I want to share with you a beautiful story about a little prince who lives on a planet far away in space. This little prince inhabits a planet that is not very large, and has a baobab tree. He keeps his planet neat and tidy, and embodies an innocence of a loving child, but confronts realities that parallel our own world when a seed appears one day. After planting this seed, a beautiful rose grows and he tends it. Unfortunately, his flower becomes very needy and he has many questions about the world he needs answered, so he leaves his planet and travels across space on an asteroid.
I am talking of course, about Antoine Saint-Exupery’s French-translated novel “The Little Prince.” Throughout his travels the Little Prince meets many adults whose innocence has left them, and often these adults are lonely, corrupt, greedy and have selfish motives of their own. On his journey across planets he meets a king who is obsessed with power and control. He then meets a businessman on another planet who spends his time counting the stars, because he believes he owns them, however, he never stops to enjoy their beauty. Before he reaches Earth he meets a lamp lighter who is so obsessed with his job that he doesn’t make time for anything else in his life.
The Little Prince lands on Earth and meets a pilot in the middle of the Sahara desert in Africa, who is the narrator of the novel. The narrator himself was also stranded because his plane was not working. The Little Prince and the pilot are both lost looking for water, but it is clear that the prince is no ordinary boy and is in fact from another planet that can be seen from Earth as a twinkle in the sky. As the narrator realizes this, he befriends the prince who tells him of his adventures, one of which was his befriending of a human fox.
The friendship of the fox is a fabulous one, and sweet as well as rewarding. The Prince wished to be the fox’s friend, who teaches the Little Prince the value and beauty of friendship. Before he parts, the fox gives him wisdom that anyone can relate to in regards to love. The Little Prince had believed his flower from his home planet, his rose, to be the only rose in the universe. To his grave misfortune he had met hundreds of flowers just like his rose. However, the fox tells him, that his rose “is unique in all the world, because it was his rose.”
The Little Prince learns from his clever fox friend that the important things in life are “not seen with the eye, but felt by the heart.” Because of all the effort and time he spends tending his flower, she was his responsibility and loved her dearly. It is then the Little Prince’s goal to get back to his planet.
Unfortunately the only way for the Little Prince to do this is to catch the next asteroid. As he wanders away from his pilot friend, he meets the snake who seduces the Little Prince to let him sink his venomous teeth into his flesh. This is the only way in which the Prince can return home.
The pilot is troubled by this, and is sad to lose his Little Prince. However, when he looks into the night sky, he sees “the stars as tiny bells that know how to laugh” and is assured that he is with us all in heart. The Little Prince is a touching novel for adults and children, with themes in regards to love, friendship and a coming of age.