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dear Lampwick?”


“Is that really true?”

“Why should I lie to you?”

“Then why are you wearing that bag over your ears?”

“The doctor ordered it because one of my knees hurts,” Lampwick explained. “And you—why are you wearing a bag down to your nose?”

“The doctor ordered it because I hurt my foot.”

“Oh, poor Pinocchio!”

“Oh, poor Lampwick!”

An embarrassingly long silence followed these words, during which the two friends looked at each other in a knowing way.

Finally, changing the subject, the puppet asked, “Tell me, Lampwick, now that the novelty of this place has worn off, do you feel that it was a mistake to come here? I mean, do you ever have nostalgic feelings for our old neighborhood or yearn for your family?”

“No, of course not. Why? Do you?”

“Um…I guess not. But now let me ask you something else. Have you ever suffered from an earache?”

“An earache? Never! And you?”

“Never. Except that this morning my ear has been hurting a little.”

“What a strange coincidence. Mine has been hurting, too.”

“Really? Which ear is it?” asked Pinocchio.

“Both of them. And yours?”

“Both of them, too. I wonder if it could be the same sickness.”

“I'm afraid it must be.”

“Will you do me a favor, Lampwick?”


“Will you let me see your ears?”

“Okay. But before I show you mine, I want to see yours.”

“No. Show yours first.”

“No, yours first, then mine.”

“No, yours.”

“No, yours.”

For a while longer they continued trading these words back and forth, vying against each other for an advantage. Finally, seeing that they were at an impasse, the puppet said, “Let's stop bickering; it's babyish. I have an idea. We're stuck in a stalemate, right? So let's compromise by taking off our bags at the same time? What do you say?”

“All right,” answered Lampwick, who seemed glad that the deadlock had finally been broken.

“Ready then!” said Pinocchio. He began to count: “One! Two! Three!”

At the word “Three!” the two boys pulled off the bags and threw them high in the air.

When they saw that they were both suffering from the same ailment, instead of feeling sad and ashamed, they tried to wiggle their long ears.

Then they began to laugh at each other. They laughed and laughed until they nearly burst.

But all of a sudden the hilarity ended. Lampwick, pale as a ghost, turned to Pinocchio and shouted, “Help, help, Pinocchio!”

“What's the matter?”

“Oh, help me! I can't stand up straight.”

“I can't either!” answered Pinocchio, who began to stumble about helplessly.

They had hardly finished speaking when both of them fell on all fours and began running and jumping around the room.

But that was only a prelude to the horrors to come. As they ran, their hands and feet turned into hoofs, their faces lengthened, and their backs became covered with long gray

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