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done as you wished, but you're going to be very sorry before long.”

The puppet, greatly frightened, looked around to see where the words had come from, but he saw no one. The donkeys trotted, the wagon rolled smoothly on, the boys slept, and the fat, little driver whistled between his teeth.

After a mile or so, Pinocchio again heard the same faint voice whispering, “Remember, you fool, boys who play and never study regret it sooner or later. Oh, how well I can attest to that! A day will come when you'll cry bitterly, as I'm crying now—but it will be too late!”

At these whispered words, the puppet grew more and more frightened. He jumped to the ground, ran around to the face of the donkey on whose back he'd been riding, and taking the donkey's nose in his hands, looked at him. Imagine his surprise when he saw that the donkey was crying—just like a boy!

“Driver!” cried the puppet. “Did you hear that? This donkey was talking, and now he's crying!”

“That's ludicrous. You must be hallucinating.”

“But he really spoke.”

“It's just a figment of your imagination, I tell you. Or maybe what you heard was braying. Sometimes that sounds a little like talking.”

“But he spoke fluently, like a person does.”

“Perhaps he learned to mumble a few words when he lived for three years with a flock of trained parrots. That might explain it. Now, don't lose time over a crying donkey. Mount quickly and let's go. The night is chilly and the road is long.”

Pinocchio obeyed without another word. The wagon started again. They rode all night, and Pinocchio was filled with anticipation. He loved the name of their destination. For him the word “Playland” held connotations of ecstasy and delight. Toward dawn they finally reached the much-longed-for country.

From the standpoint of government, this great land was completely unique. Whereas conventional countries had codified laws, Playland had no laws or rules at all. The normal state of affairs there was anarchy and chaos.

In physical appearance the population of Playland—which was composed entirely of boys who ranged in age from eight to fourteen—was quite diverse. Some boys were short, others tall. Some were fat, others thin. Some had fair skin, others had ruddy complexions. Some had freckles. Some had buck teeth.

In the street there was such merriment and shouting that it was deafening. Everywhere you looked, throngs of frolicsome boys had congregated. Some played marbles or hopscotch. Others rode on bicycles or painted wagons. Some played hide-and-seek, others tag.

As soon as they'd set foot in that land, Pinocchio, Lampwick, and all the other boys who'd traveled with them began

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