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no qualms about telling lies.”

“That's not true!”

“Do you know this Pinocchio?”

“Only by sight!” answered the puppet.

“And what do you think of him?” asked the old man.

“I think he's a very good boy, eager to study, kind to his father, and respectful of his mother.”

As he was telling these lies about himself, Pinocchio touched his nose and found it twice as long as it should be. Scared out of his wits, he cried out, “Don't listen to me! All the wonderful things I've just said are fabrications. I know Pinocchio well and he's a very bad boy who, instead of going to school, runs away with his friends to have a good time.”

At this speech, his nose returned to its normal size.

“Why are you so white?” the old man asked.

“I accidentally rubbed myself against a newly painted wall,” he said, ashamed to admit that he'd been covered with flour for the frying pan.

“What have you done with your coat and your hat and your pants?”

“I met bandits on the road and they robbed me. Tell me, my good man, do you have, perhaps, a little suit to give me, so that I can go home?”

“My boy, as for clothes, I have only a bag that I keep beans in. If you want it, take it. There it is.”

Pinocchio didn't wait for him to repeat his words. He took the bag, which happened to be empty, and after cutting a big hole at the top and two at the sides, he slipped into it as if it were an oversized shirt. Strangely dressed as he was, he started out toward the village.

Along the way he felt very uneasy and he said to himself: “How will I ever face my good fairy? What will she say when she sees me? Will she forgive this last mischief of mine? I'm sure she won't. Oh, no, she won't. And I deserve it, as usual! For I'm a wicked boy—always making promises I don't keep!”

He came to the village late at night. It was dark and raining heavily, and he could see nothing. He went straight to the fairy's house and knocked on the door.

He waited and waited. Finally, after a full thirty minutes, the fourth-floor window opened and Pinocchio saw a snail look down. A tiny light glowed on top of its head. “Who knocks at this late hour?” it called.

“Is the fairy home?” asked the puppet.

“The fairy's asleep and doesn't wish to be disturbed. Who are you?”

“It's Pinocchio.”

“Who is Pinocchio?”

“The puppet; the one who lives in the fairy's house.”

“Oh, I understand,” said the snail. “Wait for me there. I'll come down to open the door for you.”

“Hurry, I beg of you, for I'm dying of cold.”

“My boy, I

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