The Coachman

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The Coachman
The Adventures of Pinocchio character
The Coachman, from "L'avventure di Pinocchio".jpg
Il conduttiere del carro, as illustrated by Enrico Mazzanti
First appearance The Adventures of Pinocchio
Created by Carlo Collodi
Species Human
Gender Male
Nationality Italian

The Coachman (Italian: Il Conduttore del Carro), also known as The Little Man (L'Omino), is a fictional character who appears in Carlo Collodi's 1883 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 24 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. The coachman comes to the donkey and acts as if he's going to give it a kiss, but then 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 kidnap the delinquent children to the Land of Toys, whilst singing to himself:

“All night they sleep And I never sleep…”

In chapter XXXII, the coachman visits Pinocchio and Candlewick five months later, when they have themselves 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 ringmaster. He has become a millionaire by selling children for the donkey trade.

In Disney version[edit]

The Coachman, as portrayed in the 1940 Walt Disney film Pinocchio

The Coachman appears in the 1940 Disney film adaptation, where he is voiced by Charles Judels (who also voiced Stromboli). Unlike L'Omino who worked alone, Disney's Coachman enlists J. Worthington "Honest John" Foulfellow and Gideon to help him lure wayward boys to take to "Pleasure Island" and ultimately turn them into donkeys to sell. The Coachman offered to pay them in gold for this job at the time when they are dining with him at the Red Lobster Inn. This plot gave Foulfellow and Gideon a frightened reaction as they had mentioned that Pleasure Island is off-limits by the authorities. Also shown are numerous silent, black, ape-armed henchmen working for him on the island. Unlike the book's "Little Man," Disney's Coachman is large, physically imposing, and has a harsh, rather than alluring voice, along with a Cockney accent. He resembles a sort of macabre Santa Claus. Though physically and verbally abusive toward the children-turned-donkeys, he does not bite the ears of the ones that pull his coach as in the book. After Foulfellow and Gideon brought Pinocchio and other boys to the Coachman's coach by midnight, the Coachman took them to Pleasure Island. Once all the boys were enjoying themselves, the Coachman had his minions close the doors and to go down below to get the crates ready for departure. When Jiminy Cricket was planning to leave Pinocchio on Pleasure Island, he came across the Coachman and his minions checking each of the boys that were turned into donkeys and loading the donkeys onto the boat. If the donkeys no longer spoke, they are stripped of their clothes and sold to different places like a salt mine or a circus. If they still spoke, the Coachman threw them back into the pen to await for them to lose the ability to speak. As those who still able to speak beg to be released, the Coachman shouts at them to be quiet and then quotes "You boys have had your fun. Now deal with it!' This leads to Jiminy Cricket successfully getting Pinocchio off Pleasure Island before he can fully turn into a donkey. Like Stromboli, the Coachman's ultimate fate is never revealed.[1]

In the Descendants novel "The Isle of the Lost," the Coachman is among the villains imprisoned on the Isle of the Lost where he operates a taxicab that is pulled by normal donkeys. It was also mentioned that prior to being imprisoned on the Isle of the Lost, the Coachman had to spend a year having to round up all the boys that were turned into donkeys.

Other appearances[edit]

L'Omino, as portrayed in Un burattino di nome Pinocchio
  • 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 Pinocchio's Christmas, there is a sleigh driver that works for a rich duke who is based on the Coachman.
  • In the 1993 direct to video adaption from GoodTimes Entertainment, the Coachman is portrayed more like his Disney counterpart who is large and very harsh and gives all the boys a ride to Dunceland and transforming them into donkeys.
  • In Steve Barron's 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 Lorenzini's theatre on fire, Lorenzini changes career and begins luring unruly children to Terra Magica, 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 a monstrous whale which swims out to sea.
  • In the 1999 live action film "Pinocchio," the Coachman is renamed Mr. Gypsy. He is very similar to the coachman in the 1940 Walt Disney film with a rough hoarse voice and tricks Pinocchio into being transformed into a donkey until he is rescued by the Magic Fairy.


  1. ^ "Pinocchio Goes Postmodern". 


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