Pinocchio runs the danger of being fried in a pan like a fishDuring that wild chase, Pinocchio lived through aterrible moment when he almost gave himself up as lost.
This was when Alidoro (that was the Mastiff's name),in a frenzy of running, came so near that he was on thevery point of reaching him.
The Marionette heard, close behind him, the laboredbreathing of the beast who was fast on his trail, and nowand again even felt his hot breath blow over him.
Luckily, by this time, he was very near the shore, andthe sea was in sight; in fact, only a few short steps away.
As soon as he set foot on the beach, Pinocchio gave aleap and fell into the water. Alidoro tried to stop, butas he was running very fast, he couldn't, and he, too,landed far out in the sea. Strange though it may seem,the Dog could not swim. He beat the water with his paws tohold himself up, but the harder he tried, the deeper he sank.
As he stuck his head out once more, the poor fellow's eyeswere bulging and he barked out wildly, "I drown! I drown!""Drown!" answered Pinocchio from afar, happy at his escape.
"Help, Pinocchio, dear little Pinocchio! Save me from death!"At those cries of suffering, the Marionette, who afterall had a very kind heart, was moved to compassion.
He turned toward the poor animal and said to him:
"But if I help you, will you promise not to bother meagain by running after me?""I promise! I promise! Only hurry, for if you waitanother second, I'll be dead and gone!"Pinocchio hesitated still another minute. Then, rememberinghow his father had often told him that a kind deed is never lost,he swam to Alidoro and, catching hold of his tail, dragged him to the shore.
The poor Dog was so weak he could not stand. He hadswallowed so much salt water that he was swollen like aballoon. However, Pinocchio, not wishing to trust himtoo much, threw himself once again into the sea. As heswam away, he called out:
"Good-by, Alidoro, good luck and remember me to the family!""Good-by, little Pinocchio," answered the Dog.
"A thousand thanks for having saved me from death.
You did me a good turn, and, in this world, what is givenis always returned. If the chance comes, I shall be there."Pinocchio went on swimming close to shore. At lasthe thought he had reached a safe place. Glancing up anddown the beach, he saw the opening of a cave out of whichrose a spiral of smoke.
"In that cave," he said to himself, "there must be a fire.
So much the better. I'll dry my clothes and warm myself,and then--well--"His mind made up, Pinocchio swam to the rocks, butas he started to climb, he felt something under him liftinghim up higher and higher. He tried to escape, but he wastoo late. To his great surprise, he found himself in a hugenet, amid a crowd of fish of all kinds and sizes, who werefighting and struggling desperately to free themselves.