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tree began to burn. Pinocchio saw the flames climb higher and higher. Not wanting to end his life like a roasted duck, he jumped quickly to the ground and ran off. The muggers followed close behind.

Dawn was breaking when, without any warning, Pinocchio found his path blocked by a deep pool of stagnant water covered with green slime. It was about five feet in length, and its breadth was equal to the width of the path. What was there to do? With a “One, two, three!” he jumped clear across it. The robbers jumped also, but, not having judged the distance properly, fell right into the middle of the pool. Pinocchio, who heard the splash and felt it, too, cried out, laughing, but never stopping in his race, “Have a nice bath!”

He thought they must surely be drowned and turned his head to see. But two somber figures were still following him, though their black sacks were drenched and dripping with slimy water.

Chapter 11 “The Blue-Haired Fairy”

As he ran, Pinocchio felt more and more certain that he would have to give himself up into the hands of his attackers. Suddenly he saw a little cottage gleaming white as the snow among the trees of the forest.

“If I have enough breath left to reach that little house, I may be saved,” he said to himself. Not waiting another moment, he darted swiftly through the woods, with the robbers still after him.

After a hard race of almost an hour, tired and out of breath, Pinocchio finally reached the door of the cottage and knocked. No one answered.

He knocked again, harder than before, for behind him he heard the steps and the labored breathing of his persecutors. The same silence followed.

As knocking was of no use, Pinocchio began to kick and bang against the door, as if he wanted to break it. At the noise, a window opened and a lovely young girl appeared. She had blue hair and a face as white as wax. Her eyes were softly closed and her hands were gently crossed before her chest. The chaste simplicity of her pure white dress enhanced her air of peacefulness. With a voice so weak that it hardly could be heard, she whispered, “No one lives in this house. Everyone is dead.”

“Won't you at least open the door for me?” cried Pinocchio in a pleading voice.

“I also am dead,” whispered the girl paradoxically.

“Dead? What are you doing at the window, then?”

“I'm waiting for the coffin to come and take me away.”

After these words, the little girl disappeared and the window closed without a sound.

“Oh, beautiful blue-haired child,” cried Pinocchio, “open, I beg of you. Take

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