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litigation for years. We don't want that, do we? Luckily, as an officer of the court, it's my prerogative to settle this case here and now—and that's what I intend to do.” He scratched his head thoughtfully for a few moments, then continued, “This fellow here has made a number of scandalous accusations. The way I see it is that while we don't know if he's actually perjured himself, we do know that he's defamed some worthy citizens and is guilty of slander. Take him, therefore, and throw him in jail.”

The puppet, on hearing this sentence passed upon him, was flabbergasted. “But the parrot will corroborate my story!” he screamed in desperation. “Ask him!” But the canine officers clapped their paws over his mouth and carried him off to jail.

Pinocchio had to remain in jail for four long, weary months. In the beginning, he spent all his time pacing his cell and thinking about how he might extricate himself from this crazy mess. But he didn't merely want to be released from jail; he also wanted his honor vindicated. At first he considered asking to speak to the judge again in order to reiterate his innocence and to point out that an objective analysis of the facts would prove that the fox and cat were indeed guilty. Failing that, he'd ask the judge to extradite him back to his home town, where he knew he'd be able to convince any reasonable-minded authority of his innocence. But he was afraid to approach the judge for fear of an even worse punishment. After methodically examining every facet of the entire situation, he decided that the best idea would be to present his case to a higher authority here in Fool's Trap—an authority of unquestioned integrity, of course—who had the power to countermand the judge's edict.

He began thinking about what he would say. He worked on his presentation obsessively until it was perfectly formed in his mind. First he'd point out that a judge is seen by the public as a bulwark against injustice and as such is expected to ensure the equitable treatment of all citizens within his jurisdiction by making fair, disinterested decisions. Then he'd say that in this particular case, this judge demonstrated a flagrant disregard for the truth. Next he'd claim that the judge is bigoted against puppets and that his attitude, as evidenced by the unfair prison sentence, promotes a philosophy suggesting that discrimination is acceptable. Then he'd try to further discredit the judge by pointing out that he'd completely ignored every known legal doctrine, such as the right of the accused to speak to an attorney and

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