By Tony Janeiro
“Where your heart is there is your treasure."
Fleeing through the obscurity of night the inevitable assassins, Pinocchio begins to despair. At that moment, in the light of his understanding of the utter hopelessness of his situation he espies a cottage gleaming in the distance as “snow upon the trees.” A hope lights up his heart and fuels him to seek the seeming refuge. An hour later he arrives only to discover the door barred to him. Furiously he knocks and kicks but the door will not yield to force. However, overhead a window is opened revealing a lovely maiden with azure hair, eyes closed, face pale as wax. She tells Pinocchio that no one will answer the door for all in the house are dead and that she is only at the window to await the coffin. She retires back into the house and the window shuts. Pinocchio pleads to the maiden to take pity on him, but no sooner does he mention his pursuers than he is captured, tortured and strung up on the nearest tree. There upon the gallows oak he hangs between life and death hoping against hope for his rescue. With his breath dwindling and no help in sight Pinocchio cries from the bottom of his heart his departing thought, “Father, Father if only you were here.”
As the gleam of the cottage, so the desire for the company of his father shoots out in a radiant beam from the very core of Pinocchio’s being, illuminating the tragedy of this prodigal puppet who forsook the house of that same father for the fellowship of the very fiends who robbed and assaulted him. Furthermore, the only other person who could have helped him is “dead” to him, perhaps because he never took the opportunity to learn of her. But thanks to the readers of Carlos Collodi this fairy tale did not end as its author originally intended, as a cautionary tale, but developed into a beautiful interpretation of the Prodigal’s son. Pinocchio is rescued by the seemingly dead Blue Fairy, healed and set upon his way. Through the school of hard knocks Pinocchio learns that what delights the senses soon fades, that no field of miracles can be reaped without sacrifice, and that true joy and freedom are only discovered in the service of others for love. Pinocchio proves ultimately faithful to his love for his Poppa and his devotion to the Blue fairy and is given the opportunity to live out the life modeled so well to him by Gepetto and other virtuous characters in the story. Not to be outdone in generosity the Blue Fairy grants Pinocchio abundant gifts. One morning he wakes to find his father restored to health, a lovely cottage and riches in abundance and what is most wonderful his own transformation into a real boy. Like the prodigal son he had returned home both to the house and heart of his father and had been welcomed not as a slave but as son.