As retold for Aaron
Pinocchio, instead of becoming a boy, runs away to the Land of Toys with his friend, Lamp-Wick
Invitations in hand for the grand party, Pinocchio asked for permission to deliver them.
"Certainly, only remember to return home before dark. Do you understand?" the Fairy said.
"I'll be back in one hour without fail," answered the Marionette.
"Take care, Pinocchio! Boys give promises very easily, but they just as easily forget them."
"But I'm not like those others," Pinocchio protested. "When I give my word I keep it."
"We shall see. In case you do disobey, you will be the one to suffer, not anyone else."
Impatient, the Marionette quickly agreed, then bidding the Fairy goody-by, he left the house singing and dancing.
In a little more than an hour, nearly all of the puppet's friends were invited to his party. Some accepted quickly and gladly. Others had to be coaxed, but when they heard that the toast was to be buttered on both sides, they all ended by accepting the invitation with the words, "We'll come to please you."
Among Pinocchios friends was a boy whose name was Romeo, but everyone called him Lamp-Wick, for he was long and thin and had a woebegone look about him.
Lamp-Wick was the laziest boy in the school and the biggest mischief-maker, but Pinocchio loved him dearly.
Lamp-Wick's house was the first to which Pinocchio had gone, but his friend wasn't at home. He went a second time, and again a third, but still without success.
Where could he be? Having handed out the rest of the invitations, Pinocchio searched here, there and everywhere for Lamp-Wick. Finally, he discovered him hiding near a farmer's wagon.
"What are you doing there?" asked Pinocchio, running up.
"Waiting for midnight to strike," Lamp-Wick replied. "When it does, I'm going far, far away."
"I'll have you know I've been three times to your house, looking for you."
"What do you want?"
"Then you haven't heard the news and don't know what good luck is mine?"
"What is it?"
"Tomorrow I end my days as a Marionette and become a boy, like you and all my other friends," Pinocchio proudly proclaimed. "I am having a party to celebrate. Will you be there?"
"I just told you, I'm leaving tonight."
"At what time?"
"Didn't I just tell you? At midnight."
"Where are you going?"
"As I said, far away. To a real country--the best in the world--a wonderful place!"
"What is it called?" Pinocchio inquired, becoming ever more curious.
"It is called the Land of Toys. Hey, Pinocchio, why don't you come, too?"
"I? Oh, no! Tomorrow I become a boy!"
"You'remaking a big mistake, Pinocchio. Believe me, if you don't come, you'll be sorry. Where can you find a place that will agree better with you and me? No schools, no teachers, no books! In that blessed place there is no such thing as study. There, every day is a holiday. Vacation begins on the first of January and ends on the last day of December. That is the place for me! All countries should be like it! Every day is spent in play and enjoyment from morn till night. At night one goes to bed, and next morning, the good times begin all over again. What do you think?"
"Hmmm!" said Pinocchio, nodding his wooden head, as if to say, "It's the kind of life which would agree with me perfectly."
"Do you want to go with me, then? Yes or no? You must make up your mind."
"No, no, and again no! I have promised my kind Fairy to become a good boy, and I want to keep my word. Goodbye and good luck to you but I must run! The sun is setting and I promised my Mother I'd be home before dark!"
"Wait two minutes more," Lamp-Wick coaxed.
"It's too late!"
"Only two minutes."
"And if the Fairy scolds me?"
"Let her scold. After she gets tired, she will stop," said Lamp-Wick.
"Are you going alone to this Land of Toys or with others?"
"Alone? Not at all! There will be more than a hundred of us!"
"How will you get there?"
"At midnight the wagon passes here that is to take us within the boundaries of that marvelous country."
"How I wish midnight would strike!"
"To see you all set out together," Pinocchio said.
"Stay here a while longer and you will!"
"No, no. I want to return home."
"Wait two more minutes."
"I have waited too long as it is. My Mother will be worried."
"Don't go, Pinocchio! Come with us, instead!"
"It's useless for you to tempt me!" the Marionette insisted. "I told you I promised my Mother to behave myself, and I intend to keep my word. Goodbye, Lamp-Wick. Have a pleasant trip, enjoy yourself, and remember your friends once in a while."
With these words, the Marionette started on his way home. But then, turning once more to his friend, he asked:
"Are you sure that, in that country, each week is a Holiday?"
"And you say it is the Land of Toys?"
"Yes, the Land of Toys!"
"What a great country!" said Pinocchio to himself. Then, in sudden determination, he hurridly added,
"Goodbye for the last time, and good luck."
"How soon will you go?"
"Within two hours now."
"What a pity! If it were only one hour, I might wait for you."
"Why don't you?"
"By this time I'm late, and one hour more or less makes little difference. But two hours?"
"Why don't you anyway?"
"All right," Pinocchio said and seated himself on the ground beside Lamp-Wick.
"Poor Pinocchio! And if your Mother scolds you for being late?"
"Oh, I'll let her scold. After she gets tired, she will stop."
In the meantime, the night became darker and darker. It was right around midnight when in the distance a small light flickered, and a queer sound could be heard, soft as a little bell, faint and muffled like the buzz of a far-away mosquito.
"There it is!" cried Lamp-Wick, jumping to his feet.
"What?" whispered Pinocchio.
"The wagon which is coming to get me. For the last time, are you coming or not?"
"Never, never, never!"
Click on Pinocchio to go to Chapter Thirty-one
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