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his eyes filled with tears, and he wept bitterly. But no one could tell, least of all the ringmaster, who, cracking his whip, cried out, “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, because Pinocchio is a classically trained dancer, he often incorporates steps from the ballet vocabulary into his otherwise unorthodox routines. Right now this monumental talent, this vision of virtuosity, will perform—with all the ease and precision of a human ballerina—a selection from his vast repertoire: an abridged rendition of the classic ballet Swan Lake. He'll begin with a high leap with his front legs extended forward and his hind legs backward. Watch for yourselves how, as he extends his legs in both directions, he at the same time extends the very parameters of classical ballet itself! Pinocchio! Swan Lake! Leap like a ballerina! Leap!”

The ringmaster sharply prodded Pinocchio with the hard handle of his whip, and the donkey jumped a couple of inches off the ground. If he tried to extend his legs while in the air, it wasn't noticeable from the seats.

“And Pinocchio can perform tricks! Pinocchio! Show us how you can jump through the hoop!”

Pinocchio tried twice to jump through a hoop that was held by a female assistant, but each time he came near it, he found it easier to run around it than to jump through it. The third time he started far back to give himself time to gain momentum. As he raced toward the hoop, all the boys and girls held their breath expectantly. But the attempt proved anticlimactic when at the last second he veered to the right and ran around it.

Immediately after this last abortive effort, the ringmaster tightened his grip on the whip and gave Pinocchio a menacing look that seemed to say: “If you circumvent the hoop one more time you'll get a lashing you'll never forget!” On his next try, the defeated donkey, with a dispirited and resigned expression on his face, forced himself to leap through it. But as he did so his hind legs got caught. He fell clumsily to the hard floor with a resounding thump.

The ringmaster, ignoring the fallen donkey, suddenly announced to the audience, “In his subsequent performances, Pinocchio will perform more amazing tricks for your pleasure! So be sure to come back tomorrow night—and bring your friends!”

When he got up, the little donkey was hurt and could hardly limp as far as the stable.

“Pinocchio! We want Pinocchio! We want the little donkey!” cried the children.

But no one saw him again that evening. He spent the night in lonely seclusion in the locked stable with nothing to keep him company but

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