For two years, I always come back to the story of The Little Prince when I feel lost amid the competing priorities in life. It doesn’t provide ready answers but continues to challenge me to rethink my truth. Time and time again, the little prince reminds me that there are only a few truly important things in life – the unique flower to attend to, and that special star that would make my nights shine. He tells us that the eyes are blind, and I have to look with the heart. And that I risk tears if I let myself be tamed.
“What moves me so deeply about this sleeping little prince is his loyalty to a flower — the image of a rose shining within him like the flame within a lamp, even when he’s asleep…”
My favorite passages from The Little Prince:
“I know a planet inhabited by a red faced gentlemen. He’s never smelled a flower. He’s never looked at a star. He’s never loved anyone. He’s never done anything except add up numbers. And all day long he says over and over “I’m a serious man! I’m serious man!” And that puffs him up with pride. But he’s not a man at all –he is a mushroom!”
How to love from afar:
“If someone loves a flower of which just one example exists among all the millions and millions of stars, that’s enough to make him happy when he looks at the stars. He tells himself: “My flower is up there somewhere…” But if the sheep eats the flower, then for him it’s as if, suddenly, all the stars went out.”
“In those days, I didn’t understand anything. I should have judged her according to her actions, not her words. She perfumed my planet and lit up my life. I should never have run away! I ought to have realized the tenderness underlying her silly pretensions. Flowers are so contradictory! But I was too young to know how to love her.”
“Do you really admire me a great deal?” he asked the little prince.
“What does that mean– admire?”
“to admire means to acknowledge that I am the handsomest, the best-dressed, the richest, and the most intelligent man on the planet.”
“but you’re the only man on your planet!”
“Do me a favor. Admire me all the time.”
“I admire you,” said the little prince, with a little shrug of his shoulders, “but what is there about my admiration that interests you so much?” And the little prince went on his way.
“What are you doing their?” He asked the drunkard, whom he found sunk in silence before a collection of empty bottles and a collection of full ones.
“Drinking,” replies the drunkard, with a gloomy expression.
“Why are you drinking?” the little prince asked.
“To forget,” replied the drunkard.
“To forget what?” Inquired the little prince, who was already feeling sorry for him.
“To forget that I’m ashamed,” confesses the drunkard, hanging his head.
“What are you ashamed of?” Inquires the little prince, who wanted to help.
“Of drinking!” Concluded the drunkard, withdrawing into silence for good. And the little prince went on his way, puzzled.
“Certainly. When you find a diamond that belongs to nobody, it is yours. When you discover an island that belongs to nobody, it is yours. When you get an idea before any one else, you take out a patent on it: it is yours. So with me: I own the stars, because nobody else before me ever thought of owning them.”
“Yes, that is true,” said the little prince. “And what do you do with them?”
“I manage them,” replied the businessman. “I count them and recount them. It is difficult. But I am a man who is naturally interested in matters of consequence.”
The little prince was still not satisfied.
On matters of consequence, the little prince had ideas which were very different from those of the grown-ups.
“I myself own a flower,” he continued his conversation with the businessman, “which I water every day. I own three volcanoes, which I clean out every week (for I also clean out the one that is extinct; one never knows). It is of some use to my volcanoes, and it is of some use to my flower, that I own them. But you are of no use to the stars . . .”
The businessman opened his mouth, but he found nothing to say in answer. And the little prince went away.
Taming and relationship:
“I’m looking for friends. What does tamed mean?”
“It’s something that been too often neglected. It means ‘to create tie’…”
“‘To create tie’?”
“That’s right.” The fox said. ” For me you at only a little boy just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you have no need of me, either. For you I’m only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, we will need each other. You will be the only boy in the world for me. I’ll be the only fox in the world for you…”
“I’m beginning to understand,” the Little Prince said. “There is a flower … I think she’s tamed me…”
The little prince went to look at the rose again.
“You are not at all like my rose. You are nothing at all yet,” he told them. “No one had tamed you and you haven’t tamed anyone. You’re the way my fox was. He was just a fox like a hundred thousand others. But I’ve made him my friend, and now he’s the only fox in all the world.”
“Anything essential is invisible to the eyes,” the little prince repeated, in order to remember.
“It’s the time you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important.”
“It’s the time I spent on my rose…,” the little prince repeated, in order to remember.
“People have forgotten this truth,” the fox said. “But you mustn’t forget it. You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed. You’re responsible for your rose…”
“I’m responsible for my rose…,” the little prince repeated, in order to remember.
If you love a flower that lives on a star, then it’s good, at night, to look up at the sky. All the stars are blossoming.
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