The great battle between Pinocchio and his playmates.
One is wounded. Pinocchio is arrestedGoing like the wind, Pinocchio took but a very short timeto reach the shore. He glanced all about him, but there wasno sign of a Shark. The sea was as smooth as glass.
"Hey there, boys! Where's that Shark?" he asked,turning to his playmates.
"He may have gone for his breakfast," said one of them, laughing.
"Or, perhaps, he went to bed for a little nap,"said another, laughing also.
From the answers and the laughter which followed them,Pinocchio understood that the boys had played a trick on him.
"What now?" he said angrily to them. "What's the joke?""Oh, the joke's on you!" cried his tormentors, laughingmore heartily than ever, and dancing gayly around the Marionette.
"And that is--?""That we have made you stay out of school to comewith us. Aren't you ashamed of being such a goody-goody,and of studying so hard? You never have a bit of enjoyment.""And what is it to you, if I do study?""What does the teacher think of us, you mean?""Why?""Don't you see? If you study and we don't, we pay forit. After all, it's only fair to look out for ourselves.""What do you want me to do?""Hate school and books and teachers, as we all do. Theyare your worst enemies, you know, and they like to makeyou as unhappy as they can.""And if I go on studying, what will you do to me?""You'll pay for it!""Really, you amuse me," answered the Marionette, nodding his head.
"Hey, Pinocchio," cried the tallest of them all, "that will do.
We are tired of hearing you bragging about yourself,you little turkey cock! You may not be afraid of us,but remember we are not afraid of you, either!
You are alone, you know, and we are seven.""Like the seven sins," said Pinocchio, still laughing.
"Did you hear that? He has insulted us all. He has called us sins.""Pinocchio, apologize for that, or look out!""Cuck--oo!" said the Marionette, mocking them with his thumb to his nose.
"You'll be sorry!""Cuck--oo!""We'll whip you soundly!""Cuck--oo!""You'll go home with a broken nose!""Cuck--oo!""Very well, then! Take that, and keep it for your supper,"called out the boldest of his tormentors.
And with the words, he gave Pinocchio a terrible blow on the head.
Pinocchio answered with another blow, and that wasthe signal for the beginning of the fray. In a few moments,the fight raged hot and heavy on both sides.
Pinocchio, although alone, defended himself bravely.
With those two wooden feet of his, he worked so fastthat his opponents kept at a respectful distance.
Wherever they landed, they left their painful markand the boys could only run away and howl.