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|The Adventures of Pinocchio||C. Collodi|
|Page 2 of 4||
At that second beating, Pinocchio became very quiet and said no more.
After that, the door of the stable was closed and he was left alone. It was many hours since he had eaten anything and he started to yawn from hunger. As he yawned, he opened a mouth as big as an oven.
Finally, not finding anything else in the manger, he tasted the hay. After tasting it, he chewed it well, closed his eyes, and swallowed it.
"This hay is not bad," he said to himself. "But how much happier I should be if I had studied! Just now, instead of hay, I should be eating some good bread and butter. Patience!"
Next morning, when he awoke, Pinocchio looked in the manger for more hay, but it was all gone. He had eaten it all during the night.
He tried the straw, but, as he chewed away at it, he noticed to his great disappointment that it tasted neither like rice nor like macaroni.
"Patience!" he repeated as he chewed. "If only my misfortune might serve as a lesson to disobedient boys who refuse to study! Patience! Have patience!"
"Patience indeed!" shouted his master just then, as he came into the stable. "Do you think, perhaps, my little Donkey, that I have brought you here only to give you food and drink? Oh, no! You are to help me earn some fine gold pieces, do you hear? Come along, now. I am going to teach you to jump and bow, to dance a waltz and a polka, and even to stand on your head."
Poor Pinocchio, whether he liked it or not, had to learn all these wonderful things; but it took him three long months and cost him many, many lashings before he was pronounced perfect.
The day came at last when Pinocchio's master was able to announce an extraordinary performance. The announcements, posted all around the town, and written in large letters, read thus:
GREAT SPECTACLE TONIGHT LEAPS AND EXERCISES BY THE GREAT ARTISTS AND THE FAMOUS HORSES of the COMPANY
First Public Appearance
THE STAR OF THE DANCE ---- The Theater will be as Light as Day
That night, as you can well imagine, the theater was filled to overflowing one hour before the show was scheduled to start.
Not an orchestra chair could be had, not a balcony seat, nor a gallery seat; not even for their weight in gold.
The place swarmed with boys and girls of all ages and sizes, wriggling and dancing about in a fever of impatience to see the famous Donkey dance.
When the first part of the performance was over, the Owner and Manager of the circus, in a black coat, white knee breeches, and patent leather boots, presented himself to the public and in a loud, pompous voice made the following announcement:
"Most honored friends, Gentlemen and Ladies!
"Your humble servant, the Manager of this theater, presents himself before you tonight in order to introduce to you the greatest, the most famous Donkey in the world, a Donkey that has had the great honor in his short life of performing before the kings and queens and emperors of all the great courts of Europe.
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