TITLE: THE LITTLE PRINCE
AUTHOR: ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPÉRY
“Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.”
This is a story told by a man who discovered the truth quoted above as a child and who continued to view adults as unimaginative creatures even when he was a grown-up himself.
The narrator of this story drew a rather clever picture when he was six, a picture that the adults around him unfortunately didn’t understand. Instead he was advised to give up on his art and concentrate on more practical skills – on “matters of consequence”-, because that is what grown-ups are interested in. Years later, after he crashes his plane in the dessert he meets with The Little Prince who has arrived on earth after leaving his own asteroid and travelling to other planets. On his travels the Prince met all sorts of adults preoccupied with things that appear important to them but have no real relevance when you really think about it; a king, a conceited man, a tippler, a business man, a lamplighter – the first person who doesn’t appear ridiculous because he is thinking of something else besides himself. Once the Little Prince arrives on Earth he really starts learning lessons about friendship and about what makes certain things and people unique, even if they look just like thousands of other things and people:
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
This is a story about the innocence, wonder and honesty of children and how we lose that when we grow up and become obsessed with hard facts. It is a fable telling us to hang on to that innocence, to continue to look at the world with wonder, to never stop believing in the impossible; to never stop looking at the world through the eyes of the child we once were. This story shows us that the things we think we need and treasure – power, money, knowledge – are not what really matter in life. It is the things we can’t see, the things we can only feel or believe in, that make our lives worthwhile.
“But the eyes are blind. One must look with the heart.”
I really wish I could remember how I felt the first time I read this book. I must have been about ten (?) at the time and that is just too long ago. All I can say is that the title always stayed with me and that just hearing someone mention the book would fill me a pleasant, happy feeling not just for this book but also for my mother, who first told me to read it. And if that isn’t a good reason to occasionally re-read this book I don’t know what is.