
11. Pinocchio Lands On A Rock
THE moon grinned again and disappeared behind a cloud. The night grew dark. Pinocchio continued to swim through the black waters. He could see nothing ahead. He swam, swam, swam into the dark. Suddenly he felt something scrape his body, and he gave a start.
"Who goes there?" he cried. No one answered. "Perhaps it is my old friend the shark, who has recognized me," thought he; and he rapidly swam on to get away from the spot which reminded him of that terrible monster.
He had not gone more than fifty yards when his head ran against something rough and hard. "Oh!" cried the marionette, and he raised his hand to the injured part.
Then, as he noticed a large rock standing out of the water, he cried joyously; "I have arrived! I am in Africa!"
He got up on his feet and began to feel of himself all over, his ribs, his stomach, his legs. Everything was in order.
"Nothing broken!" he said. "The rocks on the way have been very kind. However, I hope that day will break soon, for I have no matches, and it seems to me that I am very hungry."
Then he began to move on carefully. First he put down one foot and then the other, and thus crept along till he found a comfortable spot. "I seem to be very tired and sleepy also," he said.
With that, he lay down and went off in to a deep slumber.
When he awoke it was daylight. The sun shone red and hot. There was nothing to be seen but rocks and water.
"Is this Africa?" said the marionette, greatly troubled. "Even at dawn it seems to be very warm. When the sun gets a little higher I am likely to be baked." And he wiped the sweat from his brow on his coat sleeve. Presently clouds began to rise out of the water. They grew darker and darker, and the day, instead of being bright, gradually became gloomy and overcast.
The sun disappeared.
"This is funny!" said Pinocchio. "What jokes the sun plays in these parts! It shines for a while and then disappears."
Poor marionette! It did not occur to him at first that he had slept the whole day, and that instead of the rising he saw the setting of the sun.
12. The First Night In Africa
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