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|The Adventures of Pinocchio||C. Collodi|
|Page 3 of 4||
He waited and waited and waited. Finally, after a full half hour, a top-floor window (the house had four stories) opened and Pinocchio saw a large Snail look out. A tiny light glowed on top of her head. "Who knocks at this late hour?" she called.
"Is the Fairy home?" asked the Marionette.
"The Fairy is asleep and does not wish to be disturbed. Who are you?"
"It is I."
"Who is Pinocchio?"
"The Marionette; the one who lives in the Fairy's house."
"Oh, I understand," said the Snail. "Wait for me there. I'll come down to open the door for you."
"Hurry, I beg of you, for I am dying of cold."
"My boy, I am a snail and snails are never in a hurry."
An hour passed, two hours; and the door was still closed. Pinocchio, who was trembling with fear and shivering from the cold rain on his back, knocked a second time, this time louder than before.
At that second knock, a window on the third floor opened and the same Snail looked out.
"Dear little Snail," cried Pinocchio from the street. "I have been waiting two hours for you! And two hours on a dreadful night like this are as long as two years. Hurry, please!"
"My boy," answered the Snail in a calm, peaceful voice, "my dear boy, I am a snail and snails are never in a hurry." And the window closed.
A few minutes later midnight struck; then one o'clock --two o'clock. And the door still remained closed!
Then Pinocchio, losing all patience, grabbed the knocker with both hands, fully determined to awaken the whole house and street with it. As soon as he touched the knocker, however, it became an eel and wiggled away into the darkness.
"Really?" cried Pinocchio, blind with rage. "If the knocker is gone, I can still use my feet."
He stepped back and gave the door a most solemn kick. He kicked so hard that his foot went straight through the door and his leg followed almost to the knee. No matter how he pulled and tugged, he could not pull it out. There he stayed as if nailed to the door.
Poor Pinocchio! The rest of the night he had to spend with one foot through the door and the other one in the air.
As dawn was breaking, the door finally opened. That brave little animal, the Snail, had taken exactly nine hours to go from the fourth floor to the street. How she must have raced!
"What are you doing with your foot through the door?" she asked the Marionette, laughing.
"It was a misfortune. Won't you try, pretty little Snail, to free me from this terrible torture?"
"My boy, we need a carpenter here and I have never been one."
"Ask the Fairy to help me!"
"The Fairy is asleep and does not want to be disturbed."
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