The Marionettes recognize their brother Pinocchio,and greet him with loud cheers; but the Director, Fire Eater,happens along and poor Pinocchio almost loses his lifeQuick as a flash, Pinocchio disappeared into theMarionette Theater. And then something happened whichalmost caused a riot.
The curtain was up and the performance had started.
Harlequin and Pulcinella were reciting on the stage and,as usual, they were threatening each other with sticks and blows.
The theater was full of people, enjoying the spectacleand laughing till they cried at the antics of the two Marionettes.
The play continued for a few minutes, and then suddenly,without any warning, Harlequin stopped talking.
Turning toward the audience, he pointed to the rear ofthe orchestra, yelling wildly at the same time:
"Look, look! Am I asleep or awake? Or do I really seePinocchio there?""Yes, yes! It is Pinocchio!" screamed Pulcinella.
"It is! It is!" shrieked Signora Rosaura, peeking in fromthe side of the stage.
"It is Pinocchio! It is Pinocchio!" yelled all the Marionettes,pouring out of the wings. "It is Pinocchio. It is our brotherPinocchio! Hurrah for Pinocchio!""Pinocchio, come up to me!" shouted Harlequin. "Cometo the arms of your wooden brothers!"At such a loving invitation, Pinocchio, with one leapfrom the back of the orchestra, found himself in the frontrows. With another leap, he was on the orchestra leader'shead. With a third, he landed on the stage.
It is impossible to describe the shrieks of joy, the warmembraces, the knocks, and the friendly greetings withwhich that strange company of dramatic actors andactresses received Pinocchio.
It was a heart-rending spectacle, but the audience,seeing that the play had stopped, became angry and beganto yell:
"The play, the play, we want the play!"The yelling was of no use, for the Marionettes, insteadof going on with their act, made twice as much racket asbefore, and, lifting up Pinocchio on their shoulders, carriedhim around the stage in triumph.
At that very moment, the Director came out of hisroom. He had such a fearful appearance that one lookat him would fill you with horror. His beard was asblack as pitch, and so long that it reached from his chindown to his feet. His mouth was as wide as an oven, histeeth like yellow fangs, and his eyes, two glowing redcoals. In his huge, hairy hands, a long whip, made ofgreen snakes and black cats' tails twisted together, swishedthrough the air in a dangerous way.
At the unexpected apparition, no one dared even tobreathe. One could almost hear a fly go by. Those poorMarionettes, one and all, trembled like leaves in a storm.
"Why have you brought such excitement into mytheater;" the huge fellow asked Pinocchio with the voiceof an ogre suffering with a cold.
"Believe me, your Honor, the fault was not mine.""Enough! Be quiet! I'll take care of you later."As soon as the play was over, the Director went tothe kitchen, where a fine big lamb was slowly turningon the spit. More wood was needed to finish cooking it.