Once upon a time in a land far, far away (or just next door) lived a puppet-maker called Geppetto Genjua. He was not only a puppet-maker but also a well-known puppeteer. Geppetto was very good at crafting puppets, and even better at making them dance to his tune in national and provincial shows that he organised every few years.
Even though Geppetto lived alone, he had a very big family. Every morning after waking up, the first thing that he would do is open up his bedroom window and greet the hummingbirds, the jackrabbits, the vultures, the fluffy-tailed squirrels, the slithering, slimy snakes, the lady birds, and all the other lovely creatures that lived in his beautifully-landscaped garden.
“Good morning, my friends!” he would shout from the window.
“Good morning, Geppetto!” all his animal friends would shout back.
One day, after waking up and turning off the alarm and jumping out of his big, bouncy-castle-of-a-bed and going to the washroom and washing his face and sanitising his hands and brushing his fangs and changing his clothes and greeting his friends in the garden, Geppetto made himself a cup of tea and went to meet his favourite puppet, Pinocchio Pehelwan.
Pinocchio was sitting alone in his puppet room twiddling his wooden thumbs and humming his favourite hummingbird song:
“Hum, Hum, Hum, Hum, Hum!
Hum nay yeh kiya!
Hum nay voh kiya!
Hum hain Hummingbirds!
Hum, Hum, Hum, Hum, Hum!”
Pinocchio stopped singing as soon as he saw Geppetto standing in the doorway.
A look at some of the content from an approved Grade 2 textbook from the public schools in the Republic of Cliftonia
“Good morning, Papa,” said Pinocchio with a big smile playing across his handsome face.
“Good morning, my darling. Why did you stop? Keep singing. You know your papa loves to hear you sing the hummingbird song. Sing, my child, sing!” said Geppetto. Pinocchio smiled, waved at his papa, and began singing again. Geppetto laughed, blew Pinocchio a kiss and walked back to his bedroom with his hot, steaming cup of tea.
He stood next to the open window and breathed in the crisp, morning air. The sun was out. The sky was blue. The clouds were white. And the vultures were sat right on the window sill, swaying their bald heads and licking their sharp, pointy beaks.
“We’re tired of munching on hedgehogs… can we have him now?” said Virtuous the Vulture, sitting closest to Geppetto. “Last week you said this week and this week is almost done. We can’t keep waiting like this,” he pleaded.
“Hang on. Be patient. The fruit is almost ripe and will fall of its own accord. Haven’t you noticed how long his nose has become? Every U-turn on a promise made counts as a lie and only poor Pinocchio can’t see what’s right under his enormous nose,” said Geppetto.
“Sometimes I feel sorry for them. They trust you, make deals with you. They think they are special when they see you chiseling away, creating them out of the wood they themselves have supplied. You exhibit such gentleness, such love… such centrist neutrality that even I begin to believe that you love them as much as you love me,” said Virtuous.
Geppetto looked up at the sky and smiled. He patted Virtuous’ bald head and looked out lovingly at all the creatures assembled in the garden. “Children,” he said to them. “Never trust anyone in life, no matter who they are and who you think they are. You must always maintain two faces and stay as far away from truth as you possibly can. In this lies my salvation.”
“But what about us?” Virtuous and the rest of the animals asked in unison.
Geppetto took a sip of his cardamom tea, pushed the vultures off the sill one by one, and shut his window to the world outside.
Moral of the Story: Never trust a puppet master no matter how smart you think you are or how dumb he thinks you are.
Who does Geppetto think he is?
What do Geppetto and a slimy snake have in common? List three similarities.
Why does Pinocchio have such a long nose?
Why can’t Pinocchio see what’s right beneath his nose?
What is the hummingbird song? Sing it loud. Sing it proud.
How much does Geppetto pay the vultures in his garden? Does he pay them in hedgehogs or US dollars?
Does Geppetto deserve any respect from the animals in the garden?
Does Geppetto deserve any respect from Pinocchio?
When will Pinocchio and the animals get together to turn the tables on Geppetto?
What are you still doing here?
** Geppetto Strikes Again! is taken from “Real World Stories for Children”, a Grade 2 textbook prescribed in public schools all across the Republic of Cliftonia. It has been approved by the Board of Tahafuz-i-Bunyad-i-Cliftonia.*
Farid Alvie was born. He currently lives. He tweets @faridalvie
Published in Dawn, EOS, July 31st, 2020