Short summary - Gelsomino in the Country of Liars - Gianni Rodari

Italy literature summaries - 2023

Short summary - Gelsomino in the Country of Liars
Gianni Rodari

A boy with an extraordinary voice finds himself in a country where a pirate seized power, forcing everyone to lie. With the help of a magical voice, the boy destroys the lie, and the truth reigns in the country.

In a small Italian village, a boy, Gelsomino, is born, with an incredibly loud voice, from which everything around collapses. The school teacher believes that his voice will bring him either great happiness or many troubles. He advises the boy to be silent, since no one has yet been scolded for silence. Neighbors accuse him of witchcraft. Gelsomino dreams of learning to sing. His relatives have died, and he sets out to roam the world to become a singer.

Gelsomino comes to the Land of Liars, where the opposite is true. In the stationery store they sell him food, and in the grocery store they sell ink and notebooks. People call morning evening and evening morning. From an excess of feelings, Gelsomino quietly says “Aaaa”, and a three-pawed Zoppino kitten, drawn in chalk, falls from the wall. From him, Gelsomino learns the history of the Land of Liars.

Many years ago, the pirate Jacomone appeared in the country. He seized power, and so that it would not occur to anyone to tell the truth about him, he ordered the publication of a new dictionary, where all the words were reversed, so morning is now called evening, and vice versa. For the truth, people were put in jail. Not only people were forced to lie, but also animals. Now dogs are meowing and cats are barking.

Zoppino and Gelsomino are busy looking for food. They meet Aunt Pannakyu (Corn) who feeds the cats. To scare them away, Zoppino meows. Having escaped with food and lost Gelsomino, Zoppino finds himself near the wall surrounding the royal palace. Climbing up it, he looks into Jakomono's bedroom and sees that the golden hair that the king is so proud of is a wig. With his chalk paw, he writes on the walls that the king wears a wig.

In the morning people read the inscriptions and start laughing at the king. He becomes furious and orders to find the one who made them. Aunt Pannacchia notices Zoppino writing on the walls and takes him home so that Zoppino can teach her pet cats how to meow. At home with Aunt Pannachia, Zoppino meets her niece Romoletta, who painted it on the wall.

Hearing that Aunt Pannachia's cats are meowing, a neighbor, Senor Calimero, writes a denunciation of her.

Romoletta goes to the artist Bananito, who lives next door, to borrow paints and draw Zoppino's fourth leg. Bananito himself at this time examines his paintings, which depict a horse with thirteen legs and a man with three noses. He decides to cut them up.

Meanwhile, the director of the opera house, Maestro Domisol, hears Gelsomino's voice and invites him to his theater. Maestro Domisol puts up posters all over the city, stating that the worst tenor in the world, Gelsomino, who has been pelted with rotten eggs all over the world, will not give a concert, the audience is asked not to come and the entrance tickets are worth nothing. King Giacomon is present at the concert, and the voice of Gelsomino blows his wig off. After the next song, the theater collapses. In horror, Gelsomino rushes to run, and Maestro Domisol runs after him, demanding compensation for the losses.

Fleeing, Gelsomino finds himself in Bananito's workshop, where he meets Zoppino. Gelsomino invites the artist to paint the truth. Living animals jump off the corrected paintings. Now everything that Bananito draws comes to life. The artist adds a fourth leg to Zoppino.

Reading a newspaper where lies are written instead of the truth, Zoppino learns that Gelsomino is wanted because of the destroyed theater, and Aunt Pannokia and Romoletta taught cats to meow and were placed in a madhouse for this.

Calimero demands a good reward for his denunciation, but the truth is written in it, and the police chief places Calimero in a lunatic asylum. Flayer-cops rush to catch meowing cats and barking dogs. They place all those captured in a room with Calimero, who really goes crazy and begins to meow.

Gelsomino, running away from the police, hurts his leg and ends up in the house of the old junk dealer Benvenuto. Benvenuto is ill with a new disease - if he sits, he gets old. Therefore, Benvenuto always stands, and if he sits down, it is only to help someone. This gives him gray hair.

Bananito paints on the street and his true-to-life drawings come to life. For this he is sent to prison. Seeing his drawings, the head of the prison brings the artist to Giacomon. The king orders to draw an unprecedented zoological garden and appoints him minister of food supplies. Bananito has to draw food for people, but only truthful orders come to life, and then the artist is ordered to draw weapons. Bananito refuses point-blank, and Giacomon sends him to an insane asylum.

Zoppino sneaks in and finds the artist. Bananito, using the paws of a kitten, draws everything that is required to escape, and escapes. He hides in Benvenuto's wheelbarrow, under the rags. Hiding the artist, the old man has to sit, and he dies.

Gelsomino comes to the lunatic asylum and begins to sing. From his voice, the building collapses, the prisoners scatter, and people rush to get rid of the lies. Now Gelsomino sings near the royal palace. Unrecognized by anyone, Giacomon escapes.

The state of liars is destroyed, only a column remains, on which the exploits of Giacomon are described, in order to remind people of the past and not return to lies.

Bananito restored the palace, Aunt Pannochia became the director of the Institute for the Protection of Homeless Cats, Romoletta became a school teacher, and Gelsomino took up music seriously. Counting on the weapon that the artist Bananito would draw, Giacomon managed to declare war on the neighboring state. But Gelsomino arranges a football match instead of war.