The Coachman

The Coachman

The Coachman (Italian: "Il Conduttiere del Carro"), also known as The Little Man ("L'Omino"), is a fictional character who appears in Carlo Collodis book "The Adventures of Pinocchio" ("Le avventure di Pinocchio").


The coachman is introduced in chapter XXXI, and is described as thus:

The coachman’s name is never revealed, though he identifies himself in Chapter XXXII as merely “The Little Man” ("L’Omino"). He drives to Busy Bee Island ("Isola delle Api Industriose") on a coach pulled by twenty four donkeys which mysteriously wear white shoes on their hooves. By the time he arrives to take Pinocchio and Candlewick to the Land of Toys ("Il Paese dei Balocchi"), his carriage is completely packed, leaving Candlewick to sit in front with him and Pinocchio to ride one of the donkeys. The donkey throws Pinocchio off, and is reproached by the coachman, who bites half its right ear off. When Pinocchio remounts the donkey, the animal begins to weep like a human, and warns Pinocchio of the impending danger he faces. The coachman again reproaches the animal by biting off half its other ear. The coachman proceeds to take the children to the Land of Toys, whilst singing to himself:

“All night they sleepAnd I never sleep…”

In chapter XXXII, the coachman visits Pinocchio and Candlewick five months later, when they have finally become donkeys due to their idleness. He violently breaks into their house, meticulously waxes their fur, and puts them on sale. Candlewick is bought by a farmer, while Pinocchio is bought by a circus ringleader.

Media appearances

The Coachman, voiced by Charles Judels, who also voiced Stromboli, is a villain from the Disney film "Pinocchio". Unlike "L'Omino" who worked alone, Disney's Coachman enlists Honest John and Gideon to help him lure wayward boys to take to "Pleasure Island" and ultimately turn them into donkeys. It is also shown that he has numerous black cloaked henchmen working for him on the island. Unlike the book's "Little Man", Disney's Coachman is physically imposing and has a harsh, rather than alluring voice. Though physically abusive toward the children-turned donkeys, he does not go as far as mutilating them as in the book.In Giuliano Cencis 1972 adaptation "Un burattino di nome Pinocchio", the Coachman, voiced by Gianni Bonagura, is portrayed much more closely to the book than his Disney counterpart. Like the "Omino" of the book, Cenci's Coachman works alone, and he is portrayed as an effeminate and alluring character with a high pitched voice, who easily tricks Pinocchio and Candlewick to come to the Land of Toys. However, he is not portrayed as violently as in the book.

In Steve Barrons 1996 live action film "The Adventures of Pinocchio", the Coachman's role is fused with that of Mangiafuoco (renamed Lorenzini), who is played by Udo Kier. After Pinocchio accidentally sets Lorenzinis theatre on fire, Lorenzini changes career and begins luring unruly children to pleasure island, taking on the role originally filled by The Coachman. There, the children inevitably drink cursed water which turns them into donkeys. Lorenzini, during a struggle with Pinocchio, falls into the water and turns into The Terrible Dogfish.


Collodi, "Le Avventure di Pinocchio" 1883, Biblioteca Universale Rizzoli

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