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|The Adventures of Pinocchio||C. Collodi|
|Page 2 of 3||
"I don't care."
"Aren't you afraid of death?"
"Not a bit. I'd rather die than drink that awful medicine."
At that moment, the door of the room flew open and in came four Rabbits as black as ink, carrying a small black coffin on their shoulders.
"What do you want from me?" asked Pinocchio.
"We have come for you," said the largest Rabbit.
"For me? But I'm not dead yet!"
"No, not dead yet; but you will be in a few moments since you have refused to take the medicine which would have made you well."
"Oh, Fairy, my Fairy," the Marionette cried out, "give me that glass! Quick, please! I don't want to die! No, no, not yet--not yet!"
And holding the glass with his two hands, he swallowed the medicine at one gulp.
"Well," said the four Rabbits, "this time we have made the trip for nothing."
And turning on their heels, they marched solemnly out of the room, carrying their little black coffin and muttering and grumbling between their teeth.
In a twinkling, Pinocchio felt fine. With one leap he was out of bed and into his clothes.
The Fairy, seeing him run and jump around the room gay as a bird on wing, said to him:
"My medicine was good for you, after all, wasn't it?"
"Good indeed! It has given me new life."
"Why, then, did I have to beg you so hard to make you drink it?"
"I'm a boy, you see, and all boys hate medicine more than they do sickness."
"What a shame! Boys ought to know, after all, that medicine, taken in time, can save them from much pain and even from death."
"Next time I won't have to be begged so hard. I'll remember those black Rabbits with the black coffin on their shoulders and I'll take the glass and pouf!--down it will go!"
"Come here now and tell me how it came about that you found yourself in the hands of the Assassins."
"It happened that Fire Eater gave me five gold pieces to give to my Father, but on the way, I met a Fox and a Cat, who asked me, `Do you want the five pieces to become two thousand?' And I said, `Yes.' And they said, `Come with us to the Field of Wonders.' And I said, `Let's go.' Then they said, `Let us stop at the Inn of the Red Lobster for dinner and after midnight we'll set out again.' We ate and went to sleep. When I awoke they were gone and I started out in the darkness all alone. On the road I met two Assassins dressed in black coal sacks, who said to me, `Your money or your life!' and I said, `I haven't any money'; for, you see, I had put the money under my tongue. One of them tried to put his hand in my mouth and I bit it off and spat it out; but it wasn't a hand, it was a cat's paw. And they ran after me and I ran and ran, till at last they caught me and tied my neck with a rope and hanged me to a tree, saying, `Tomorrow we'll come back for you and you'll be dead and your mouth will be open, and then we'll take the gold pieces that you have hidden under your tongue.'"
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