"Now, let's see what kind of fish we have caught today," said the Green Fisherman. He put a hand as big as a spade into the net and pulled out a handful of mullets.
"Fine mullets, these!" he said, after looking at them and smelling them with pleasure. After that, he threw them into a large, empty tub.
Many times he repeated this performance. As he pulled each fish out of the net, his mouth watered with the thought of the good dinner coming, and he said:
"Fine fish, these bass!"
"Very tasty, these whitefish!"
"Delicious flounders, these!"
"What splendid crabs!"
"And these dear little anchovies, with their heads still on!"
As you can well imagine, the bass, the flounders, the whitefish, and even the little anchovies all went together into the tub to keep the mullets company. The last to come out of the net was Pinocchio.
As soon as the Fisherman pulled him out, his green eyes opened wide with surprise, and he cried out in fear:
"What kind of fish is this? I don't remember ever eating anything like it."
He looked at him closely and after turning him over and over, he said at last:
"I understand. He must be a crab!"
Pinocchio, mortified at being taken for a crab, said resentfully:
"What nonsense! A crab indeed! I am no such thing. Beware how you deal with me! I am a Marionette, I want you to know."
"A Marionette?" asked the Fisherman. "I must admit that a Marionette fish is, for me, an entirely new kind of fish. So much the better. I'll eat you with greater relish."
"Eat me? But can't you understand that I'm not a fish? Can't you hear that I speak and think as you do?"
"It's true," answered the Fisherman; "but since I see that you are a fish, well able to talk and think as I do, I'll treat you with all due respect."
"And that is--"
"That, as a sign of my particular esteem, I'll leave to you the choice of the manner in which you are to be cooked. Do you wish to be fried in a pan, or do you prefer to be cooked with tomato sauce?"
"To tell you the truth," answered Pinocchio, "if I must choose, I should much rather go free so I may return home!"
"Are you fooling? Do you think that I want to lose the opportunity to taste such a rare fish? A Marionette fish does not come very often to these seas. Leave it to me. I'll fry you in the pan with the others. I know you'll like it. It's always a comfort to find oneself in good company."
The unlucky Marionette, hearing this, began to cry and wail and beg. With tears streaming down his cheeks, he said:
"How much better it would have been for me to go to school! I did listen to my playmates and now I am paying for it! Oh! Oh! Oh!"
And as he struggled and squirmed like an eel to escape from him, the Green Fisherman took a stout cord and tied him hand and foot, and threw him into the bottom of the tub with the others.
Then he pulled a wooden bowl full of flour out of a cupboard and started to roll the fish into it, one by one. When they were white with it, he threw them into the pan. The first to dance in the hot oil were the mullets, the bass followed, then the whitefish, the flounders, and the anchovies. Pinocchio's turn came last. Seeing himself so near to death (and such a horrible death!) he began to tremble so with fright that he had no voice left with which to beg for his life.
The poor boy beseeched only with his eyes. But the Green Fisherman, not even noticing that it was he, turned him over and over in the flour until he looked like a Marionette made of chalk.
Then he took him by the head and--
The Adventures of Pinocchio -by- C. Collodi