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|The Adventures of Pinocchio||C. Collodi|
|Page 1 of 2||
Pinocchio, not having listened to the good advice of the Talking Cricket, falls into the hands of the Assassins
"Dear, oh, dear! When I come to think of it," said the Marionette to himself, as he once more set out on his journey, "we boys are really very unlucky. Everybody scolds us, everybody gives us advice, everybody warns us. If we were to allow it, everyone would try to be father and mother to us; everyone, even the Talking Cricket. Take me, for example. Just because I would not listen to that bothersome Cricket, who knows how many misfortunes may be awaiting me! Assassins indeed! At least I have never believed in them, nor ever will. To speak sensibly, I think assassins have been invented by fathers and mothers to frighten children who want to run away at night. And then, even if I were to meet them on the road, what matter? I'll just run up to them, and say, `Well, signori, what do you want? Remember that you can't fool with me! Run along and mind your business.' At such a speech, I can almost see those poor fellows running like the wind. But in case they don't run away, I can always run myself. . ."
Pinocchio was not given time to argue any longer, for he thought he heard a slight rustle among the leaves behind him.
He turned to look and behold, there in the darkness stood two big black shadows, wrapped from head to foot in black sacks. The two figures leaped toward him as softly as if they were ghosts.
"Here they come!" Pinocchio said to himself, and, not knowing where to hide the gold pieces, he stuck all four of them under his tongue.
He tried to run away, but hardly had he taken a step, when he felt his arms grasped and heard two horrible, deep voices say to him: "Your money or your life!"
On account of the gold pieces in his mouth, Pinocchio could not say a word, so he tried with head and hands and body to show, as best he could, that he was only a poor Marionette without a penny in his pocket.
"Come, come, less nonsense, and out with your money!" cried the two thieves in threatening voices.
Once more, Pinocchio's head and hands said, "I haven't a penny."
"Out with that money or you're a dead man," said the taller of the two Assassins.
"Dead man," repeated the other.
"And after having killed you, we will kill your father also."
"Your father also!"
"No, no, no, not my Father!" cried Pinocchio, wild with terror; but as he screamed, the gold pieces tinkled together in his mouth.
"Ah, you rascal! So that's the game! You have the money hidden under your tongue. Out with it!"
But Pinocchio was as stubborn as ever.
"Are you deaf? Wait, young man, we'll get it from you in a twinkling!"
One of them grabbed the Marionette by the nose and the other by the chin, and they pulled him unmercifully from side to side in order to make him open his mouth.
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