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CHAPTER 36 (continued)
"Exactly. And you?"
"I am the Tunny, your companion in the Shark's stomach."
"And how did you escape?"
"I imitated your example. You are the one who showed me the way and after you went, I followed."
"Tunny, you arrived at the right moment! I implore you, for the love you bear your children, the little Tunnies, to help us, or we are lost!"
"With great pleasure indeed. Hang onto my tail, both of you, and let me lead you. In a twinkling you will be safe on land."
Geppetto and Pinocchio, as you can easily imagine, did not refuse the invitation; indeed, instead of hanging onto the tail, they thought it better to climb on the Tunny's back.
"Are we too heavy?" asked Pinocchio.
"Heavy? Not in the least. You are as light as sea-shells," answered the Tunny, who was as large as a two-year-old horse.
As soon as they reached the shore, Pinocchio was the first to jump to the ground to help his old father. Then he turned to the fish and said to him:
"Dear friend, you have saved my father, and I have not enough words with which to thank you! Allow me to embrace you as a sign of my eternal gratitude."
The Tunny stuck his nose out of the water and Pinocchio knelt on the sand and kissed him most affectionately on his cheek. At this warm greeting, the poor Tunny, who was not used to such tenderness, wept like a child. He felt so embarrassed and ashamed that he turned quickly, plunged into the sea, and disappeared.
In the meantime day had dawned.
Pinocchio offered his arm to Geppetto, who was so weak he could hardly stand, and said to him:
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