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|The Adventures of Pinocchio||C. Collodi|
|Page 2 of 4||
"My dear boy," answered the Dormouse to cheer him up a bit, "why worry now? What is done cannot be undone, you know. Fate has decreed that all lazy boys who come to hate books and schools and teachers and spend all their days with toys and games must sooner or later turn into donkeys."
"But is it really so?" asked the Marionette, sobbing bitterly.
"I am sorry to say it is. And tears now are useless. You should have thought of all this before."
"But the fault is not mine. Believe me, little Dormouse, the fault is all Lamp-Wick's."
"And who is this Lamp-Wick?"
"A classmate of mine. I wanted to return home. I wanted to be obedient. I wanted to study and to succeed in school, but Lamp-Wick said to me, `Why do you want to waste your time studying? Why do you want to go to school? Come with me to the Land of Toys. There we'll never study again. There we can enjoy ourselves and be happy from morn till night.'"
"And why did you follow the advice of that false friend?"
"Why? Because, my dear little Dormouse, I am a heedless Marionette--heedless and heartless. Oh! If I had only had a bit of heart, I should never have abandoned that good Fairy, who loved me so well and who has been so kind to me! And by this time, I should no longer be a Marionette. I should have become a real boy, like all these friends of mine! Oh, if I meet Lamp-Wick I am going to tell him what I think of him--and more, too!"
After this long speech, Pinocchio walked to the door of the room. But when he reached it, remembering his donkey ears, he felt ashamed to show them to the public and turned back. He took a large cotton bag from a shelf, put it on his head, and pulled it far down to his very nose.
Thus adorned, he went out. He looked for Lamp-Wick everywhere, along the streets, in the squares, inside the theatres, everywhere; but he was not to be found. He asked everyone whom he met about him, but no one had seen him. In desperation, he returned home and knocked at the door.
"Who is it?" asked Lamp-Wick from within.
"It is I!" answered the Marionette.
"Wait a minute."
After a full half hour the door opened. Another surprise awaited Pinocchio! There in the room stood his friend, with a large cotton bag on his head, pulled far down to his very nose.
At the sight of that bag, Pinocchio felt slightly happier and thought to himself:
"My friend must be suffering from the same sickness that I am! I wonder if he, too, has donkey fever?"
But pretending he had seen nothing, he asked with a smile:
"How are you, my dear Lamp-Wick?"
"Very well. Like a mouse in a Parmesan cheese."
"Is that really true?"
"Why should I lie to you?"
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