You know what recently occurred to me? That a rose isn’t actually a rose, a fox probably isn’t really a fox either, and I would totally mistake a hungry boa constrictor for a hat under circumstances that did not prompt I use the most overzealous version of my imagination. This is a colossal fail–and do you know why? Because for the past 15 years, I’ve been gallivanting about town telling everyone that The Little Prince was the first book I ever really loved. I should have just said what I probably meant–that those illustrations are bomb-ass. (But also, and this one still applies, where can I get that yellow scarf?)
In light of this month’s most underrated centenary–the 70th birthday of Antoin de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince–I revisited my “favorite children’s book” to finally prove my salt’s worth. And then I thought about it and realized that a bunch of you must maintain a similar relationship with the book (I may be in over my head with this one?), so let’s dip into the archive of magical lessons (in quote formation) taught by The Little Prince and friends. Even if you don’t nest any particular relationship, revisiting this precocious little man is never really a bad idea.
“All grown-ups were once children… but only few of them remember it.”
“Eyes are blind. You have to look with the heart.”
“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart.”
“What makes the desert beautiful,’ said the little prince, ‘is that somewhere it hides a well…”
“Where are the people?” resumed the little prince at last. “It’s a little lonely in the desert…” “It is lonely when you’re among people, too,” said the snake.”
“A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.”
“I remembered the fox. One runs the risk of crying a bit if one allows oneself to be tamed.”
“I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings.” -from the Fox
“Well, I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.”
“All men have stars, but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travelers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems… But all these stars are silent. You-You alone will have stars as no one else has them… In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars will be laughing when you look at the sky at night..You, only you, will have stars that can laugh! And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me… You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure… It will be as if, in place of the stars, I had given you a great number of little bells that knew how to laugh”
“Only the children know what they are looking for,” said the little prince. “They waste their time over a rag doll and it becomes very important to them; and if anybody takes it away from them, they cry…”
“They are lucky,” the switchman said.
“In the face of an overpowering mystery, you don’t dare disobey”