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this Field of Wonders?”

“Only two miles away. Will you come with us? We'll be there in half an hour. You can plant the money, and, after a few minutes, you'll reap your two thousand coins and return home rich. Are you coming?”

Pinocchio was still reluctant, for he remembered the good fairy, old Geppetto, and the advice of the cricket. If he was aware that today the fox claimed that it takes only a few minutes for gold coins to blossom, whereas earlier he'd said that it takes all night, he didn't mention the discrepancy.

“Have you ever heard the expression ‘He who hesitates is lost'?” asked the fox.

“I think so. What does it mean?”

“It means that if you spend too much time deliberating about what to do, you lose the chance to act altogether.”

“Yes, but—”

“Do you mean” interrupted the fox, “to stand there and tell me that you're content with being poor, that you don't care about enjoying the niceties of civilized life—fine dining, stylish clothes, silk sheets?”

“Well, I—”

“And what about your education? You don't want to skimp on that, do you? Once you become rich, you'll be able to attend one of those prestigious private schools out in the country.”

“Yes, but—”

Just then the fox turned to the cat and, loudly enough so that the puppet would overhear, and with a slight space between each word for dramatic effect, mock-whispered into his ear, “This demented lunatic actually likes being poor!” Then the fox and cat both burst out laughing.

And Pinocchio ended up doing what most boys do when they don't have much inner strength or common sense. He shrugged his shoulders and said to the fox and cat, “Let's go!”

And they went.

They walked and walked for at least half a day and at last they came to a place called Fool's Trap. As soon as they entered the town, Pinocchio saw that all the houses were dilapidated and all the stores were closed. Peering through the grimy window of one store he noticed that everything inside was dusty and in disarray. Looking into another he saw nothing but piles of rubble.

In the streets he saw mangy dogs whose mouths were wide open from hunger. He saw large butterflies who couldn't fly because they'd had to sell their colorful wings. He saw peacocks who were ashamed to be seen because they'd had to sell their beautiful tails.

The fox lightly elbowed Pinocchio in the ribs, cocked his chin toward these poor souls, and whispered, “The dregs of society.”

Through this crowd of paupers, a lavishly decorated coach passed now and then. Within each one sat an elegantly dressed fox or hawk.

“Where is the Field

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