Nov 21, 08
Recommended to Stephan by:
Read in November, 2008
"Centuries ago there lived- "A king!" my little readers will say immediately. No, children, you are wrong."
That's how Collodi's "The Adventures of Pinocchio" begins and differs from what I could have imagined (or what I imagined only knowing, or rather remembering, Disney's warped version of it). --SPOILERS TO FOLLOW-- "Jiminy Cricket" in Disney's version as the conscience or ghost is actually just called the "the talking cricket" and lives on Geppetto's wall. Pinocchio kills him with a hammer in the beginning.
There are other eerie and adult concepts in the original: Pinocchio burns his feet off. He is hung from a tree until he dies (and, as I learned later, this was actually how the story ended when it was a serial). He bites a cat's paw off. His leg is caught in a bear trap. Gets arrested. He does turn into a donkey, but is whipped and his legs go lame after missing a jump in the circus.
Apparently children's stories in this time - late quarter of the 18th century - were a new idea. And it reads simple, but has all these complex allegories and themes. The story follows Pinocchio in a series of mistakes, whereupon he is taught a lesson (and brought farther and farther from Geppeto - who he is separated from most the book). There is mention of him hoping to become a boy, and his nose grows long - but none of it as prominent in the Disney version. Mostly though, the story is one of a boy who is lazy and inconsiderate.
He meets characters like the Blue-haired fairy (who could stand for so many things including the virgin mary). Or monsters, or crabs or weasels and cats. Each with a sinister personality. Trying to trick Pinocchio or forgive him over and over. Collodi's original is just richer - spookier.