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be ruined.”

“Do you want to buy my shoes?”

“Shoes of bark? They're only good for lighting a fire.”

“What about my hat?”

“Some bargain! A cap made out of bread! Is that supposed to be aesthetically pleasing?”

“Well—” said Pinocchio, who was too naïve to understand that the boy was intimating that the cap looked ugly.

“Look,” the boy interrupted, “I don't know you, but let me give you some advice about clothes. At the least you should try to conform to the way your peers dress—because if you deviate from the norm, you'll be laughed at. But better still, look to see what the best-dressed boys wear—then try to emulate them. Anyway, I don't want to buy anything from you.”

Pinocchio, still without the five cents he needed, was almost in tears. He was just about to make one last offer, but didn't have the nerve. He hesitated for a long time, unable to make up his mind. At last he said, “Will you give me five cents for my brand-new schoolbook?”

“I'm a boy, so I don't buy things from other boys,” said the little fellow cryptically.

“Sorry to intrude,” said a canny used book salesman who happened to be standing nearby and eavesdropping, “but I might give you five cents for your book. But first I have to make sure that the price you're asking isn't too high. You see, there's a glut of schoolbooks in the marketplace right now, so even though it has some educational value, it has very little monetary value. Here, let me see it.”

Pinocchio handed over the book and the salesman made a show of appraising it. Then, acting as if he were doing Pinocchio a tremendous favor, he agreed to the price. Taking a nickel from his pocket he handed it to Pinocchio, then disappeared into the crowd.

And to think that poor old Geppetto sat at home shivering in his shirtsleeves because he had to sell his coat to buy that schoolbook for his son!

Chapter 6 “Fire-Eater”

Quick as a flash, Pinocchio disappeared into the puppet theater. It was full of people, who were enjoying the show and laughing till they nearly cried at the zany physical antics of the marionettes and the savage topical references in their jokes and songs.

Pinocchio sat mesmerized in the last row. Then suddenly, without any warning, the leading puppet stopped acting, pointed to the rear of the theater, and yelled wildly, “Look, look! Am I dreaming? Or do I really see Pinocchio there?”

“It is Pinocchio! It is Pinocchio!” yelled all the marionettes. “Pinocchio, come up to us! Come to the arms of your wooden brothers!”

At such a loving invitation, Pinocchio stood up, and with one leap found himself in one of the middle

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