Title: The Little Prince.
Author: Antoine De Saint-Exupéry.
Genre: Literature, fiction, fantasy, children's lit,
Original Language: French.
Publication Date: 1943.
Summary: The story of a nameless little prince from the asteroid known as B-612 who is encountered by an airplane pilot in the Desert of Sahara. The stranded pilot has crashed thousands of miles from human habitation and must repair his plane before his small supply of water runs out, while the little prince recounts to the pilot how he has managed to leave his tiny world of asteroid B-612 and eventually make his way to the planet Earth.
My rating: 10/10
♥ In the course of this life I have had a great many encounters with a great many people who have been concerned with matters of consequence. I have lived a great deal among grown-ups. I have seen them intimately, close at hand. And that hasn't improved my opinion of them.
Whenever I met one of them who seemed to me at all clear-sighted, I tried the experiment of showing him my Drawing Number One, which I have always kept. I would try to find out, so, if this was a person of true understanding. But, whoever it was, he, or she, would always say:
"That is a hat."
Then I would never talk to that person about boa constrictors, or primeval forests, or stars. I would bring myself down to his level. I would talk to him about bridge, and golf, and politics, and neckties. And the grown-up would be greatly pleased to have met such a sensible man.
♥ If I had told you these details about the asteroid, and made a note of its number for you, is is on account of the grown-ups and their ways. Grown-ups love figures. When you tell them that you have made a new friend, they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you, "What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?" Instead, they demand: "How old is he? How many brothers has he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?" Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.
If you were to say to the grown-ups: "I saw a beautiful house made of rosy brick, with geraniums in the windows and doves on the roof," they would not be able to get any idea of that house at all. You would have to say to them: "I saw a house that cost $20,000." Then they would exclaim: "Oh, what a pretty house that is!"
Just so, you might say to them: "The proof that the little prince existed is that he was charming, that he laughed, and that he was looking for a sheep. If anybody wants a sheep, that is a proof that he exists." And what good would it do to tell them that? They would shrug their shoulders, and treat you like a child. But if you said to them: "The planet he came from is Asteroid B-612," then they would be convinced, and leave you in peace from their questions.
They are like that. One must not hold it against them. Children should always show great forbearance toward grown-up people.
♥ In certain more important details I shall make mistakes, also. But that is something that will not be my fault. My friend never explained anything to me. He thought, perhaps, that I was like himself. But I, alas, do not know how to see sheep through the walls of boxes. Perhaps I am a little like the grown-ups. I have had to grow old.
♥ I did not know what to say to him. I felt awkward and blundering. I did not know how I could reach him, where I could overtake him and go on hand in hand with him once more.
It is such a secret place, the land of tears.
♥ "Of course I love you," the flower said to him. "It is my fault that you have not known it all the while. That is of no importance. But you - you have been just as foolish as I. Try to be happy... Let the glass globe be. I don't want it any more."
"But the wind -"
"My cold is not so bad as all that... The cool night air will do me good. I am a flower."
"But the animals-"
"Well, I must endure the presence of two or three caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies."
♥ For it is possible for a man to be faithful and lazy at the same time.
♥ "Where are the men?" the little prince at last took up the conversation again. "It is a little lonely in the desert..."
"It is also lonely among men," the snake said.
♥ One runs the risk of weeping a little, if one lets himself be tamed...
♥ "I ought not to have listened to her," he confided to me one day. "One never ought to listen to the flowers. One should simply look at them and breathe their fragrance. Mine perfumed all my planet. But I did not know how to take pleasure in all her grace. This tale of claws, which disturbed me so much, should only have filled my heart with tenderness and pity."
And he continued his confidences:
"The fact is that I did not know how to understand anything! She cast her fragrance and her radiance over me. I ought never to have run away from her... I ought to have guessed all the affection that lay behind her poor little stratagems. Flowers are so inconsistent! But I was too young to know how to love her..."
♥ "Please - tame me!" he said.
"I want to, very much," the little prince replied. "But I have not much time. I have friends to discover, and a great many things to understand."
"One only understands the things that one tames," said the fox. "Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me..."
♥ The little prince went away, to look again at the roses.
"You are not at all like my rose," he said. "As yet you are nothing. No one has tamed you, and you have tamed no one. You are like my fox when I first knew him. He was only a fox like a hundred thousand foxes. But I have made him my friend, and now he is unique in all the world."
And the roses were very much embarrassed.
"You are beautiful, but you are empty," he went on. "One could not die for you. To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you - the rose that belongs to me. But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered; because it is she that I have sheltered behind the screen; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars (except the two or three that we saved to become butterflies); because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is my rose."
♥ "I am thirsty for this water," said the little prince. "Give me some of it to drink..."
And I understood what he had been looking for.
I raised the bucket to his lips. He drank, his eyes closed. It was as sweet as some special festival treat. This water was indeed a different thing from ordinary nourishment. Its sweetness was born of the walk under the stars, the song of the pulley, the effort of my arms. It was good for the heart, like a present. When I was a little boy, the lights of the Christmas tree, the music of the Midnight Mass, the tenderness of smiling faces, used to make up, so, the radiance of the gifts I received.
"The men where you live," said the little prince, "raise five thousand roses in the same garden - and they do not find in it what they are looking for."
"They do not find it," I replied.
"And yet what they are looking for could be found in one single rose, or in a little water."
"Yes, that is true," I said.
And the little prince added:
"But the eyes are blind. One must look with the heart..."
♥ "Little man," I said, "I want to hear you laugh again."
But he said to me:
"Tonight, it will be a year... My star, then, can be found right above the place where I came to the Earth, a year ago..."
"Little man," I said, "tell me that it is only a bad dream - this affair of the snake, and the meeting-place, and the star..."
But he did not answer my please. He said to me, instead:
"The thing that is important is the thing that is not seen..."
"Yes, I know..."
"It is just as it is with the flower. If you love a flower that lives on a star, it is sweet to look at the sky at night. All the stars are a-bloom with flowers..."
"Yes, I know..."
“It is just as it is with the water. Because of the pulley, and the rope, what you gave me to drink was like music. You remember - how good it was."
"Yes, I know..."
"And at night you will look up at the stars. Where I live everything is so small that I cannot show you where my star is to be found. It is better, like that. My star will just be lone of the stars, for you. And so you will love to watch all the stars in the heavens... They will all be your friends. And, besides, I am going to make you a present..."
He laughed again.
"Ah, little prince, dear little prince! I love to hear that laughter!"
"That is my present. Just that. It will be as it was when we drank the water..."
"What are you trying to say?"
"All men have the stars," he answered, "but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travelers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems. For my businessman they were wealth. But all these stars are silent. You - you alone - will have stars that can laugh!"
And he laughed again.
"And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrow) you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure... And your friends will be properly astonished to see you laughing as you look up at the sky! Then you will say to them, 'Yes, the stars always make me laugh!' And they will think you are crazy. It will be a very shabby trick that I shall have played on you."
And he laughed again.
"It will be as if, in place of stars, I had given you a great number of little bells that knew how to laugh..."
♥ Here, then, is a great mystery. For you who also love the little prince, and for me, nothing in the universe can be the same if somewhere, we do not know where, a sheep that we never saw has - yes or no? - eaten a rose...
Look up at the sky. Ask yourselves: Is it yes or no? Has the sheep eaten the flower? And you will see how everything changes...
And no grown-up will ever understand that this is a matter of so much importance!