Pinocchio hadn't started off as a wooden puppet; not at all. He was a real boy once. His name used to be Benio. He was the son of a carpenter named Gepetto. Gepetto was a single father and a widower; His wife had passed away birthing his son. But, even though the time was tragic, he did not hate his son. When Benio had turned seven, Gepetto decided it was time to teach him how to fish. As he was tucking him in, he smiled. Then he spoke gently. "My son, tomorrow, I will take you on the seas, and teach you how to fish. As it has been said... Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day, but teach a man to fish, and he'll eat for a lifetime.” With this, Gepetto finished tucking him in, and went across his room to his own cot. Benio was excited, and could hardly sleep. Soon, even though it was still dark out, Gepetto and Benio walked to the docks. The lighthouse was still alight; however, it would not last for long. As they set sail into the wavy waters of the ocean, the rowboat rocking in the water, the lighthouse light flickered and died away. No one knew that the lighthouse keeper had died of a heart attack up in the tower just the night before as he was putting oil in the lighthouse to light it until it was light enough to see.
Soon, they reached their mark. Schools of fish were below them. Gepetto taught Benio how to bait his line, and cast properly, and soon, they were acting like two best friends fishing the day away, singing songs in their native tongues and being silly.Then they heard something. A ship was headed for them. The people on board realized too late that they were headed straight for the rocks. They also didn't see the tiny bobbing rowboat. "Benio, we must abandon the boat and get to safety!" he said. Benio did as he was instructed. He jumped off the boat, and Gepetto jumped the other way. Their tiny boat was destroyed by the ship. Gepetto made it away okay. "Benio my son, are you okay?" he shouted. But there was no reply. Again, he called for his son, and again, no reply. Gepetto, disregarding the injured to find his own son, ran down to the beach. To his horror, his son lay motionless in the sand. His head was bleeding, and his arm was missing. He was dead. The ship had killed him; he had gotten sucked under just before it hit the rocks. Gepetto sat on the beach, holding his son's lifeless body, weeping, and with a howl of grief that brought tears to many, cursed at God for taking away the only thing he had left to light his world.
The funeral was held a day later. His son, along with the few people who died in the ship's crash, was buried in the small church cemetery, and a small service was held in their honor. Again, Gepetto wept for his son. As they finished burying him, Gepetto sat at his boy's grave. For two days, he said his last words to his son. He put flowers over his son's grave. He became a broken man. Oh, how he longed to have his little child back. He didn't know that a woman had been watching him since the day of the accident. As he turned to walk to his small cottage on the cliff, a chilling voice, her voice, brought him out of his lethargic state. This woman, whom he had never seen before, dressed in robes of a deep purple, stood before him. "Gepetto... Your grief has moved me. Do you truly wish to have your son back?" She asked. He looked away from her. "How dare you insult me in this way....? A lost life can never be brought back..." He said. The woman chuckled. Her chuckle soon turned to laughter that sent chills down Gepetto's spine. She looked at him. "I know a way to bring him back... though not in his original, true form; his manner and personality will be the same, as will his voice." She said. At that moment, the laughter and the colors she wore made sense;she was a witch. But it didn't matter. All he wanted was to have Benio back. If you can truly bring him back, I...I will do what you want, just please, bring my little son back to me...." He said. A begging tone hinted in his voice. A grin, twisted in form, played on the woman's mouth. "Very well... follow me. We cannot do this where people can see." She said.
She led him through twisted paths in the nearby forest until they came to a little cottage. When they entered, she strode, or rather, almost glided, toward a bookshelf filled with books containing magical spells and secrets. She poked around a bit before finding the right one. “Yes… this will do nicely…” She said. She then showed him a diagram of a small, wooden puppet. "You have to make this. Read carefully. The puppet must be out of pine, as pines are the trees in these woods that are full of life. You must carve these words into the chest of the puppet. Make it look as close to your son as you possibly can… You then must go to the cemetery, and bring his body back to the surface. On the full moon, I will use a spell to bring him back." She said. Gepetto was confused. "What does this puppet have to do with the dead body of my son?" He asked. The woman looked up. "We are going to transfer your son's soul into the puppet... and I can't do that without the corpse..." She said. Gepetto looked gravely at the diagram. Sure, he wanted his son back, but was it truly worth disturbing his son's resting place? He couldn't say. All he knew is that he wanted to do so much with his son that he wouldn't get to do. He sighed. "I-I'll do it. But promise me we will return his body afterword..." He said. She nodded. "After the ritual is complete, you may return his body." She said. Gepetto began to walk away. "Meet me on the outskirts of town on the full moon...." She said. He nodded. With that, he began his journey home.
The next day, he found a Pine tree, and cut it down. After getting the right lengths and widths of the shape of the puppet, he began to carve its shape. The feeling came naturally to him, and soon, Benio the puppet was taking shape. After the puppet was made, he etched in the words, and then painted it in the way his son had looked. He had no idea that the words he had etched in were part of the spell that was going to bring his son back to him, and seal his soul inside the doll. The night before the full moon, Gepetto dug up his son's body. It was barely beginning to decay. A tear fell from his eye as he looked at his son, who looked like he was merely asleep. "Soon, my boy... Soon, I will have you back..." he said. The following day, on the full moon, He dressed the puppet, and carried both his son, in the cloth he was buried in, and the newly made puppet to the edge of the forest. He waited for the woman to appear. As if on the hour, she appeared. "Come, Gepetto. The time is nearly here..." She said. He followed her. And again, through the woods they went, only this time, they arrived in a cave, and there were a pentagram, and candles on the floor.
"Now, lay your son, and the puppet side by side." She said. He nodded. He set them side by side inside the pentagram. She smiled. "Good.... now, take this knife, and draw the blood of your son's corpse, and then yours, mix them, and place them over the words I asked you to carve into the puppet." She said. He again, did as he was told. He walked over to his son. "I'm sorry, son, but I have to do this... it is the only way...." He said, and ran the blade across the corpse, the blood staining the blade. He then sliced his own hand, and, with a yelp of pain, drenched the wording in his and his son’s blood. "Excellent. Now, as I am chanting, call your son. He will be drawn back to your voice, and we can seal him inside the puppet." She said. As she began chanting, he called to him. "Benio, my boy... Come to your papa." He said. He heard a faint voice. "Your papa misses you, son. Please come back." He said. The voice got louder. "I'm here, Papa." it said. "Come closer son, I want to see you again." He said. At that moment, for the briefest instant, he saw his son's spirit: A gleaming angel. With the last of the woman's chanting, the boy's spirit was sealed within the puppet. Soon, the puppet sat up. "Papa.... Where am I?" said Benio's little voice. Gepetto ran to the puppet, and hugged him.
“My son… you have come back from the dead….” Gepetto said. The puppet only hugged his father, yet gave him a confused look. The witch smiled. “Now… we have to change his name. This boy cannot exist by his mortal name any longer, as is custom of the spell. I will have to name him, because I am the one who casted this spell. From now on, you will be named Pinocchio.” She said. With that, the seal was complete, and the blood seeped into the wood of the puppet, creating the final seal. Gepetto was happy; his son, though not in a human form, had finally been returned to him. He looked up at the witch. “How can I ever repay you?” He asked. The witch smiled. “You already have, Gepetto. You repaid me with your blood.” She said. With that, the woman cackled, and vanished into the shadow. Gepetto, his puppet son, and his original son’s corpse, made their way to the cemetery. Had he, Gepetto, signed the Devil’s Book with his blood to bring his son back to him? Only time will tell. Gepetto buried the corpse again, and soon, he and his son made of wood returned home.
The days passed, and soon, Pinocchio became depressed. They were sitting down to supper, when Pinocchio spoke. “Papa… why did you bring me back?” he asked. Gepetto smiled sadly. “It is because you were the only one keeping this old man going strong, my son.” He said. Pinocchio sighed. “Papa, I was happy in the afterlife. I met Mama, and I was watching over you… I never truly left.” He said. Gepetto was becoming angry, and in a firm tone, said “Pinocchio, people will go to great lengths to keep those they love near at hand. When I lost you, I was broken. I cursed at God for taking you away from me.” Pinocchio glared angrily, and stood up. “Papa, you are a selfish man! I was happily watching you in heaven, where I no longer have to worry about mortal things, and you bring me back because you couldn't bear the thought of me not near you? And you signed the Devil’s book! Mama cried as she watched me forced to join you! Now not only have you forced yourself to Hell, but you have doomed me as well!” He said. With that, Pinocchio lit a fire. “If I am to be doomed to hell, then let it be by the fires themselves!” He said. Gepetto rose, and tried to stop his son, but it was too late. Pinocchio had jumped into the fire. He screamed as his second life was vanquished by flames. Gepetto wept at the hearth. His son was rapidly turning to a smoldering pile of ash. As he died a second death, Pinocchio said one last thing to his father: “I hate you, Papa….” As Gepetto wept, watching his son turn to ash, he cursed at himself for being a fool. “I’m sorry my son… I love you; please forgive your old Papa….” He cried. But the puppet was silent. The next day, Gepetto’s body was found hanging in the rafters, with a note bearing only a small phrase at his feet: “I am a damned fool.”
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