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of Wonders?” asked Pinocchio, growing tired of waiting.

“Be patient. It's only a few more steps away.”

They passed through the city and its little, ramshackle homes, and Pinocchio wondered how people could live in such hovels.

“Why don't these people fix their broken-down homes?” the puppet asked the fox.

“You know, when these sordid little houses were brand-new, they really looked rather pretty. But because they were made of shoddy materials, they quickly fell into disrepair. Of course, the owners would like to fix them up, but they just don't have the money for the renovations.” Then, shaking his head: “It's a curse to be poor. A curse!”

“Can't they get money by planting coins in the Field of Wonders?”

“They're not as lucky as you. They earn a bare subsistence and no more. They have no coins to plant—not even a penny.”

“Not even a penny,” repeated the cat.

Just outside the walls of the town, they stepped into a bleak field that looked pretty much like any other field.

“Here we are!” exclaimed the fox. He pointed down at a spot near the center of the field and said to the puppet, “Dig a hole right there and put the gold pieces into it.”

The puppet eagerly obeyed. He dug the hole, put the four gold pieces into it, and covered them up very carefully. In his excitement he forgot all about the unfortunate inhabitants of Fool's Trap.

“Now,” said the fox, “go to that brook that runs adjacent to the field, bring back a pail full of water, and sprinkle it over the spot.”

Pinocchio followed the directions closely, but, as he had no pail, he was forced to improvise. He pulled off a shoe and filled it with water. Then, carefully carrying the shoe so that no water would spill, he returned to the spot where the coins were buried and sprinkled the ground. “Anything else?” he asked.

“Nothing else,” answered the fox. He scanned the skies and then stuck out his paw as if to feel the air temperature. “With today's optimal weather conditions, the tree should sprout in no time. Now go for a walk, but return here in twenty minutes. By then the tree will have grown and its branches will be loaded with gold coins!”

Pinocchio, beside himself with joy, thanked the fox and the cat many times as they all began to walk from the field. Finally, he promised them each a beautiful gift.

“As we've said before, we don't want any gifts,” answered the fox. “Even to take a single coin as a mere memento would be unthinkable. We're here only to help others, and it's more than enough for us to have shown you how to become rich with

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