By this time the day had dawned. Pinocchio then offering his arm to Geppetto, who had scarcely breath to stand, said to him:
'Lean on my arm, dear papa, and let us go. We will walk very slowly like the ants, and when we are tired we can rest by the wayside.'
'And where shall we go?' asked Geppetto.
'In search of some house or cottage, where they will give us for charity a mouthful of bread, and a little straw to serve as a bed.'
They had not gone a hundred yards when they saw by the roadside two villainous-looking individuals begging.
They were the Cat and the Fox, but they were scarcely recognisable. Fancy! the Cat had so long feigned blindness that she had become blind in reality; and the Fox, old, mangy, and with one side paralysed, had not even his tail left. That sneaking thief, having fallen into the most squalid misery, one fine day had found himself obliged to sell his beautiful tail to a travelling pedlar, who bought it to drive away flies.
'Oh, Pinocchio!' cried the Fox, 'give a little in charity to two poor infirm people.'
'Infirm people,' repeated the Cat.
'Begone, impostors!' answered the puppet. 'You took me in once, but you will never catch me again.'