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the fishermen were looking toward the sea, crying, ‘There's a poor little man drowning,' and I knew it was you, because my heart told me so and I waved to you from the shore—”

“I knew it was you, too,” interrupted Geppetto, “and I wanted to go to you. But how could I? The sea was rough and the high waves overturned my boat. Then a terrible shark came up out of the sea, swam quickly toward me, and swallowed me.”

“How long have you been here?”

“From that day to this, about two years—two long, weary years that have felt more like two centuries.”

“But how have you survived? Where did you find the candle? And the matches to light it with? Where did you get them?”

“In the storm that overturned my boat, a large ship was also overturned. The sailors, who wore lifejackets, were all safe, but they were unable to salvage the ship, which plummeted to the bottom of the sea. There, the same terrible shark that swallowed me, swallowed it.”

“What! It swallowed a ship?” asked Pinocchio in astonishment.

“In one mouthful. Luckily for me, that ship was loaded with sundries: meat, crackers, bread, raisins, cheese, coffee, sugar, candles, and boxes of matches. With all these supplies, I've been able to live for two years. But the food supply has been gradually dwindling, and now it's nearly depleted. And this candle is the last one.”

“And then?”

“And then, my child, we'll find ourselves hungry, and in darkness.”

“Then, my dear Father,” said Pinocchio, “there's no time to lose. We must try to escape immediately.”

“Escape? But how?”

“We can run out of the shark's mouth and dive into the sea.”

“That would be a good idea, except for two things—I not a very proficient swimmer, and I don't have much stamina. I'd never make it to shore.”

“That doesn't matter. Swimming is my forte! Remember, because I'm made of wood, I can't sink. If you climb on my back, I'll carry you to shore.”

“It won't work,” answered Geppetto, shaking his head sadly. “Do you think it's possible for a puppet who's only three feet tall to have enough strength to carry me on his back all the way to shore?”

“Can you think of a viable alternative?”


“Then let's try it and see!”

Without another word, Pinocchio took the candle in his hand and, leading the way, said to his father, “Follow me and don't be afraid.”

They walked a long distance through the body of the shark. When they reached the throat, Pinocchio turned to his father and whispered, “The shark's sleeping with his mouth open. I can see through it that the sea is very tranquil. Follow me closely, Father, and soon

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