Pinocchio turns 140, but the old man is Geppetto ;)

“Centuries ago, there lived…
‘A king!’ my little readers will say immediately.
No, children, you are mistaken. Once upon a time there was a piece of wood.”

Pinocchio_adventuresA hundred and forty years ago was born the puppet Pinocchio, carved out of a piece of wood by a lovely old man, the carpenter Geppetto. And then? Then there was the Talking Cricket or Jiminy Cricket (Pinocchio’s consciousness), the Fairy with Turquoise Hair, Honest John (the Fox), Gideon (the Cat) and many others who make up this masterpiece of Italian literature. The big realization is that only after undergoing an interior transformation, a true awakening of consciousness, Pinocchio was able to have his great desire manifested. The wooden puppet became a real boy, in flesh and bones. As he himself said: “a good boy because he understood his mistakes”.

Pinocchio first appeared on July 7, 1881, at the “Giornale per I bambini, the first Italian newspaper addressed to young readers. The story was published as comic strip. The last episode, however, was dropped like a bomb on the readers. Disappointed, they wrote to the newspaper asking for a new ending. In the first version, poor Pinocchio ended up hanging from a leafy oak. Although doubtful, Carlo Collodi, creator of Pinocchio, answered the readers’ request, bringing Pinocchio to life again with the help of the Blue Fairy. Then, in 1883, the illustrated book “The Adventures of Pinocchio: the story of a puppet” was published by the bookstore publisher “Libreria Editrice Felice Paggi”.

Carlo Lorenzini (CarloCollodi) was born in Florence on November 24th, 1826. He spent most of his childhood in Collodi, a small medieval town, in the province of Pistoia, which gave him inspiration for his pen name. In 1844, he interrupted his studies to go to work at the Florentine Bookstore “Libreria Piatti. Three years later, he started collaborating to some newspapers writing about music, theater, literature, and humor. Collodi founded two important newspapers in Italy at that time: “Il Lampione, a satirical newspaper, forced to close in 1849, and the “Scaramuccia, a theater-oriented newspaper. Collodi died on October 26th, 1890.

The puppet speaks 260 languages

Pinocchio-books-translations

Some of the more than 260 translations of “The Adventures of Pinocchio” displayed at the Accademia della Crusca library, in Florence. Creative Commons – Attribution (CC BY 3.0)

This is not a lie, among the Italian books, Pinocchio is the most translated and widespread in the world. The puppet, according to a survey published on May 18th, 2021, speaks 260 languages. The survey was sponsored by Maremagnum.com, an Italian platform for the research of old and used books. But we can go further: in the ranking of books in the world, carried out by the American translation agency 7Brands Inc., Pinocchio pops up in second place, only behind “The Little Prince”, by the French Antoine de Saint Exupéry.

Geppetto’s adopted son, who frequently see himself into trouble and gets his nose bigger and bigger any time he tells a lie, is the best-known Italian character abroad. Fame also took him to the world of cinema, cartoons, and theater. Pinocchio is recognized as one of Disney’s biggest successes (winning two Oscars in 1941) and passed to history as the second Disney classic after “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, from 1937.

Pinocchio – does it mean “pineal eye” in Italian?

“What name shall I give him?” Geppetto said to himself. “I’ll call him Pinocchio. This name will bring him good luck. I once knew a whole family of Pinocchios: Father Pinocchio, mother Pinocchia, and Pinocchi the children. And all of them did well. The richest one begged for a living.”

In this way Geppetto himself explains the name he chose for Pinocchio. However, there are many other explanations that appoint geographic, botanical, and also esoteric reasons. Some people say that Collodi got inspired by the fountain at the theological seminary where he studied, named Fontana del Pinocchio (Pinocchio’s Fountain). Others say that the name comes from the Pinocchio’s area, San Miniano Basso, a village where Collodi’s father worked for years. Yet, there are also those who say that the name is related to the wooden puppet’s characteristics. In Italian, Pinocchio is another name for “pinolo”, the pine nut.

Pinocchio-puppets

Pinocchio puppets – stand at a square in Verona, Italy.

The explanation I like the most however is the esoteric one, and here we have material to another post. Pin-occhio, in Italian, is the union of the words “pino” (pine) plus “occhio” (eye). Pine makes pine nuts (pinolo) that by its form represents the pineal gland, also known as the third eye. The interpretations given to Pinocchio’s story goes from the most superficial one, told and retold infinitely, to the deepest one which deals with self-transformation. The wooden puppet, which represents the material side, became aware of his acts and underwent an internal evolutionary process in order to receive the gift of life. Only after changing inside the change outside took place and Pinocchio could emerge as a real boy, owner of a conscience, a soul and certainly with a heart. Pinocchio woke up and approached the divine. For him, the work is done.

We talked about an 1881 story, when Pinocchio was able to get his own conscience and fired the Talking Cricket from his position of an external adviser. Today, in 2021, there are men in flesh who find it more comfortable having a Talking Cricket by their side and, in this way, they go through life as a wooden puppet, forever supported by their external consciences.

Pinocchio, by Abdré Koehne

Pinoccho by André Koehne – Creative Commons Attribuzione-CC BY-SA 3.0)

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