The so-called donkey scene in Pinocchio has at times, had people asking why Jiminy did nothing to help the other boys and why he didn't ask Pinocchio about Lampwick.
I was recently contemplating what Jiminy might have been thinking as he ran away from the docks after seeing all of those donkeys.
Some wonder why Jiminy seemingly didn't care about Lampwick and only seemed to care about getting Pinocchio out of there as Jiminy didn't ask Pinocchio about Lampwick.
In this short, I try to ascertain what Jiminy might have been thinking as he ran toward Pinocchio.
Note that this short probably isn't compatible with my two stories "A Donkey in Human clothing" and "So you can talk huh?" It deviates slightly from the movie continuity in terms of Lampwick's attire post change.
Also note that this is a bit darker and sadder in my usual fare
Jimminy ran away from the docks as fast as his legs would carry him.
What he had seen at the docks had horrified him to put it mildly.
The boys – all of them save for Pinocchio and Lampwick – had all become donkeys.
Even the idea of what had happened to them was terrifying. Jimminy wanted this to be a nightmare. He wanted to wake up finding that this island was nothing but a figment of his imagination.
The sounds – the smells – of the donkeys grew quieter as Jimminy put distance between him and the docks.
Knowing Pinocchio could well be suffering the same fate as those boys made Jimminy's stomach turn.
Jimminy wanted to believe that only bad boys suffered such a fate. He saw bad boys as already being donkeys on the inside and thus, their bodies changing to match their minds.
That one donkey that could still speak – his cries a sight that could well haunt Jimminy for the rest of his days –had been proof that even innocent boys that had made a mistake in coming to the island proved that no one was immune to such a horrible fate.
Confetti, candy wrappers, broken beer bottles, cigarette butts and other assorted debris littered the streets. All evidence of a party that would perhaps be the last time any of those boys would ever be happy.
Jimminy saw discarded clothing. There was a shirt, pants and shoes. He wanted to believe that some of the boys had become so drunk that they'd disrobed. He knew that most of those boys had in all likelihood lost their clothing as they'd changed in what Jimminy could only assume was a panic.
Thoughts of the sort of life becoming donkeys would doom those boys – Pinocchio included – to had tears threatening to fall. Jimminy swallowed hard and shook his head. If he was to save Pinocchio, Jimminy knew he had to stay strong. Giving into his emotions – ironically what the island encouraged – would only cloud his judgment and cost Pinocchio a chance of ever being a real boy.
Jimminy ran past an upturned ice-cream cone. It sat beside a coat with the initials JP engraved on it. Jimminy noticed the strands of hair – fur – by the cone. The boy that used to wear that shirt was a donkey by now. It served to drive home that these boys had names, families, friends and lives.
"I have to do something to help those boys! I can't just leave them that way," Jimminy said.
Jimminy resumed running, he had to get to Pinocchio before it was too late, if indeed, there was still time.
Even if he saved Pinocchio, Jimminy wondered just what he could do for the rest of the boys.
If the island changed them into donkeys then he had to get Pinocchio off the island if there was still time. Escape however would mean leaving those boys behind. If Pinocchio changed as well – it was something Jimminy didn't want to contemplate.
Sadness went through Jimminy when he realized that his only real option was to save Pinocchio. Here and now, nothing he could do would save the boys.
Jimminy wondered if there was anything could have done to save the boys when they were still boys.
The boy's parents or failing that someone had to have warned them about places like this and people like the so-called Coachman.
However, as with so many other boys that came before them and indeed, that would come after; they thought that they knew everything. In their minds, something like this could never happen to them. Jimminy knew the mentality; he'd seen it in Lampwick.
Jimminy wondered if Lampwick was still human. Anger welled from within when Jimminy remembered how Lampwick was leading Pinocchio down the path that on this island lead to turning into a donkey.
If that Lampwick kid has caused Pinocchio to become a donkey…
Jimminy did his best to contain the anger as walked by what was left of what looked like a bar. Broken bottles with traced of beer littered the ground. Pants with bits of brown fur sticking to them were further evidence of the boy's fates.
Growing up to be a symbolic donkey was one thing. When Jimminy had called Lampwick a jackass, he'd didn't mean it in literal terms. Turning into a donkey for real? Jimminy shook his head. The idea was absurd. And this was coming from a talking Cricket that walked on two feet and wore clothes.
The sound of braying kept Jimminy from further contemplation.
The sound of clomping hooves joined the brays. They grew closer until Jimminy could smell the creature that generated the sounds. He watched a panicked donkey turned a corner and run toward Jimminy. The donkey stopped when it reached Jimminy. It wore clothes that looked familiar. Those clothes were the jacket and shirt Lampwick wore. The donkey was Lampwick.
"Lampwick, is that you? Where's Pinocchio? Is he all right?" Jimminy asked.
Lampwick's panicked state had muddled his mind. He brayed constantly as though he had no real control over his actions. Jimminy could see the desperation in Lampwick's eyes.
Jimminy climbed onto the bar and then jumped onto the Lampwick's muzzle. His braying made it hard to keep his balance but Jimminy did his best.
"Damn it Lampwick, I tried to warn you," Jimminy yelled. "Why couldn't you listen to me while you still had the chance? Now look at you! This is what happens when you don't listen to your conscience! Why, if this has happened to Pinocchio as well, I'll – I'll…"
Lampwick's braying grew loud and he began to buck.
"Calm down, you need to calm down. I can't help you if you won't calm down!" Jimminy said.
Lampwick however seemed too frightened for Jimminy to reason with Lampwick. Jimminy wondered if in reality, this change had also done something to Lampwick's mind. For all Jimminy knew, nothing remained of the boy that Pinocchio had befriended. Either way, there was nothing Jimminy could do. Jimminy had to get to Pinocchio.
Lampwick resumed running, knocking Jimminy back. He tried to grab a hold of Lampwick's clothes but Lampwick's panic made it too difficult.
Only Jimminy's umbrella saved him from a nasty fall as he flew from Lampwick, who fled the scene and into the night.
Jimminy watched Lampwick go and could only hang his head.
Despite all Jimminy had said and felt about Lampwick, Jimminy knew that not even Lampwick deserved this.
Jimminy resumed contemplation as he resumed running.
Was this change – this loss – no different from growing up? Had Lampwick and all of the others in effect grown up to be donkeys? Had they in experienced the opposite of Pinocchio's goal? Growing up was of course something one did over years. With magic however, changes that required nature years could happen almost instantaneously.
Nothing about this change was in any way natural.
Jimminy badly wished he had the time and resources to help guide all of those boys from their current states as donkeys back to the boys they'd been only hours before. However, Jimminy knew that such a task would be a massive undertaking.
That of course assumed Jimminy could find a way to get the donkeys away from the Coachman.
Perhaps the current state of those boys was part of the problem. They'd become donkeys. Growing up was a process that gradually made aspects of being an adult not part of a child's' life very much a part of it. With no way to tell anyone the truth about how they became donkeys, turning into donkeys would make all of the aspects of being donkeys very much a concern for those boys.
That all one had to do was turn someone into a donkey to force the reality of donkey life upon said person sent a chill down Jimminy's spine.
"One's humanity ought to be sacred," Jimminy said. "This shouldn't be able to happen to anyone."
Jimminy knew that the only realistic way to save the boys from a society that allowed one to treat donkeys in the way society did would be to restore them to being boys.
Such a task was, like so much in life, far easier to contemplate doing then to do.
As he neared the pool hall, Jimminy thought more of the boys.
If they'd retained their human minds and magic could restore their bodies, this could be a frightening lesson but a lesson nonetheless.
However, Jimminy knew that if this had affected their minds more then even a little and if magic couldn't reverse the damage that they'd be facing a serious problem.
Jimminy thought of his goal in training Pinocchio to be worthy of being a real boy and how much work it involved and indeed, would involve. Even without magic altering their minds in a way one could not easily reverse, the longer those boys spent as donkeys, the more their minds could change to fit their bodies. Clothes made the man and the body was in a sense a form of clothing. He knew that the longer they wore those forms that the harder it could be for them to go back.
He knew there would come a point where only a donkey that used to be a boy remained.
Jimminy had heard of boys that slipped though the proverbial cracks to grow into men that were but a shadow of what potential they had. Some would argue that with help that they could become more. Others would often say that society simply lacked the time to help them.
Those boys now faced a similar situation,
One might argue that society could rehabilitate them if someone could restore their bodies. Resources however, were finite. By the time someone saved those boys there could well be a new generation of boys that needed those resources.
A sigh escape him. He knew that as horrible as it felt and sounded that he had to accept that at this point and perhaps from this point forward, those boys were going to be donkeys.
He prayed that Pinocchio had not changed, that it was still possible to save him from this terrible fate.
Jimminy wanted to cry for those other boys. If only they the time, the resources and ability to save them.
He saw the poll hall a short distance away. With a deep breath, he ran toward and into it.