This classic Italian story had evolved for centuries since it was first written as a children novel by Carlo Collodi. The original version is far from being beautiful. It is on the contrary a depressing story with a tragic ending.
Pinocchio is a story of a wooden puppet boy whose nose will grow longer every time he lies. In the version we are most familiar with, the puppet dream of becoming a real boy and after series of mischievous adventure, the blue fairy finally grants his wish. However, this is not the story originally written by Collodi in 1881. It Collodi’sversion, Pinocchio was severely punished for his misdeed and had no chance at all to fulfill his dream.
The creation of Pinocchio
In popular version, Pinocchio was created overnight without difficulties and at first he was a sweet little wooden boy. Geppetto was also described as a kind old man who loves little children. In the original version, Pinocchio was carved through a long process and Geppetto’s character was far more complicated.
In the original, the second Geppetto carved out the puppet’s nose; it began doing mischievous things on him. It chuckle and stuck out his tongue at him, it snatched his wig and kicked him hard. Even when he was still lump of wood, Pinocchio had already shown his character as a naughty boy.
Right after Geppetto finished carving, Pinocchio started to make more trouble by escaping into the street. A policeman saw Pinochio running with Gepetto chasing after him. Geppetto was known for his reputation as children hater. So the police thought Geppetto had abused Pinocchio and arrested him. Only after the police learned the truth he released Geppetto from prison.
In the original version the condition of extreme poverty in which Geppetto and Pinocchio lived was described very clearly. When Geppetto was in prison Pinocchio had to beg for food in the street. A man, who was annoyed by his pleas, poured Pinocchio’s head with a basin of cold water instead. When Pinocchio wanted to go to school, Geppetto had to sell his cart and only coat in winter time to buy Pinocchio’s book.
This, some critics say, is a reflection of harsh life condition in Italy where the writer was living by the time he wrote this book. The story portrayed how people living in 19th century Italy strive for food and shelter. This reality is never shown in the more popular version.
Unlike the popular Disney version, in the original story, the adventure of Pinocchio is exhaustingly long. In the first part of the original version, Pinocchio escaped slavery in a marionette theater, rescued from robbers and returned home. In the second part, after returning home, instead of going to school as he had promised, he went in search of miracle land, a place where gold coins could grow on tree. Instead of finding
The Blue Fairy took care of him when Geppetto was absent. The boy went to school, had a fight with some boy, caught by ogre, rescued by policemen, and went to school again. This time he did well in school but alas, some boys talked him into going to Toyland. There he played all the time, get drunk, and eventually turned into a donkey. As donkey, he was again enslaved in a circus where he was beaten all day, broke his leg during a performance, sold to a man who drown him into the sea and eaten by whale.
In addition, Pinocchio had to experience numerous attempted murders. A puppet master tried to use him as firewood, the robbers tangled his neck, a snake tried to bite him, a farmer tied him up in a doghouse, an ogre tried to eat him and a man push him into the ocean.
The only adventures that Pinocchio experienced in the more popular version are the slavery in Marionette Theater and Toyland. Such a short, less challenging and more bearable journey compared to the original.
In the more popular version, Jiminy, the talking cricket is a central character of the story. He accompanies Pinocchio wherever he goes and serves as his conscience. In the original version, Jiminy Cricket was absent in most part of the story because even before the adventure started, Pinocchio had already killed him by knocking him with a hammer when Jiminy advised Pinocchio to behave. In this case, Pinocchio is involved in criminal action of murder. So glad, my children never knew this version.
The brutal end
After a long and harsh journey, you might think that Pinocchio deserves a happy ending. Indeed after getting a little punishment for his misdeed, Disney gives Pinocchio a “happily ever after”. But in the original, there was no mercy for Pinocchio. He was hanged in a tree for a year due to his innumerable faults and his eyes pecked out by crows.
Collodi’s editor thought that this brutal ending was not appropriate for children and asked Collodi to change it. As a result another chapter was added in which the Blue Fairy rescued Pinocchio (again) and finally transferred him into a real boy.