The Story’s The Thing: The Little Prince
A couple weeks ago I was trolling through my attic and I stumbled across a box completely filled with my favorite childhood books. In it, I found a book that I had nearly forgotten about, despite this book having been one of the sole shapers of my childhood. I’ve mentioned The Little Prince a couple times in my past few blogs, and I promise I’ll shut up about it after this one, but first I’ve got to do everything I can to convince you to read it. Trust me, it will change you. It’s a book about a young prince who falls to Earth from an asteroid, but it’s about so much more than that.
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.
The symbolism in it is amazing- nearly everything is a metaphor. On his journey across the universe, the little prince ends up meeting a king, whose only power is to command people to do what they already would have done; a vain man, who requires admiration from everyone else; a drunkard, who drinks because he is ashamed of his drinking; a businessman (my personal favorite), who “owns” the stars but does nothing except count them all day; and many others. One of his most famous companions is a fox, who says some very wise things.
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.
The book heavily pokes fun at adults, but I’m sure every adult involved with the HPA has the sense of humor to appreciate it. It’s also beautifully written. It was originally in French, and I’d suggest reading it in French if you can (in fact, the only reason I decided to learn French a few years ago was so that I could read the original), but the English version by Katherine Woods is a great translation.
The thing about books is that you don’t just read them once and then forget them. They stick with you, and even if you don’t always remember what they’re about or who they’re written by, you- the current version of you- is proof that they have a lasting impact.
And I’m really proud of some of the books that have stuck with me.
“One day,” you said to me, “I saw the sunset forty-four times!”
And a little later you added:
“You know–one loves the sunset, when one is so sad…”
“Were you so sad, then?” I asked, “on the day of the forty-four sunsets?”
But the little prince made no reply.