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tears. “I won't do it again.”

Just then, the conversation was interrupted by approaching footsteps. It was the farmer, who was walking on tiptoes to see if, by chance, he'd caught one of the weasels who'd been eating his chickens.

He was greatly surprised when, on holding up his lantern, he saw that, instead of a weasel, he'd caught a boy!

“Ah, you little thief!” said the farmer in an angry voice. “So you're the one who steals my chickens!”

“No, no!” cried Pinocchio, sobbing bitterly. “I came here only to take a very few grapes.”

“Someone who steals grapes may very easily steal chickens as well. Tell me, are you aware of the laws—and penalties— concerning stealing in this town?”


“Take my word for it, I'll teach you a lesson you'll never forget.”

He opened the trap, seized the puppet by the neck, and carried him to his farmhouse as if he were a sack of corn. When he reached the yard in front of the house, he flung Pinocchio to the ground, put a foot on his neck, and said to him roughly, “It's late now and it's time for bed. First thing tomorrow we'll settle matters. In the interim, since my watchdog died today, you'll take his place and guard my chicken coop.”

He shackled Pinocchio's neck with a thick metal dog collar. Then he tethered him with a long iron chain.

“If it happens to rain tonight,” said the farmer, “you can sleep in that little doghouse there. It was my old dog's bed for three years, and it's a fit abode for a lowly thief like you. And if, by chance, any weasels come around, be sure to bark!”

After this last instruction, the farmer went into his house, closed the door, and locked it.

Poor Pinocchio huddled close to the doghouse more dead than alive from cold, hunger, and fright. Now and then he pulled and tugged at the collar that nearly choked him and thought to himself: “I deserve it! Yes, I deserve it! I've been nothing but a truant and a vagabond. I've never obeyed anyone and I've always done as I pleased. If I'd studied and worked and stayed with my poor old father, I wouldn't find myself in this demeaning predicament. Oh, if only I could start all over again! But what's done can't be undone, and I must be patient!”

After this introspective little speech, which came from the very depths of his being, Pinocchio went into the doghouse, gathered the straw into a bed, and lay down.

Chapter 18 “The Weasels”

Even though a boy may be deep in the doldrums, he rarely loses sleep over his unhappiness. Pinocchio, being

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