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to Pinocchio, “We'll rendezvous at midnight just outside the front door. Don't be late.” As the puppet started to enter his bedroom, the fox added, “Have a pleasant nap!”

In his room, Pinocchio got into bed and fell into a fitful, uneasy sleep. But after a while he began to sleep more deeply and he started to dream. He dreamt that he was sauntering through a beautiful field filled with trees. From their branches hung a profusion of shiny gold coins that twinkled tantalizingly in the dappled sunlight. They seemed to say: “Let whoever wants us take us!” Just as he pulled down a long, supple branch to gather a handful of coins, he was awakened by three loud knocks at the door. It was the innkeeper who had come to tell him that midnight had struck.

“Are my friends ready?” the puppet asked.

“Indeed, yes! They left two hours ago.”

“Left? Why in such a hurry?”

“Unfortunately, the cat received a telegram saying that his neighbor's pet goldfish had died. Understandably, he became greatly perturbed—that's why he rushed home without saying good-bye to you.”

“I see. Did they pay for our dinner and rooms?”

“How could they do such a thing? Being gentlemen of great refinement, they didn't want to offend you by not allowing you the honor of paying the bill.”

Pinocchio scratched his head thoughtfully, then asked, “Where did they say they'd meet me?”

“At the Field of Wonders, at sunrise.”

Pinocchio paid a gold piece for the dinners and rooms and started on his way toward the field that was to make him rich.

He walked on, not knowing where he was going, for the quiet countryside was dark—so dark that not a thing was visible. Every now and again a vagrant leaf, blown by the wind, brushed against his nose and scared him half to death. Once or twice he shouted, “Who goes there?” and the far-away hills echoed back to him, “Who goes there? Who goes there?”

As he walked, Pinocchio noticed a tiny insect glimmering on the trunk of a tree—a small being that glowed with a pale, soft light.

“Who are you?” he asked.

“I'm the ghost of the cricket you killed,” answered the little being in a faint voice that sounded as if it came from another world.

“What do you want?” asked the puppet.

“I want to give you some advice. Return home and give the four gold pieces you have left to your poor old father, who's weeping because he hasn't seen you for many days.”

“You sound just like your earthly counterpart—the one I killed with a hammer. Why are you always harping on the idea of my remaining at home? Don't you realize that because I've gone out into the

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