Gepetto was an old man now. And fat as a Sunday hen. His joints creaked and rusted, and his eyesight near useless without the glasses with lenses of inch thick glass he wore every day. But he was a happy man. He had lost count of the years of joy he had shared with his wife, and their wooden son, making toys and puppets and spreading love and happiness everywhere they went. From a small workshop in northern Italy, Gepetto had gradually, despite advancing years, managed to expand the reach of his little business to bring smiles to faces far from Padua. His eternally youthful boy, Pinnochio, had turned into an ingenious and talented toy maker, just as his father had been as a young man. He understood the modern world, with it’s new machines and technologies far better than Gepetto himself, but they worked together well. Pinocchio fashioning the intricate workings of the new toys, Gepetto giving them faces, clothes, names – bringing them to life.
Indeed, while the magic which had given him his son never returned as such, the magic in his son’s hands brought them a team of helpers. Little clockwork boys and girls, mechanical marvels, who hammered and chiselled, stitched and sewed, making sack after sack of dolls, teddy bears, trains, and puppets.
Gepetto listened to the happy noises of the workshop. Whistles and bells rang out as they were tested, the little friends laughed and sang as they worked. His son skipped across the floor to him, bringing a steaming mug of cocoa from Maria in the kitchen.
“Papa? You can’t sleep? Here, mama has sent this for you.” he handed him the hot sweet drink.
“ah Pinnochio, my beloved boy. Never in my long life have I slept well on this night. The excitement is too great! So much to do. And I love to watch you work my little man. Love to hear you giggle as each new idea comes to life. You are the greatest gift an old man and his beautiful wife could ever have hoped for. My love for you both gives me all the energy I need for our work.” he embraced his son with warmth, enfolding him in his fleshy arms.
“oh papa, you and mother are the greatest parents any boy could have. So much love you give me, and yet, so much more you have left to give, that it spills out over the whole world.”
“love is the greatest thing in life son. And it is in never ending supply, costs nothing, yet enriches both giver and receiver beyond that which any gold or diamond could. We are lucky, son, to be able to love. I shall never stop, so long as there is love in the world.”
Father and son sat together by the fire for hours, until finally it was time. Pinnochio went to get Geppetto his coat and hat, while the old man pulled on his heavy black boots. With difficulty, the old man hefted himself out of the comfy chair, and held out his arms so his son could help him into the thick warm coat. He buckled the black leather belt, and smoothed his hands over the soft red sheepskin. He loved this coat, every stitch filled with the love of his wife who had made it for him. The wooly inside kept the winds at bay, no matter how bitterly they blew. The white trim was creamier than his snow white beard. The hat, he wore because it pleased Maria. Personally, he thought it made him look a little foolish, with the dangling bobble on the end, but the smile on her face when he wore it was worth a million nights of embarrassment. She came to see him off, kissing his rosie cheeks as he climbed into the sleigh. He had carved the frame himself back in Padua, when they realised they would need transport to their new workshop in the north. Pinnochio had made the modernisations. As the last sack was loaded, and Pinnocho patted the deer on the back, Geppetto cracked the reigns, and headed off into the night sky, to deliver his love to the rest of his children, all over the world.