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Where are the others? said Pablo. They’re inside, said Blurtso, sleeping off the pumpkin pie. Yes, said Pablo, not many animals have the constitution of a donkey. That’s for sure, said Blurtso. How’s life in Cambridge? said Pablo. Fine, said Blurtso, I saw an amazing jenny three weeks ago. Really? said Pablo, What’s her name? I don’t know, said Blurtso, I think it’s Lizzy. You think? said Pablo. Yes, said Blurtso, I’ve never spoken with her. Why not? said Pablo. Because I don’t know what to say, said Blurtso. Why can’t you say whatever comes to mind, said Pablo, and just be yourself? Because I want her to like me, said Blurtso, and she might not like me for myself. Why would you want to be with her, said Pablo, if she didn’t like you for yourself? Because she’s incredible, said Blurtso. That doesn’t make sense, said Pablo. No, said Blurtso, I suppose it doesn’t, but maybe I could convince her to like me. That would be the worst thing to do, said Pablo, because then you’d have to spend your life continuing to convince her, and you’d never be yourself. Perhaps, said Blurtso, but at least I’d be with her. Maybe not, said Pablo, she might eventually realize you’re a fake. Yes, said Blurtso, you may be right. So, said Pablo, what do you think you’ll do? I’m not sure, said Blurtso, I think I’ll do everything I can to convince her to like me. Yes, said Pablo, I thought so.
What are you doing with so many pumpkins? said Blurtso. We’re swapping them, said Pablo, for food and supplies… the cellar is already full. Is Harlan coming tonight? Yes, said Blurtso, he and Alexandra are taking the train. Good, said Pablo. I hope they like pumpkin pie.
What a lovely cabin, said Alex. Yes, said Harlan, it’s very sturdy. I’m glad you like it, said Pablo, Bonny and I are happy you could come. How long have you lived here? said Alex. Seven months, said Bonny. Do you miss the city? said Alex. Boston? said Bonny. No, not really. Concord has all we need. Like what? said Alex. Like paints and canvass, said Bonny. We produce everything else. What do you do for entertainment? said Alex. We sing, said Bonny, or read, or tell stories around the fire. That sounds great, said Harlan. Can we hear a story tonight? Of course, said Bonny, Pablo knows some really scary ones. Scary? said Harlan. Yes, said Bonny, but not too scary… Ditto gets nightmares.
Once upon a time, not long ago, there was a donkey, a giraffe, an elephant, and an insane woodsman.
I think I’m walking in circles. I wonder if I’m walking in big circles or little circles? If I walk in bigger and bigger circles I should reach the edge of the field. I wonder what’s beyond the cornfield? I wonder if it’s a canefield? A canefield is taller than a cornfield. Even a giraffe wouldn’t walk into a canefield. A giraffe wouldn’t walk into a canefield or a cornfield, apparently. I should have turned back when I didn’t see the giraffes. Yes, that’s what I should have done, I should have followed the giraffes. Hey, what’s this? An opening in the corn! Oh boy! I can hardly wait to see what’s there! Hmmm, said Blurtso, would you look at that, a wide flat space. An empty space, without a single giraffe. That’s not good. I wonder what’s beyond this empty space? Probably another field. Blurtso looked at the field from which he had emerged, then he looked at the space. I guess if I walk along the edge of the corn I will get to where I went in. I wonder what time it is? The shadows of the corn are as long as my nose, so it must be before noon. Did I enter from the east or from the west? I think the east. Let’s see, if the time is before noon and my shadow is to the right, I must be walking south. Maybe the entrance is to the south. Unless I’m walking away from the entrance…
And so he went, walking and worrying, figuring and fretting, gladdening and saddening, until he eventually reached the entrance to the corn. The entrance! he said. Or is this the exit? Just then, Blurtso heard a rustle in the corn.
What’s that?! A giraffe! A penguin! A pterodactyl! Oh my goodness! An enormous boxing-glove nose! Hello, said Pablo, emerging from the corn. A happier donkey at the entrance of a cornfield the world has never seen. How did you find the entrance? said Blurtso. Simple, said Pablo, I followed the giraffes. Did you see any pterodactyls? said Blurtso. Of course not, said Pablo, Nebraska is only six thousand years old.
Wow, said Blurtso, the corn in Pablo’s garden has really grown. I wonder how far it goes? I wonder if it goes all the way to Nebraska? I’ve never been to Nebraska, but I’ve seen a lot of corn. The people in Nebraska must be happy with their corn.
I wonder if I should move to Nebraska? I wonder how many cornfields it is from here to Nebraska? Maybe it’s many cornfields away or maybe it’s just one big cornfield. I would be very happy if it’s only a cornfield away. I can hardly wait to get to Nebraska. This corn is very tall. Only a giraffe could see over this corn. I wonder if there are many giraffes in Nebraska. I hope so. I would love to see a cornfield full of giraffes. And penguins. I would love to see a cornfield full of giraffes and penguins and maybe even a pterodactyl. Wouldn’t that be something, giraffes, penguins, and pterodactyls. I can hardly wait to get to Nebraska. Wow, I’ve been walking a long time. Nebraska is farther than I thought. I wonder if I’m getting close? I wonder if I already passed it? I wonder if I passed it and am now walking away? I wish I could see above the corn. I haven’t found a single giraffe.