The Little Prince
Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.
I have lived a great deal among grown-ups. I have seen them intimately, close at hand. And that hasn’t much improved my opinion of them.
Grown-ups love figures. When you tell them that you have made a new friend, they never ask you any questions about essentail 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 an idea of that house at all. You have have to say to them: “I saw a house that cost $20,000.” Then they would exclaim: “Oh, what a pretty house that is!”
It is such a secret place, the land of tears.
“Well, I must endure the presence of two or three caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies. It seems that they are very beautiful.”
To conceited men, all other men are admirers.
But the conceited man did not hear him. Conceited people never hear anything but praise.
“Why are you drinking?” demanded the little prince.
“So that I may forget,” replied the tippler.
“Forget what?” inquired the little prince, who already felt sorry for him.
“Forget that I am ashamed,” the tippler confessed, hanging his head.
“Ashamed of what?” insisted the little prince, who wanted to help him.
“Ashamed of drinking!”
All humanity could be piled up on a small Pacific islet.
The grown-ups, to be sure, will not believe you when you tell them that. They imagine that they fill a great deal of space. They fancy themselves as important as the baobabs. You should advise them, then, to make their own calculations. They adore figures, and that will please them.
“What makes the desert beautiful,” said the little prince, “is that somewhere it hides a well…”
I felt his heart beating like the heart of a dying bird, shot with someone’s rifle…
“I shall look as if I were suffering. I shall look a little as if I were dying. It is like that. Do not come to see that. It is not worth the trouble…”
I read it back in high school, since then it has sat on my bookshelf. All I remembered was that it was a cool story. I didn’t ‘get it’ until I read it with my son last year. he’s 9 but lucky for me he still likes our reading time every night before bed.
One of my absolute favorite books of all time. Each time I read it, I take away something more.
“I am very fond of sunsets. Come, let us go look at a sunset…”
That is one of my favorite quotes as well! I love the way it looks and sounds in the French translation: on ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.