Synopsis:Emmanuel’s best friend in the 19th century boarding school, on Syros Island, is Semira the cat. Semira has a deadly enemy in the school -the housekeeper- for she has the habit of lying on the covered with luscious bedspreads bed, which the housekeeper embroiders patiently herself. No one has ever rested or slept on the bed because it is saved for the occasion when the housekeeper and her prospective groom would climb on it with the permission of the bishop and the blessing of the Pope. Of all the similarities to the cat, which the ancients aspired to adopt, the housekeeper has only one. Not of course the agility, the charm, the smoothness of the skin, the sparkling of the eyes, the grace of movement, or the rosy colour of the lips, but sufficiently thick whiskers above them. The character of the spinster attracts the ridicule of the pupils in the form of poetic and prosaic statements of ardent love through which, above all, her whiskers are mostly praised. The headmaster finds it difficult to restrain his laughter, during the process of reprimanding the culprits. Comical scenes take place with the housekeeper chasing Semira off her bed, culminating in the scene when one day the bulge on the bedspread, signifying the presence of the cat, is hit with ferocious rage with a broomstick. The removal of the bedcovers reveals the squalid remnant of the housekeeper’s own beloved hat, instead of the corpse of a cat. Interrogations are carried out to find the culprit without success. This is considered by everybody a great for him good fortune, because three days later, Semira is drawn out of the water well, dead.
Emmanuel’s other good friend is Pluto the dog performing with an Italian street circus, tricks like the mimicking of pope Pius Nine blessing the crowd, awarding the beauty prize to the most attractive laundress or nanny, but above all, with a basket in his mouth, collecting the money at the end of the show. The pupils adore Pluto who sometimes visits them in the school yard and even in the classrooms. On an ill-omened day Giamvatista falls and breaks both legs. At the hospital his legs are amputated and Pluto stays by his bedside. Pluto is abducted by another patient and taken to a nearby village. In the meantime Giamvatista dies and his funeral takes place. Pluto manages to escape and returns to the hospital in search of his master. A trainee doctor, who is carrying out research into the effects of incisions made on living beings, grabs Pluto and starts his abominable experiments. Carlos returns to the hospital to collect the meagre paternal inheritance and rescues Pluto. His wounds are treated and allowed to rest. It is however impossible for Pluto to find peace without his senior master. He manages to escape and having his nose as a guide, follows the way to the cemetery. On the way he is attacked by some young boys throwing stones. The pupils come to the rescue of Pluto who reaches the cemetery but dies from exhaustion in Carlos’s arms. The pupils persuade the undertaker to bury Pluto in a small grave outside the cemetery, since the priest refuses to bury a four legged animal in a cemetery for two legged animals.