The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

A beautiful meditation on life and death, the essence of love and belonging, and on the ephemeral childhood pitted alongside adulthood. The Little Prince reads like an elegy, a sorrowful prose-lyric on the death of innocence amidst practicalities of life that are unbecoming of humans yet cannot be sieved out. We meet colourful characters like that of the Geographer, the Businessman and the Narrator who are engrossed in worldly affairs and such “matters of consequence” continuously perplex our sweet little prince who hails from a simple planet with only one companion to whom he has to return. A brilliant classic meant for adults in its true spirit to remind them of the inconsequential and temporal life of this world.

  • All grown-ups were once children– although few of them remember it. And
  • 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 them157993
  • I was more isolated than a shipwrecked sailor on a raft in the middle of the ocean
  • 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!”
  • Children should always show great forbearance toward grown-up people
  • But certainly, for us who understand life, figures are a matter of indifference
  • 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.
  • As each day passed I would learn, in our talk, something about the little prince’s planet, his departure from it, his journey.  The information would come very slowly, as it might chance to fall from his thoughts
  • The night had fallen.  I had let my tools drop from my hands.  Of what moment now was my hammer, my bolt, or thirst, or death?  On one star, one planet, my planet, the Earth, there was a little prince to be comforted
  • 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.
  • “Kings do not own, they reign over.  It is a very different matter.”
  • On matters of consequence, the little prince had ideas which were very different from those of the grown-ups
  • “It is a little lonely in the desert…”   “It is also lonely among men,” the snake said.
  • When one wishes to play the wit, he sometimes wanders a little from the truth
  • 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
  • And the people have no imagination.  They repeat whatever one says to them
  • “One only understands the things that one tames,” said the fox.
  • You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed
  • “As for me,” said the little prince to himself, “if I had fifty-three minutes to spend as I liked, I should walk at my leisure toward a spring of fresh water.”
  • 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, and the effort of my arms.  It was good for the heart, like a present.
  • He looked at me very gravely, and put his arms around my neck.  I felt his heart beating like the heart of a dying bird, shot with someone’s rifle…
  • “You understand… it is too far.  I cannot carry this body with me.  It is too heavy.”
  • “But it will be like an old abandoned shell.  There is nothing sad about old shells…”
  • 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…

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