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said Pinocchio, sitting down, “but I'll try to make it as concise as I can. Anyway, here's what happened: Fire-Eater gave me five gold pieces to give to my father, but on the way home 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's stop at the Red Lobster Inn to rest, and after midnight we'll set out again.' We ate and went to sleep. When I woke up they were gone and I started out in the darkness all alone. On the road I met two killers dressed in black sacks, who said to me, ‘Your money or your life.' 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, but I bit it off and spit 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 hung me from a tree branch. They said they'd come back the next morning to find me dead with my mouth—”

Here the fairy interrupted the monologue to ask, “Where are the gold pieces now?”

“I lost them,” answered Pinocchio. But he was lying, for he had them in his pocket.

As he spoke, his nose, long as it was, became at least two inches longer.

“Where did you lose them?”

“In the nearby woods,” the puppet answered, with a slight upward inflection.

At this second lie, his nose grew a few more inches.

“If you lost them in the nearby woods,” said the fairy, “we'll look for them and find them, for everything that's lost there is always found.”

“No, wait! That's not it. I must have had amnesia for a second. Now I remember. I didn't lose the gold pieces. I swallowed them when I drank the medicine.”

At this third lie, his nose became so long that he couldn't even move in any direction. If he turned to the right, he'd knock it against the bed or into the windowpane; if he turned to the left, he'd strike the wall or door; and if he raised his head a bit, he'd risk poking out the fairy's eyes.

Then, instead of further trying to elicit the truth from him, the fairy sat staring at him, laughing.

“Why are you laughing?” the puppet asked.

“I'm laughing at your lies.”

“How do you know I'm lying?”

“For a long time,” she said

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