Once upon a time, there was a kind old man called Geppetto. He lived alone and made beautiful wooden dolls. If you had met him on the street, you’d have thought he was happy. But he had always wanted to have a child. So, deep down, he was very lonely.
One day, in his workshop, Geppetto made a little puppet boy out of wood. He sighed and said, “If only this wooden boy was real! He could live here with me.”
What Geppetto didn’t know was that a Blue Fairy had been visiting his workshop. She had taken a liking to the old man. So when she heard his wish, she waved her magic wand. Then she flew out of the window.
Suddenly, Geppetto heard a strange noise. The little wooden boy was talking and dancing on the table. The puppet had come to life!
The old man was so happy that he shouted for joy. He said, “Hello, little wooden chap, I’m going to call you Pinocchio!” Pinocchio was so pleased to have a name, he did a funny dance that made them both laugh until their sides ached.
A few days later, Geppetto gave Pinocchio a present. Though Geppetto was very poor, he had bought books for Pinocchio, so that his wooden son could learn to read and write. Pinocchio’s eyes grew wide. He had never seen a book before! Geppetto chuckled, kissed the boy on the cheek, then pointed him in the direction of the nearby school.
“Goodbye, Pinocchio,” he said. “Have fun. But when school is over, come straight home.”
“Of course, Father,” said Pinocchio. He felt bad that Geppetto had to make do with a wooden son instead of a real boy. So he was eager to do all he could to make his father proud.
Pinocchio set off down the street, his little wooden legs going clickety-clack as he skipped down the lane.
On his way, he saw there was a puppet show in the town square. He loved watching the other puppets dancing. He wanted to join them.
Pinocchio thought he could dance even better than those puppets! So, he jumped up on the stage.
Soon Pinocchio was scooting and clomping, delighting the crowd. As the music played, Pinocchio twirled and waggled. The people watching clapped and clapped. The puppet owner was so pleased he gave Pinocchio five gold coins.
Pinocchio was thrilled. He said to himself, “Dear old Geppetto will be so proud of me when I give him this money!”
But two bad men had overheard Pinocchio, and seen the gold coins.
One of them said, “You danced so well with those puppets back there!”
The other one said, “And the puppet master gave you gold coins!”
The first man said, “We know a way you can double your money. There’s a place where you can bury these coins.”
Said the other man, “Bury the coins there, and they will turn into a tree of money. Your old father won’t have to work ever again.”
They led Pinocchio to a field. The men dug a little hole in the ground. Then they dropped in the gold coins. Plink, plink, plonk!
“Sit here until the magic money tree grows,” said the first man.
Pinocchio waited and waited. He sat there for such a long time that he got tired and fell fast asleep. Knowing this would happen, the bad men came back and dug up all the coins!
When Pinocchio woke up, he saw that the coins were all gone and that it was getting dark. “I was supposed to go straight home after school,” he said to himself. “Now I’m late and the old man will be angry!”
Pinocchio didn’t know what to do. He didn’t want to go home if Geppetto was going to be cross with him. “If only I were a real boy,” he thought to himself. “None of this would have happened!”
Suddenly, the Blue Fairy appeared. The fairy asked him who his parents were and where he lived. Pinocchio said, “I don’t live anywhere, and I haven’t got a mum or dad.”
The Blue Fairy knew that Pinocchio was telling fibs. And the little wooden boy’s nose started to grow!
“Are you sure?” asked the fairy.
“Yes,” said Pinocchio. His nose grew even longer.
“Really sure?” asked the fairy.
“Super-sure,” said Pinocchio, and his nose kept growing and growing!
The Blue Fairy said, “Go home to your father. Be a good boy and promise that you’ll tell no more fibs, please.”
Pinocchio promised and his nose went back to its usual size.
Just a few days later, Pinocchio was out walking by himself, when he saw a big tent. It was a circus! Next to the tent was an ice cream shop. Pinocchio was entranced. So many flavours to choose from! They all looked so delicious. Pinocchio reached into his pockets, but then remembered he didn’t have any money.
Just then, a boy came up to him. He was very friendly toward Pinocchio, and told him that he would pay for all the ice cream Pinnochio wanted. That was the best news Pinocchio had heard all day!
What the boy didn’t tell him was that this was magical ice cream, and eating a lot of it would turn him into a donkey!
Pinocchio ate and ate, and then he ate some more. Sure enough, tall furry ears suddenly sprouted on Pinocchio’s wooden head. His hands and feet turned into hooves. In no time at all, Pinocchio had turned completely into a donkey! The boy then brought Pinocchio to the man who owned the circus.
“Nicely done,” said the circus owner to the boy. “You wouldn’t believe how many donkeys I go through!”
The circus owner was a nasty man. He made Pinocchio work very hard. He had to pull heavy wagons all day long. Pinocchio wished harder than ever that he was a real boy. But he remained a donkey, and soon he was just too tired to do any more work.
The circus owner had no use for tired donkeys. So he threw Pinocchio into the sea! Pinocchio churned his donkey legs as fast as he could, but he continued to sink beneath the waves.
Fortunately, he turned back into a wooden puppet. Being wood, he began to float. Unfortunately, a huge whale swam by and, thinking Pinocchio was food, swallowed him up!
Now the little wooden boy was trapped inside the whale’s tummy and felt very sorry for himself. “I’ll never see Geppetto again!” Pinocchio moaned.
“You will if you turn around,” said a kindly voice behind him. It was Geppetto! You can imagine how surprised they were to see each other inside of a whale!
You see, the old man had gone looking for his beloved son. But on his way, Geppetto slipped and fell into the sea. He was gobbled up by the very same whale that soon would swallow Pinocchio too! But by now, poor old Geppetto hadn't eaten anything for ages. He was growing weaker by the minute.
However, the whale had also swallowed a great big fish. This fish was called Maurice, and he loved nothing more than to make others happy. He said to Pinocchio and his father, “Jump on my back. The next time the whale opens its mouth, we’ll all swim straight out!’
And that is exactly what they did. Geppetto held his breath as long as he could, and Maurice brought him and his little wooden son safely to shore. When they finally arrived home, Pinocchio made Geppetto some hot, warming soup. Over the next few days, Pinocchio nursed his father back to health. The old man felt much better again.
The Blue Fairy had been sitting on the windowsill the whole time. She saw how Pinocchio had been so patient and tender as he looked after his father. The fairy waved her magic wand over Pinocchio and said, “You have shown great kindness and love.”
Suddenly, Pinocchio felt his arms and legs. They weren’t wooden any longer! And he could feel a real heart beating in his chest. How overjoyed he was! Geppetto finally had the real son he had always wanted.
And the two of them lived happily ever after.