Pinocchio… “lost” boy or wayward player?

Walt Disney had an incredible imagination. An icon in the entertainment industry, He was an innovator in animation and theme park design. Walt co-founded Walt Disney Productions, one of the most prevalent motion picture producing companies in the world. We all know Walt and his films. Do you have a personal favorite Disney movie? My favorite childhood movie was made by Disney, it’s the Jungle Book. Yep, I’ve written about Mowgli the man cub on a few occasions here, most recently about Mowgli’s primate friend, King Louie, and what happened to Mowgli down by the Living Water.

Jesus taught in parables.

According to, a parable is “a short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson.”

I think that Disney picked up on the use of parables in his work. Maybe he got this from Jesus. Walt was a Christian, from what I can find out.

Pinocchio is example of how he may have used a parable to teach, as well as to entertain. There were moral lessons in Pinocchio. For starters, honesty was a central theme or moral of this story. Pinocchio found out how one simple little white lie could turn into a huge problem… it grew like his nose. I guess since he was made out of wood he could have opted to toting a Leatherman Super Tool 300 to whack off those extra inches from his nose when he fibbed. Cheaper than plastic, easier than the truth? Well, not entirely. There were other lessons in Pinocchio too, about minding our conscience, and about how wise counsel from our guardians will help keep us out of trouble. All good stuff!

If you dig around the wonderful world of Disney enough you will find there are some who elude to hidden meanings. Check out this song from Pinocchio…

I’ve got no strings
To hold me down
To make me fret, or make me frown
I had strings
But now I’m free
There are no strings on me
Hi-ho the me-ri-o
That’s the only way to go
I want the world to know
Nothing ever worries me
Hi-ho the me-ri-o
I’m as happy as can be
I want the world to know
Nothing ever worries me
I’ve got no strings
So I have fun
I’m not tied up to anyone
They’ve got strings
But you can see
There are no strings on me
Dutch girl puppet:
You have no strings
Your arms is free
To love me by the Zuider Zee
Ya, ya, ya
If you would woo
I’d bust my strings for you
French girl puppet:
You’ve got no strings
Comme ci comme ca
Your savoire-faire is ooh la la!
I’ve got strings
But entre nous
I’d cut my strings for you
Russian girl puppet:
Down where the Volga flows
There’s a Russian rendezvous
Where me and Ivan go
But I’d rather go with you, hey!

So our friend Pinocchio was pretty carefree once he escaped the world of “attachment,” right? He’s brought to life when Geppetto’s wish is granted by a fairy, but Pinocchio must prove himself worthy  before he can become a real boy. Without strings attached, Pinocchio is free to… roam? Or is it commitment that he’s really free from? Did he just get a chance to be a real boy, or is he now a promiscuous player, falling to temptation and free from the “burden” of a proper, loving relationship? From there, Pinocchio headed off to naughty land… Pleasure Island, when he’s tempted to do bad in what may have seemed at the time to be good. There’s a happy ending though as he saves Geppetto from the beast.

So I’m just wondering, how far did Walt intend for us to go with the concept of “no strings attached?” I mean, surely there is the literal meaning for Pinocchio, but did Walt infer that the boy was a wayward player of his time? Was he living large for this opportunity to be a real boy, or just having fun and not tied up to anyone?

While Walt DID have extraordinary imagination, did he really intend this mystical meaning? I don’t know the answer to that one, maybe you’ll chime in with the correct answer? 🙂

So I started to wonder… what’s the message in Jesus’ parables? Some of them seem pretty straightforward, others are quite obscure and I have to look at the footnotes in my study Bible to try to understand. I have to dig deeper, and yearn to understand. Did Jesus intend for there to be hidden meanings in His parables?

In Luke Chapter 8, Jesus shared the Parable Of The 4 Soils. It seemed a little obscure, so His disciples asked Him what it meant…

Jesus said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,
though seeing, they may not see;
though hearing, they may not understand.” Luke 8:10

The truth is that Jesus didn’t intend to hide anything from people who were intently listening for the deep spiritual meaning. However, that group was not in the majority. To many people, the true meaning simply can’t be found… until they choose to faithfully follow Jesus. And, of course, there’s the bigger question… if we get the message, will we apply it?

What’s our message, or imprint? What impression do we leave behind?

Here’s my intended message: Love. Yep, oneword simple… love. There is no hidden agenda. Granted, not everyone likes love… you may remember that not everyone liked Jesus either… or understood his message.

Having the eyes to see and hearing to understand.

Disney was entertaining, and delivered a good, inspiring message.

Jesus’ message is powerful, enduring and relevant.

What message do you hope to deliver?

Do you think Disney intentionally included hidden meanings in his work?

What about Jesus, do you yearn to understand His message?