That Difficult Book

Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) is one of the toughest and hardest novelle to digest and understand. For a non-French speaker like me, even the name of the author is difficult to properly pronounce (Antoine de Saint-Exupery). The short novel packs a punch with themes that are universal and relevant especially during this time of the pandemic: adulthood, relationships, conflicts (adult vs child), knowledge through experience, greed, vanity, bad habits, selfishness, among others.

As a novel, I enjoyed reading it because of the lessons that are applicable in life. I am not being soppy here but any reader who comes across this short novel will know what I am talking about. Of the gazillion quotes from the Little Prince, here are my favorites:

People, where you live, grow five thousand roses in one garden…yet they don’t find what they’re looking for… and yet what they’re looking for could be found in a single rose.

Bokeh Photography of Red Rose
(c) samer saboul

It is such a mysterious place, the land of tears.

It’s the time you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important.

You become responsible for what you’ve tamed.

You alone will have the stars as no one else has them.

Silhouette of Person Holding Glass Mason Jar
(C) Rakicevic Nenad

You’re not at all like my rose. You’re nothing at all yet. No one has 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.

For me, you’re 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’ll need each other. You’ll be the only boy in the world for me. I’ll be the only fox in the world for you.

When your sorrow is comforted, you will be content that you have known me.

You’re lovely but you’re empty. One couldn’t die for you. Of course, an ordinary passerby would think my rose looked just like you. But my rose, all on her own, is more important than all of you together since she’s the one I’ve watered. Since she’s the one I put under the glass. Since she’s the one I sheltered behind a screen. Since she’s the one for whom I killed the caterpillars. Since she’s the one I listened to when she complained, or when she boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing at all. Since she’s my rose.

A sheep eats whatever it finds. Even a flower with thorns. Then what’s the good of thorns?

One runs the risk of weeping a little if one lets oneself be tamed.

Of course, I love you. It is my fault that you have not known it all the while.

It is far more difficult to judge oneself than to judge others. If you succeed in judging yourself correctly, then you are truly a man of wisdom.

It is only with the heart that once can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.

Only the children know what they’re looking for.

Boy Blowing Hands Filled With Dandelion Flowers
(c) Kat Jayne

One only understands the things that one tames. Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me.

Eyes are blind. You have to look with the heart.

If you come at just any time, I shall never know at what hour my heart is to be ready to greet you.

Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.

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