Pinocchio finally ceases to bea Marionette and becomes a boy"My dear Father, we are saved!" cried the Marionette.
"All we have to do now is to get to the shore, and that is easy."Without another word, he swam swiftly away in aneffort to reach land as soon as possible. All at once henoticed that Geppetto was shivering and shaking as if witha high fever.
Was he shivering from fear or from cold? Who knows?
Perhaps a little of both. But Pinocchio, thinking his fatherwas frightened, tried to comfort him by saying:
"Courage, Father! In a few moments we shall be safe on land.""But where is that blessed shore?" asked the little old man,more and more worried as he tried to pierce the faraway shadows.
"Here I am searching on all sides and I see nothing but sea and sky.""I see the shore," said the Marionette. "Remember, Father,that I am like a cat. I see better at night than by day."Poor Pinocchio pretended to be peaceful and contented,but he was far from that. He was beginning to feeldiscouraged, his strength was leaving him, and his breathingwas becoming more and more labored. He felt he couldnot go on much longer, and the shore was still far away.
He swam a few more strokes. Then he turned to Geppettoand cried out weakly:
"Help me, Father! Help, for I am dying!"Father and son were really about to drown when theyheard a voice like a guitar out of tune call from the sea:
"What is the trouble?""It is I and my poor father.""I know the voice. You are Pinocchio.""Exactly. And you?""I am the Tunny, your companion in the Shark's stomach.""And how did you escape?""I imitated your example. You are the one who showedme the way and after you went, I followed.""Tunny, you arrived at the right moment! I implore you,for the love you bear your children, the little Tunnies,to help us, or we are lost!""With great pleasure indeed. Hang onto my tail, bothof you, and let me lead you. In a twinkling you will besafe on land."Geppetto and Pinocchio, as you can easily imagine, did notrefuse the invitation; indeed, instead of hanging ontothe tail, they thought it better to climb on the Tunny's back.
"Are we too heavy?" asked Pinocchio.
"Heavy? Not in the least. You are as light as sea-shells,"answered the Tunny, who was as large as a two-year-old horse.
As soon as they reached the shore, Pinocchio was thefirst to jump to the ground to help his old father.
Then he turned to the fish and said to him:
"Dear friend, you have saved my father, and I have notenough words with which to thank you! Allow me toembrace you as a sign of my eternal gratitude."The Tunny stuck his nose out of the water and Pinocchioknelt on the sand and kissed him most affectionatelyon his cheek. At this warm greeting, the poor Tunny,who was not used to such tenderness, wept like a child.