The Adventures of Pinocchio (Le avventure di Pinocchio, AKA Storia di un burattino ("The story of a marionette") is Italy’s most famous Fairy Tale, first published in 1883. Its author, Carlo Collodi, wrote a great deal for children, but Pinocchio is the only one of Collodi’s tales to have been translated into the English language.
An old Italian woodcarver, Geppetto, receives a piece of wood which looks perfect for making a puppet. The wood is magical, and the puppet comes to life. Geppetto calls it Pinocchio (which means "pine nut") and tries to bring it up as his son. Yet the task is anything but easy, as Pinocchio tends to be cheeky, naughty, disobedient, and all-too-susceptible to the bad influence of liars and false friends. Pinocchio tumbles from one disastrous adventure to another, but things take a turn for the better when he meets the Blue Fairy, who promises him that he can one day become "a real boy" if he changes his ways.
In 1940, Disney made an animated film based on this story, simply called Pinocchio. In 1936, Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy published his retelling of the Pinocchio story in the Soviet Union called The Golden Key.
Since it's in the public domain, you can read it here.
The Adventures of Pinocchio is the Trope Maker and/or Trope Namer for these tropes:
The Adventures of Pinocchio features these tropes:
- Accidental Murder: Pinocchio throws a mallet at the Cricket in retaliation for scolding him, seemingly killing it.
- Ambiguously Human: The Blue Fairy looks like a human here, and is called the Lovely Maiden with Azure Hair.
- And I Must Scream: The Baleful Polymorphs. Quite a bit worse than in the movie because they elaborate.
- Animate Inanimate Object: Pinocchio started out as a sentient block of wood.
- Anti-Hero: Type IV.
- Baleful Polymorph: The children who turn into donkeys in the Land of Toys. They are sold to unsuspecting adults who think they're buying normal donkeys.
- Belly of the Whale
- Big Eater: The Cat and the Fox. Just look at the amount of food they wolf down during the dinner at the "Red Lobster Inn".
- Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Since this a moral tale, Pinocchio always faces some kind of punishment for his misdeeds.
- Cassandra Truth
- Chekhov's Gunman: In the belly of the Dogfish, Pinocchio meet a fatalist old tuna fish. Later said tuna decided to imitate Pinocchio and escaped from the Dogfish' mouth and also helped Pinocchio and Geppetto to reach the coast.
- Costume Porn: Medoro the Poodle's ensemble is beautifully described.
- Crapsack World: The book does not give any reason why life in its setting is worth living. It does, however, give many reasons why it's better to behave in that world.
- Deadpan Snarker: Gepetto in chapter 2:
"What brought you here, friend Geppetto?" "My legs".
- Disney Death: Pinocchio in Chapter 15. Thankfully, the Cricket, Owl and Crow tend to his injuries.
- Do Not Call Me Paul: Geppetto hates being called Polendina, but it is never explained why.
- Something about the color of his wig which looks like the same color of polenta (a kind of pudding-like food).
- Executive Meddling: See "What Could Have Been".
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Everyone calls Mastro Antonio Mastro Cherry because of his cherry-like nose.
- Face of a Thug: Fire Eater definitely has this.
- Franchise Zombie: Again, see "What Could Have Been."
- Friend to All Living Things: The Blue Fairy
- Giant Space Flea From Nowhere: The Green Fisherman. The whole part set in his cave where he tries to fry and eat Pinocchio sounds much like a Big Lipped Alligator Moment.
- Grows on Trees: The Fox and the Cat pull this with Pinocchio.
- Karma Houdini: The Little Man is undoubtedly the most horrible person in the book, but he gets away scot-free.
- Kids Are Cruel: Pinocchio is a jerk and a hedonist, despite all Geppetto does for him.
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All: The Crow and Owl, who for some reason are doctors.
- Laser-Guided Karma: At the end of the story the Cat eventually got blind for real, and the Fox was forced to sell his own tail for a living and now they're both alone and miserable.
- Left for Dead: Pinocchio after the Fox and the Cat hang him in Chapter 15. Fortunately, in Chapter 16, he gets better.
- Living Toys: Not quite this trope but it's close enough.
- Meaningful Name: Pinocchio means "pine nut".
- Our Fairies Are Different
- Parental Substitute: The Lovely Maiden with Azure Hair
- Police Are Useless: The authorities don't do anything about all the antagonists. When they actually lay down the law, it's on the good guys. Pinocchio actually gets jailed just for being robbed, and when all the prisoners are set free for no reason except that the emperor feels like it, he's not released until he says he's a thief.
- Public Domain Character
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: At one point, Pinocchio finds a huge snake with smoke coming out of its tail blocking the path. Pinocchio can't get past it, but he falls down and gets stuck in the road... The snake, after seeing the funny scene of Pinocchio's legs sticking out of the road, thrashing wildly, literally laughs itself to death.
- Scare'Em Straight
- Spirit Advisor: The Cricket in Chapter 14.
- Supernatural Aid: The Lovely Maiden with Azure Hair
- Talking Animal: There are lots of them, so talking donkeys don't surprise anyone.
- Tall Poppy Syndrome: As you know, the blue fairy promised him he'd become a real boy if he's always well-behaved and gets good grades in school. Then one day, the other boys tell him that the monster whale was seen near their place, and that they should skip school to look for it. Pinocchio hesitates, but then decides to join them because he cares about Geppetto. When they go to the sea, no whale. Pinocchio gets suspicious, and wants to know what's going on. Then, the other boys tell him, that they'll look bad if he's an A-student, but if everyone in class was as lazy as they are, they'd be just average.
- Transformation Trauma
- Unexplained Recovery: The Cricket, after being crushed by Pinocchio, and then turning up alive in Chapter 16.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Mastro Cherry only exists in the story to discover the wood that would become Pinocchio and give it to Geppetto. Later, it says that they don't know what happened to Lamp-Wick, but it can't be anything good, considering what Pinocchio went through (which included almost being skinned!) This, however, is Subverted and Jossed at the end when he dies. He got lucky; all he had to do was draw water.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The donkeys, and their treatment was very much Truth in Television at the time. Strikingly, being Talking Animals doesn't make any difference.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: The Lovely Maiden with Azure Hair. Justified because she is a fairy.