Pinocchio's ears become like those of a Donkey.
In a little while he changes into a real Donkey and begins to brayEveryone, at one time or another, has found some surpriseawaiting him. Of the kind which Pinocchio had on thateventful morning of his life, there are but few.
What was it? I will tell you, my dear little readers.
On awakening, Pinocchio put his hand up to his head andthere he found--Guess!
He found that, during the night, his ears had grownat least ten full inches!
You must know that the Marionette, even from hisbirth, had very small ears, so small indeed that to thenaked eye they could hardly be seen. Fancy how he feltwhen he noticed that overnight those two dainty organshad become as long as shoe brushes!
He went in search of a mirror, but not finding any,he just filled a basin with water and looked at himself.
There he saw what he never could have wished to see.
His manly figure was adorned and enriched by a beautifulpair of donkey's ears.
I leave you to think of the terrible grief, the shame,the despair of the poor Marionette.
He began to cry, to scream, to knock his head againstthe wall, but the more he shrieked, the longer and themore hairy grew his ears.
At those piercing shrieks, a Dormouse came into theroom, a fat little Dormouse, who lived upstairs. SeeingPinocchio so grief-stricken, she asked him anxiously:
"What is the matter, dear little neighbor?""I am sick, my little Dormouse, very, very sick--andfrom an illness which frightens me! Do you understandhow to feel the pulse?""A little.""Feel mine then and tell me if I have a fever."The Dormouse took Pinocchio's wrist between her paws and,after a few minutes, looked up at him sorrowfully and said:
"My friend, I am sorry, but I must give you some very sad news.""What is it?""You have a very bad fever.""But what fever is it?""The donkey fever.""I don't know anything about that fever," answered the Marionette,beginning to understand even too well what was happening to him.
"Then I will tell you all about it," said the Dormouse.
"Know then that, within two or three hours, you will nolonger be a Marionette, nor a boy.""What shall I be?""Within two or three hours you will become a real donkey,just like the ones that pull the fruit carts to market.""Oh, what have I done? What have I done?" cried Pinocchio,grasping his two long ears in his hands and pulling and tuggingat them angrily, just as if they belonged to another.
"My dear boy," answered the Dormouse to cheer him up a bit,"why worry now? What is done cannot be undone, you know.
Fate has decreed that all lazy boys who come to hate booksand schools and teachers and spend all their days with toysand games must sooner or later turn into donkeys.""But is it really so?" asked the Marionette, sobbing bitterly.