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The Little Prince

Each year, I pull out my tiny, 40 year-old, worn paperback copy of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery and read it again. It is a beautiful story, but only for those who are not too consumed with matters of consequence. For that sort of person, the story may be pointless, childish, or frivolous, having no rhyme nor reason. But for me it is a reminder of the value of friendship, the beauty of a flower or a star, and the treasure to be found in things unseen. There is much to be learned from this simple little volume… I share some of these simple lessons here with you, for those of you who are not too busy to listen.

“All grown-ups were once children – although few of them remember it.”

If you look with your imagination, you should be able to see clearly what this little drawing is all about. For those of you who cannot, try again once you have read these wonderful excerpts. Perhaps they will awaken the child in you, who would easily sort these things out.

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. (p. 16)

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. (p. 17)

One never ought to listen to the flowers. One should simply look at them and breathe their fragrance…The fact is that I did not know how to understand anything! I ought to have judged by deeds and not by words. 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… (pp. 36-37)

If I ordered a general to change himself into a sea bird, and if the general did not obey me, that would not be the fault of the general. It would be my fault…One must require from each one the duty which each one can perform. (p. 42/45)

“Then you shall judge yourself,” the king answered. “That is the most difficult thing of all. It is much more difficult to judge oneself than to judge others. If you succeed in judging yourself rightly, then you are indeed a man of true wisdom.” (p. 46)

But the conceited man did not hear him. Conceited people never hear anything but praise. (p. 48)

(of the Lamplighter) Nevertheless, he is the only one of them all who does not seem to me ridiculous. Perhaps that is because he is thinking of something else besides himself. (p. 61)

“Men?” she echoed. “I think there are six or seven of them in existence. I saw them, several years ago. But one never knows where to find them. The wind blows them away. They have no roots, and that makes their life very difficult.” (p. 74)

“To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world… You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.” (p. 80/88)

“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 anymore.” (p. 84)

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. (p. 87)

“What makes the desert beautiful,” said the little prince, “is that somewhere it hides a well…” “Yes,” I said to the little prince. “The house, the stars, the desert – what gives them their beauty is something that is invisible!” (p. 93)

He never answered questions – but when one flushes does that not mean “Yes”? (p. 98)

“In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night… You – only you – will have stars that can laugh! And when your sorrow is comforted you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend.” (p. 104)


Comments on: "The Little Prince" (1)

  1. The Celebration said:

    Reblogged this on The Celebration.

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