It was early morning along the coast of Tuscany. So early in fact , that the sun hadn`t peeped over the horizon and spread it`s golden hands and rosy red fingers on the blue sea to make the waves sparkle in the light. It was still dark outside with the stars twinkling like polished diamonds over the sleepy old sea coast village of Collodi . Most people would still be snuggled up in their warm beds , dreaming careless dreams no matter how outrageous the longing was.

But , only a fair few miles down the coast near the salt mines , a donkey dreamed his dream. He was not asleep -but he still had his wishes weighing heavily on his heart. His cruel enslavers where hitching him up to his cart , along with countless other donkeys. This little donkey - though having the appearance of any other donkey - wasn`t truly a donkey. He was a boy long ago . And his name was Lampwick.

Being a donkey had been a punishment for acting like one , as he had figured out . He went to Pleasure Island , intending to have a few weeks with no school and no rules . But , after a few hours of pure , unsupervised bliss , the curse took in action. A tail popped out from the seat of his pants , his ears sprouted into that of a donkey, and hands where clenched to form into black hooves. Magically , in one night , Lampwick the human was transformed into nothing more than a donkey that`s only purpose was to pull heavy carts and perform back-breaking manual labor.

Lampwick despised every minute of being a donkey. Every day passed as though it was an eternity. But amazingly , three years had ticked by. Three long grueling years of tiring labor underground, nudity , an awful stench about him, and only being feed on Sundays - the only days the miners where off ( with the exception of Christmas and Easter).

He wished he could be free , a boy again! Lampwick feared that he wouldn`t live to be human . He could die of starvation or over worked , like many of his friend from Pleasure Island .

The wishing star was right above him , sparkling far more beautifully than any other object in the sky. It had the shine of a new gem that had been placed against the raven black sky. Long ago , his mother had told him about the magic of a special star in the sky. Of course Lampwick had long since out grow such a belief , discarding it as childish. But he was desperate and anything that allegedly could help he was willing to try.

As the miner placed Lampwick`s reign ring on along it his collar , his moved his head up towards the sky braying quietly " Star light star bright , first star I see tonight , I wish I may , I wish I might , have the wish I make tonight." He bowed his head again , the words echoing in his mind and appealing to his ears. To be a human.

That was it , plain a simple. He would give up anything thing to be a human again! Not that he possessed anything really valuable - all of his humanly things where at his home . But if he had to trade anything - he would give it all up for hands and feet to take the place of hooves.

There was always something to interfere with his dreams . That word but always placed him back on to earth , back to reality.

But nobody would every listen to me. No one could ever reverse the curse and make my dream come true. It`s impossible...

Wishing would get him nowhere. It was just impractical.

The miner who owned Lampwick hitched up the bit into Lampwick`s mouth and in one swift movement leapt upon the cart that would carry the salt back to the loading station. With a click of his tongue , a crack of his whip , and the shrewd saying that Lampwick had heard every morning as a reminder of his state "Move it along, pathetic ass."

Pathetic ass.

The words that stung Lampwick more than any spanking he got as a child and now every whipping session in his life. The words rang in his ears , telling him of what he had become. They made tears come stinging into his eyes , too proud to let them fall.

Lampwick trotted along to the salt mines at a usual pace , with the lingering thoughts of his lost humanity. The cart was driven towards the dangerous cliff sides. Lampwick knew many draft animals - donkeys precisely - had lost their very lives at the jagged rocks and harsh swishing of the sea foam.

All Lampwick wanted as a donkey was to please the miner in charge , so that he might be friendly and decide not to whip him too hard. Lampwick had been hit so many times with that whip , but he never developed a tolerance for it . Ever crack sent fear through his body . When he did get hit , the brutal pain was sharp as daggers and pained him greatly . He didn`t want to get hit this morning.
Even though Lampwick believed he was going a nice even pace , his speed didn`t please the miner. A crack of a whip in mid air made Lampwick know that it was coming. "Move it along jackass!" He screeched in a horrible , cigarette creaked old voice .

The pain was great and as soon as it`s sting reached his back , Lampwick could feel blood begin to ooze into his brownish red fur. The whip had triggered the scars beneath his fur to begin to leak out oozing puss and undeniable pain. Fatigue weakened his body and he fell to his knees , too tired to carry on.

"C`mon ! Move!" The miner yelled , trying to coax his donkey to move. "Stubborn jackass..." The vile miner raised his whip one more time and fell against Lampwick`s back . Again , more wretched pain came to him.

Lampwick eyes filled with tears as blood trickled down past his eyes from his tuft of hair. I ...I have to go on...

But he couldn`t. He just couldn`t. He no longer had the strength to get up. This was the end , he was going to be bet to death.

A slither of his tears fell down from his eyes and dripped onto the reign. Lampwick then realized that there was something wrong with his reigns and that he could easily slip out. And before he knew it , he was free!

Run , that was the first word to pop into Lampwick`s head. Lampwick , got to his hooves after several painful trips , but soon he was standing properly. He was free! He had to devise a plan to get to town.

But , the miner saw this and ran after his donkey. "Come back here!"He cried , waving his arms around like a maniac. The other miners saw this , chuckling a bit , but soon joined the wild chase.

Lampwick heaved a sigh as soon as he saw how close he was to the cliff. He had no choice but to fall off the cliff. He wasn`t exactly sure of a donkey`s ability to swim .He just had to trust his luck. After hesitating for a moment , Lampwick threw his body down to the rocks and sea foam to dissolved it in the crest of the waves. He let heaven and hell consume him in the waves, letting go every lat memory and dream of his horrific past.

Lampwick hit the water with a splash and sunk below the surface. He thought back of his horrific past. It would of been pleasant to be a human once more though. He wished one last time to become a human.

But suddenly he heard a twinkling noise and saw a blinding light through the sea water. From the vibrant blue light he saw a maiden clad in sparking blue robes. Her blond hair was held back by a tiara with a star upon it . He felt his lungs get full instead of being low on air as soon as she appeared and he felt like he didn`t need to climb to the surface.

"Romeo, I shall give a second chance"' She said in a angelic voice ." And you will be a human again." At that Lampwick nearly gasped , his head was swimming in shock as the words echoed through his ears.

"But , as you have learn , everything comes at a price. " She said quietly , as if to see how Lampwick would respond to this. " You must give up your voice and become mute."

Oh, of course , there had to be a catch ! Lampwick thought to himself .

"You must be brave, truthful, and unselfish and you`ll earned it back." She said . And with a flick of her wand she began Lampwick transformation .

Reddish-brown fur sunk back into his body and the tuft upon his head changed colors from a pitch black to the natural red that Lampwick had when he was human. Hooves divided into 5 sections and grew into fingers and toes . The bit of hoof that stayed on his figures melted from ebony to white to make fingernails. Lampwick felt his legs get less hair and in a flash, ankles and toes had taken the place of hooves.. Face muscles pulled into different directions to make Lampwick`s donkey muzzle into a round face and his long donkey ears shrunk into two human ears. His tail vanished and sunk back into his back.

Soon he was struggling to get above , but he momentarily forgot how to swim . His lungs burned as he was running out of air. He faintly could see through the saltwater , it almost blinded him . He began to kick up and he finally made it to the surface when the sun had spread it pinkish and gold glow on the Italian sky ,completely breathless. All he knew was that he had to swim , swim for his new life ahead of him."

He swam among the fish , looking for a beach to lie down on or maybe a village by the sea . Somebody had to have the heart to give him some clothes and food. There had to be just one soul willing offer him a place to stay for the night. Lampwick knew where he lived , but being stranded in the ocean did not give him the sense the direction. Besides, he didn`t want to go back home exactly. He still had family problems, and now that he was mute , he could not explain the night on the island and his years as a donkey.

All Lampwick could see was rocks - small rocks and giant bolder rocks. In the bright sun , huge bolder poking out of the sea served the purpose as a spot to rest his tired legs for a while and contemplate his situation in life.
He transformation to human was very sudden . Why did she take pity on him , instead of the other boys ? Why didn`t she help out his other friends as they died of weakness ? Did Lampwick do something that pleased her ?

Finally , in mid-afternoon Lampwick had reached a small beach near a forest. It was abandoned , drift wood and rocks littered the shore , but still it was nice and sandy. Lampwick sat down in the shallows by some rocks, one supporting his back and the other his arm and then sighed in exhaustion . His entire body ached , head to toe seemed to be staggering g in pain. Transformation can really do a number on a person he thought pushing his bangs from his face . He smiled realizing that he was human. He looked closer and pulled his foot from the murky water. Starting now he was going to be a better person. Starting now , he was going to prove he deserved to be a human.

But on the other hand he was embarrassed , for he didn`t have any clothes on . He knew that he had no clothing before but now he had to do something about it. He couldn`t go naked forever.
That fairy could of given me some clothes he mouthed with a bit of sarcasm . But no sound came out ! He clutched his throat in surprise and shock. True to her word , the fairy did take away his voice .

Lampwick sighed again and crawled onto the sand to stand on two legs for the first time in three years. He stood for a few brief moments , smiling at his attempts , but his legs gave out on him and fell onto the soft sand. He waited a while, before trying again, His legs wobbled in fatigue , but he managed to walk around.

Lampwick was human again and his life was going to start over . He was going to prove he deserved this second chance .

But before he could prove anything , clothes are necessary.