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Chapter 13 “Medicine”

As soon as the three doctors had left the room, the fairy went to Pinocchio's bed and felt his pulse for herself. It was racing, and the fairy, knowing that a quick pulse often denotes fever, touched his forehead. It was burning up.

“How do you feel?” she asked.

“I feel hot, weak, and achy,” he mumbled.

She filled a glass with tepid water and then poured some yellow powder into it. Then she stirred it with a spoon, creating a homogeneous mixture. Holding it to his lips, she said lovingly, “Drink this, and soon you'll be up and well.”

Pinocchio looked at the glass, made a face, and asked in a whining voice, “Is it sweet or sour?”

“It's sour, but it's good for you.”

“If it's sour, I don't want it.”

“The powder I put in is only a small component of the medicine. It's mostly just water. Drink it!”

“But it's sour. I don't like anything sour.”

“Drink it and I'll give you a lump of sugar to take the sour taste from your mouth.”

“Where's the sugar?”

“Here it is,” said the fairy, taking a lump from a golden bowl.

“I want the sugar first, then I'll drink it.”

“Do you promise?”


The fairy gave him the sugar and Pinocchio, after chewing and swallowing it in a second, said, smacking his lips, “If only sugar were medicine! I would take it every day.”

“Now keep your promise and drink this. It'll be good for you.”

Pinocchio took the glass in both hands and stuck his long nose into it. He winced and said, “It's too sour, much too sour! I can't drink it.”

“How do you know, when you haven't even tasted it?”

“I can tell. I can smell it. It's repulsive. It smells like rotten lemons and stale vinegar mixed together. It reeks!” Then, astute negotiator that he was, Pinocchio said, “I want another lump of sugar, then I'll drink it.”

The fairy, with all the patience of a good mother, gave him more sugar.

“I still can't drink it,” Pinocchio said, making more faces.


“Because the pillow near my feet is lying on an angle.”

The fairy straightened the pillow.

“It's no use. I can't drink it even now.”

“What's the matter now?”

“I don't like the way the door looks. It's half open.”

The fairy closed the door.

“I won't drink it,” cried Pinocchio, bursting out crying. “I won't drink this awful stuff. I won't, I won't! No, no, no, no!”

“But you're sick. Very, very sick.”

“If I drink that, I'll probably get even sicker. Anything that smells that bad is bound to have an adverse effect.”

“That's not true. Now listen to me. I'm not giving you this medicine simply to relieve your aches and malaise. You need it to stay alive! I didn't want to tell you this because I didn't want to frighten you, but you have

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