"Feet and a Nose"
Lois Greene Stone
(A true anecdote)

"Read me Pinocchio again, Grandma?" Kevin sat very quietly hoping I would go through the words once more. "I like the pictures."

"Okay." I really was tired of going over the same story several times a day. "First, like we always do, point to Pinocchio's nose before he starts telling those big fibs."

"Here." Kevin touched the drawing on the page and then giggled.

"Want me to start right now?"

"Uh, huh, Grandma."

Feeling tired, yet playful, I began, "Once upon a time that is happening now..."

"What are you reading, Grandma? That's not the story." Kevin seemed annoyed.

"It's my version for now, Kevin. Listen. Let me change how this whole thing happens. It'll be fun. You can still point to the pictures." I began to laugh. "Only his nose won't grow."

"That's not the way it goes. How can he know he has lied if his nose doesn't grow?"

"Well," I pointed to the puppet drawn on the book's page, but ran my fingers down to his feet.

"That's silly. Feet are silly." Kevin pulled my finger away.

"Listen, when he lies now, his feet will get longer. That will make him able to take fewer steps to get anyplace. That will make him really have to think whether to stop lying or not." I was no longer tired.


"Well, if you didn't have to take so many steps to, let's say, walk across the room, you wouldn't get tired as quickly."

"But," interrupted Kevin, "I don't get tired from walking."

"Sure you do. You ask me to carry you, don't you?"

"Mmm. Yes." Kevin answered.

"Okay, then. He can get anywhere he wants to quickly by telling lots of lies. His shoe size goes up to a size 24 by the time he's finished with big, big lies. So why would he stop?" I. questioned Kevin.

Kevin shrugged his shoulders.

"Maybe there's no such thing as a size 24 shoe! How about he has to stop lying because he can't buy shoes for such big feet. How's that?" I gave my grandson a friendly poke in his tummy.

"Uh, uh. You told me that lying isn’t good for any reason. Didn’t you?" Kevin asked and looked serious. Then he burst out laughing, "I wouldn’t want a long, long, long foot any more than I would want a nose that was as long as Pinocchio’s. And everybody would know what big lies you tell if you had those big feet or Pinocchio’s nose."

"And nobody would trust you, right? Who trusts a liar?" I smiled.

Kevin giggled again. "Read me the storybook your way. Then can I try and make up a sillier story of Pinocchio?"