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Carlo Collodi

Master Cherry Gives a Present to Geppetto

Master Cherry makes a present of the piece of wood to his friend Geppetto, who takes it to make for himself a wonderful puppet, that shall know how to dance, and to fence, and to leap like an acrobat.

A T that moment some one knocked at the door.

"Come in," said the carpenter, without having the strength to rise to his feet.


A lively little old man immediately walked into the shop. His name was Geppetto, but when the boys of the neighbourhood wished to put him in a passion they called him by the nickname of Polendina, because his yellow wig greatly resembled a pudding made of Indian corn.

Geppetto was very fiery. Woe to him who called him Polendina! He became furious, and there was no holding him.

"Good Day, Master Antonio," said Geppetto; "what are you doing there on the floor?"

"I am teaching the alphabet to the ants."

"Much good may that do you."

"What has brought you to me, neighbour Geppetto?"

"My legs. But to say the truth, Master Antonio, I am come to ask a favour of you."

"Here I am, ready to serve you," replied the carpenter, getting on to his knees.

"This morning an idea came into my head."

"Let us hear it."

"I thought I would make a beautiful wooden puppet; but a wonderful puppet that should know how to dance, to fence, and to leap like an acrobat. With this puppet I would travel about the world to earn a piece of bread and a glass of wine. What do you think of it?"

"Bravo, Polendina!" exclaimed the same little voice, and it was impossible to say where it came from.

Hearing himself called Polendina Geppetto became as red as a turkey-cock from rage, and turning to the carpenter he said in a fury:

"Why do you insult me?"

"Who insults you?"

"You called me Polendina! . . ."

"It was not I!"

"Would you have it, then, that it was I? It was you, I say!"





And becoming more and more angry, from words they came to blows, and flying at each other they bit, and fought, and scratched manfully.

When the fight was over Master Antonio was in possession of Geppetto's yellow wig, and Geppetto discovered that the grey wig belonging to the carpenter had remained between his teeth.


When the fight was over.

"Give me back my wig," screamed Master Antonio.

"And you, return me mine, and let us make friends."

The two old men having each recovered his own wig shook hands, and swore that they would remain friends to the end of their lives.

"Well then, neighbour Geppetto," said the carpenter, to prove that peace was made, "what is the favour that you wish of me?"

"I want a little wood to make my puppet; will you give me some?"

Master Antonio was delighted, and he immediately went to the bench and fetched the piece of wood that had caused him so much fear. But just as he was going to give it to his friend the piece of wood gave a shake, and wriggling violently out of his hands struck with all its force against the dried-up shins of poor Geppetto.

"Ah! is that the courteous way in which you make your presents, Master Antonio? You have almost lamed me! . . ."

"I swear to you that it was not I! . . ."

"Then you would have it that it was I? . . ."

"The wood is entirely to blame! . . ."

"I know that it was the wood; but it was you that hit my legs with it! . . ."

"I did not hit you with it! . . ."


"Geppetto, don't insult me or I will call you Polendina! . . ."







On hearing himself called Polendina for the third time Geppetto, blind with rage, fell upon the carpenter and they fought desperately.

When the battle was over, Master Antonio had two more scratches on his nose, and his adversary had two buttons too little on his waistcoat. Their accounts being thus squared they shook hands, and swore to remain good friends for the rest of their lives.

Geppetto carried off his fine piece of wood and, thanking Master Antonio, returned limping to his house.