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troubled him deeply, it also had the effect of rekindling his sense of purpose. He suddenly sat up straight and with eyes gleaming vowed to study hard and to behave himself. And he kept his word for the rest of that year!

The most climactic event of the school year was the announcement of the Student of the Year award, which was based on both scholastic achievement and conduct. Pinocchio had scored highest in every one of his final examinations! With that remarkable feat and his excellent behavior, he easily won the award. As the recipient, he was given five gold stars and was the subject of a flattering speech by his teacher. In spite of himself, Pinocchio basked in the high praise bestowed on him—especially when it was announced that on the mathematics exam, he'd successfully solved a difficult problem that had stymied every other student in the class.

The next day the fairy said to him lovingly, “It gratifies me to see that you've worked so hard and behaved so well. Tomorrow your wish will be granted.”

“What do you mean?”

“Don't you see? Your bad record has been annulled by your hard work and good behavior. Tomorrow you will cease to be a puppet and will become a real live boy.”

Pinocchio was beside himself with joy. All his friends and schoolmates were to help him celebrate the momentous occasion the next day! The fairy promised that the party would include a chocolate cake and festive decorations in many bright colors.

Chapter 26 “Lampwick”

Late that afternoon Pinocchio asked for permission to hand out the invitations.

“Indeed, you may go and invite your friends to tomorrow's party. But once you've handed out all the invitations, don't dawdle; come right home. You must be back before dark. Do you promise?”

“Yes. I'll be back in an hour without fail.”

“Be careful, Pinocchio! Boys make promises very easily, but they just as easily default on them. Can I trust you?”

“Yes, implicitly. You see, I'm not like other boys—when I give my word, I keep it.”

“We'll see. But in case you do disobey, you'll be the one who suffers—not anyone else.”


“Because boys who don't listen to their parents and teachers are always sorry in the end.”

“But I've learned my lesson,” said Pinocchio.

“And what lesson is that?”

Pinocchio thought for a moment, then said, “It's hard to verbalize what it is exactly…but I guess the crux of it is that children who lie or steal or who are lazy always end up unhappy. From now on I'll be good.”

“We'll see if that's true. I hope it is.”

Without adding another word, the puppet said good-bye to his mother, and, singing and dancing, left the house.

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