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Pinocchio eats sugar, but refuses to take medicine. When the undertakers come for him, he drinks the medicine and feels better. Afterwards he tells a lie and, in punishment, his nose grows longer and longer.

Pinocchio eats sugar, but refuses to take medicine. When the undertakers come for him, he drinks the medicine and feels better. Afterwards he tells a lie and, in punishment, his nose grows longer and longer.


Chapter Seventeen

As retold for Aaron

Pinocchio eats sugar, but refuses to take medicine. When the undertakers come for him, he drinks the medicine and feels better. Afterwards he tells a lie and, in punishment, his nose grows longer and longer.

When the three doctors had left the room, the Fairy went to Pinocchio's bed and touched him on the forehead. Observing the Marionette burning with fever, she took a glass of water, put a white powder into it, and, handed it to him. "Drink this," she lovingly told the puppet, "and in a few days you'll be up and well."
Pinocchio looked at the glass, made a wry face, and asked in a whining voice: "Is it sweet or bitter?"
"It is bitter," the Fairy told him, "but it is good for you."
Pinocchio protested, "If it is bitter, I don't want it."
"Little puppet, you must drink if you want to get better."
Pinocchio again protested, "I don't like anything bitter."
"Drink it and I'll give you a lump of sugar to take the bitter taste from your mouth."
"Where's the sugar?" Pinocchio wanted to know. "I want the sugar first, then I'll drink the bitter water."
"Do you promise?"
She took a lump of sugar from a golden sugar bowl.
"Yes, yes! I promise."
The Fairy gave the puppet the sugar and Pinocchio, after chewing and swallowing it in a twinkling, said, smacking his lips: "If only sugar were medicine! I should take it every day."
"Now keep your promise," the Fairy reminded him, "and drink these few drops of water. They'll be good for you."
Pinocchio took the glass in both hands and stuck his nose into it. "Oh," he frowned, "it is too bitter, much too bitter! I can't drink it."
"How do you know, when you haven't even tasted it?"
"I can imagine it how bitter it is from the way it smells. I want another lump of sugar, then I'll drink it."
The Fairy, with all the patience of a good mother, gave Pinocchio more sugar and again handed him the glass.
Making more wry faces, the Marionette complained, "I can't drink it like that."
"And why not?"
"Because the feather pillow on my feet bothers me."
The Fairy took away the pillow.
"It's no use. I can't drink it even now," Pinocchio said.
"Why not? I took the pillow off your feet."
"I don't like the way that door looks. It's half open."
The Fairy closed the door.
"I won't drink it," exclaimed Pinocchio, bursting out crying. "I won't drink this awful water. I won't. I won't! No, no, no, no!"
"My boy, you'll be sorry if you don't drink," the Fairy answered.
"I don't care."
"You are very sick, little puppet."
"I don't care. I'd rather die than drink that awful medicine."
"If that's how you really want it, then you may have your wish," the Fairy said. As she turned to leave, the door opened and in bounded four black rabbits with a black box just the right size for a little puppet upon their shoulders.
"No, Fairy, where are you going?" Pinocchio called.
"You don't need me anymore," she replied. "These rabbits will take care of you now."
"No, Fairy, don't go!" Pinocchio cried out. "Give me the glass! Quick, please! I don't want to die! No, no, not yet--not yet!" And holding the glass with his two hands, he swallowed the medicine at one gulp.
No sooner had Pinocchio drunk his medicine then he felt good as new. With one leap he was out of bed and into his clothes.
"You may go," the Fairy told the rabbits (who looked more than a little disgruntled as they left). Pinocchio running and jumping around the room gay as a bird on wind, she said to him, "My medicine was good for you, after all, wasn't it, little puppet?"
"Good indeed! It has given me new life."
"Why, then, did I have to beg you so hard to make you drink it?"
"I'm a boy, you see, and all boys hate medicine more than they do sickness."
"What a shame!" the Fairy sighed. "Boys ought to know, after all, that medicine, taken in time, can save them from much pain--"
"And even death! Next time I won't have to be begged so hard. I'll remember those black Rabbits with the black coffin on their shoulders and I'll take the glass and pouf!--down it will go!"
The Fairy sat upon the bed. "Come here now," she told Pinocchio. "I want you to tell me how it came about that you found yourself in so desperate a situation."
Pinocchio was only too glad to regale the Fairy with a story. "Fire Eater gave me five gold pieces to give to my Father, but on the way, I met a Fox and a Cat, who asked me, `Do you want the five pieces to become two thousand?' And I said, `Yes.' And they said, `Come with us to the Field of Wonders.' And I said, `Let's go.' Then they said, `Let us stop at the Inn of the Red Lobster for dinner and after midnight we'll set out again.' We ate and went to sleep. When I awoke they were gone and I started out in the darkness all alone. On the road I met two horrible Assassins dressed in black coal sacks, who said to me, `Your money or your life!' and I said, `I haven't any money'; for, you see, I had put the money under my tongue. One of them tried to put his hand in my mouth and I bit it off and spat it out; but it wasn't a hand, it was a cat's paw. And they ran after me and I ran and ran, 'till at last they caught me and tied me to a tree with a rope, saying, `Tomorrow we'll come back for you and you'll be dead and your mouth will be open, and then we'll take the gold pieces that you have hidden under your tongue.'"
"Where are the gold pieces now?" the Fairy asked.
"I lost them," Pinocchio quickly answered, but he told a lie, for he now had them in his pocket.
Pinocchio's nose, long though it was, became at least two inches longer as he told this lie.
"And where did you lose them?" the Fairy asked.
"In the woods nearby."
At this second lie, his nose grew a few more inches.
"If you lost them in the nearby wood," said the Fairy, "we'll look for them and find them, for everything that is lost there is always found."
"Ah, now I remember," replied the Marionette, becoming more and more confused. "I didn't lose the gold pieces, but, you see, since they were under my tongue, I accidentally swallowed them when I drank the medicine."
At this third lie, his nose became longer than ever, so long that he could not even turn around. If he turned to the right, he knocked it against the bed or into the windowpanes; if he turned to the left, he struck the walls or the door.
The Fairy sat looking at him and laughing.
"Why do you laugh?" the Marionette asked her, worried now at the sight of his growing nose.
"I am laughing at your lies."
"How do you know I am lying?"
"Lies, my boy, are known in a moment. There are two kinds of lies, lies with short legs and lies with long noses. Yours, just now, happen to have long noses."
Pinocchio, not knowing where to hide his shame, tried to escape from the room, but his nose had become so long that he could not get it out of the door.

Click on Pinocchio to go to Chapter Eighteen
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Rewritten by J. Kearns (in some places considerably, in other places not so considerably, and in others not much at all) from the translation by Carol Della Chiesa of C. Collodi's original story
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