After five months of play, Pinocchio wakes up one fine morningand finds a great surprise awaiting himFinally the wagon arrived. It made no noise, for itswheels were bound with straw and rags.
It was drawn by twelve pair of donkeys, all of the samesize, but all of different color. Some were gray, otherswhite, and still others a mixture of brown and black.
Here and there were a few with large yellow and blue stripes.
The strangest thing of all was that those twenty-fourdonkeys, instead of being iron-shod like any other beastof burden, had on their feet laced shoes made of leather,just like the ones boys wear.
And the driver of the wagon?
Imagine to yourselves a little, fat man, much widerthan he was long, round and shiny as a ball of butter, witha face beaming like an apple, a little mouth that alwayssmiled, and a voice small and wheedling like that of a catbegging for food.
No sooner did any boy see him than he fell in love withhim, and nothing satisfied him but to be allowed to ridein his wagon to that lovely place called the Land of Toys.
In fact the wagon was so closely packed with boys ofall ages that it looked like a box of sardines. They wereuncomfortable, they were piled one on top of the other,they could hardly breathe; yet not one word of complaintwas heard. The thought that in a few hours they wouldreach a country where there were no schools, no books,no teachers, made these boys so happy that they feltneither hunger, nor thirst, nor sleep, nor discomfort.
No sooner had the wagon stopped than the little fatman turned to Lamp-Wick. With bows and smiles, heasked in a wheedling tone:
"Tell me, my fine boy, do you also want to come tomy wonderful country?""Indeed I do.""But I warn you, my little dear, there's no more roomin the wagon. It is full.""Never mind," answered Lamp-Wick. "If there's noroom inside, I can sit on the top of the coach."And with one leap, he perched himself there.
"What about you, my love?" asked the Little Man,turning politely to Pinocchio. "What are you going to do?
Will you come with us, or do you stay here?""I stay here," answered Pinocchio. "I want to returnhome, as I prefer to study and to succeed in life.""May that bring you luck!""Pinocchio!" Lamp-Wick called out. "Listen to me.
Come with us and we'll always be happy.""No, no, no!""Come with us and we'll always be happy," cried fourother voices from the wagon.
"Come with us and we'll always be happy," shouted theone hundred and more boys in the wagon, all together.
"And if I go with you, what will my good Fairy say?"asked the Marionette, who was beginning to waver andweaken in his good resolutions.
"Don't worry so much. Only think that we are goingto a land where we shall be allowed to make all the racketwe like from morning till night."Pinocchio did not answer, but sighed deeply once--twice--a third time. Finally, he said: