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Real Pinocchio - the life and times of a "wooden kid"

04 November 2010 [21:45] - TODAY.AZ
Not so long ago I stumbled upon a very intruquing story. A story about someone, whom most children in the world (along with grown-ups) are very familiar with. Pinocchio. Yes, that same "wooden kid" who wanted to be human so much. The article claimed, that Pinocchio...was real. That there was someone whom the world-famous tale was based on. Sadly I was not able to find any english sources on this (only russian), yet I believe this is something that might be of interest to everyone. Even if its a hoax.

So, according to the article (the first one appeared online in 2005), U.S. archaeologists were doing their diggings near the cemetery area, where the infamous Carlo Collodi (the one who wrote the tale) was buried. Not far from his grave, there was another tombstone, with a name on it: "Pinocchio Sanchez". After having some laughs about the strange coincidence, archaeologists decided to "dig" deeper into the details. Desperately wanting to know the story of the mysterious man buried next to Collodi, they decided to go for exhumation. So british and italian scientists did their thing - after opening the grave, and checking numerous archive writings, they brought an unknown history into the light.

Pinocchio did live. He had wooden prosthesis instead of hands and legs, and also a wooden insert instead of nose. One prosthesis had a mark on it "Carlo Bestuldci". Archives revealed the following: in 1760 a boy was born in Sanchez family. He was a normal boy, but there was one difference about him...his height was only about 130 cms. Turned out the boy was a midget. This however did not stop him from going to war (war for independence Italy was involved into at that time), along with his father. Since Pinocchio was too small to be a soldier, he became a drummer. Pinocchio entered army at the age of 18, and came back from it only 15 years later. Those 15 years took away his legs, his hands and his nose - he returned home a complete cripple. And just like in a fairy tale, there was a salvation for Pinocchio.

Pinocchio got acquainted with a local doctor, called Carlo Bestuldci, who was a devil, according to some villagers. Bestuldci turned out to be a real magician - he constructed special prosthetics for Pinocchio, and gave him wooden hands, legs, and even an insert for his amputated nose.

After that, former war drummer Pinocchio joined the local theater, and worked there. Since he was small, and had wooden limbs, he was a "fun to watch". He became a somewhat celebrity, however the theater became his new life, and ultimately his death - performing a deadly trick, Pinocchio fell down, and smashed his head - something even magician Bestuldci couldnt fix. And, after his passing, Pinoccio was buried on the cemetery. Sometime later, then unknown, poor writer Carlo Collodi, remembered an unhappy man by the name of Pinocchio, and thats how the fairy tale was born.

Most people I talked to, havent even heard about "real Pinocchio", and unfortunately I was not able to find any confirmation on this story on english sources. However, I contacted an american expert on child literature, and explained the whole article to her. Needless to say, she was intriqued by it, and promised to help out. A few days later, I got a letter from her, where she said to have friends in Italy, who live near the place, where Carlo Collodi is buried. So they might be able to shed some light on this story. One thing for sure - fairytale Pinocchio, and the mysterious war drummer named Pinocchio Sanchez had one big thing in common. They both desperately wanted to become "human". Who knows, maybe they were not destined to, yet the name "Pinocchio" remains known all over the world today.

T. Teymur

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