One of the most interesting stories that I have ever read is the original Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi from 1881 based on a folk tale from Tuscany, Italy. It’s deepness and meaning can easily be overlooked and is not part of the Disney version, so it keeps to be mostly unknown.
While the most famous part of the Pinocchio story is the one with his truth telling nose, the most intriguing part in my view is the brilliance in the narrative itself.
Pinocchio is a wooden puppet made by a cabinetmaker named Gepetto. This old master of his craft formed with love and care this little doll and is part of the old Italian tradition of making burattinos (puppet in Italian). Wooden marionettes are made in Northern Italy for centuries and it is a special craft of its own, involving carving, chiselling, sawing and tying.
When Gepetto in the story goes to create Pinocchio, he does this not as a means to kill the hours in his day. He does this with the focused intent to create a wooden doll that is so strong and full of character that it will become alive one day. He manages to get a piece of enchanted wood and starts working.
As he makes the finishing touches Pinocchio starts his existence as a little marionette. And what happens next is that Pinocchio turns out to be mean and starts abusing the old man. Pinocchio is grumpy and rude and as soon as he has his legs, he runs away, leaving the old man and is pestering other people out there. He ignores good advice and even kills a cricket when he gets criticized.
For notoriously taking wrong choices in life as a result of his selfish nature, in the story he even shortly turns into a donkey. His bad apple sort of mentality brings him into the arms of the Fox and the Cat who want to steal the pieces of gold, Gepetto gave into Pinocchios pocket. When they were on the way to assassinate him, he gets saved at the last moment.
Near the end he is swallowed by a terrible Shark. Inside his belly Pinocchio finds his creator, old Gepetto and takes care of him and starts listening.
Finally his heart changes and he turns into a real boy.
What an interesting little story.
And I have to say, that during strange times in my life, I feel like I came close to turning into a donkey for being ignorant, just like Pinocchio.
What if this episode is what happens to all of us?
What if we all live through funky times, experiencing at some point the destructive tendencies in ourselves that wait to be tamed? Because it is set up that way we can make a conscious choice who we want to be.
It is we ourselves who decide what our true nature is and what type of character we want to represent.
There is this saying, being born as a human is easy, becoming a human ist hard.
We all in some aspects are wooden marionettes, made from the enchanted stuff called life. When we start out, many good wishes come our way. But we have to make ourselves good characters, getting over cul de sacs like ignorance, aggression and ill intent.
And when we do it right, we get to meet a good fairy at some point who helps us get back on our feet when we have totally messed up. Good to know…
I hope you now share my fascination for the true Tuscan Pinocchio story!
And just in case: Stay away from sharks, stitch pieces of gold to your pocket and change to the left side of the street when you see a Fox and a Cat together! 😃
So much love,