Life is quiet and uneventful in the town where the young narrator lives. Adults toil all day to make money, and their children study so they too can make money and be useful. In the evenings, everyone meets in the square; the adults discuss market expansion while the children talk about fruit varieties and aeroplane specifications. Then one day a crazy ball bounces into their lives, intriguing the children with its bright colours and apparent uselessness. Soon more coloured balls appear. Without understanding what the balls are – the words ‘toy’ and ‘game’ having been banned long ago ¬– the youngsters play with them. It is only when an old man tells the children they’re playing that they start to worry they might be doing wrong. But by the time the headmaster confiscates the crazy balls, it’s already too late: a great change has taken place in their town.
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