I have been meaning to read this story for so long. I have a friend who absolutely loves it, it is his favorite story of all time I think. He’s a teacher and his room is covered in LPP (Le Petit Prince) as he calls it. Anyway, it is thanks to him that I have finally read this book, or had this book read to me to be more accurate.
In case you don’t know the story, it’s about a man who is a pilot and a boy who refers to himself as The Little Prince. The pilot used to want to be an artist but, once he drew a boa constrictor eating an elephant and the grownups around him did not know what it was and told him to do something more practical so he gave that up. Anyway, the man crashes in the Sahara and is very keen on fixing his plane when he meets The Little Prince. LPP asks the pilot to draw him a sheep. After several failed attempts the pilot simply draws him a crate and says the sheep is inside. LPP is very happy with this drawing and thanks the man for exactly the sort of sheep he wanted. As time goes on the pilot quickly discovers that that Prince never answers his questions directly, and never give up on a question he has asked. For the next eight days the pilot tries to fix his plane and LPP tells him how he ended up in the Sahara. The Prince explains he is from an asteroid, no bigger than a house. He tells of his days watching sunsets and cleaning the three minuscule volcanoes on the surface of the asteroid and pulling up weeds of baobab trees that threaten to overrun his planet. The sheep, he explains to the pilot, is for eating the baobab sprouts, but he becomes distressed when the pilot tells him that sheep will even eat roses with thorns. He then explains that he loves a mysterious rose that began growing on his asteroid some time ago. The Prince did everything the rose asked of him, nourishing her and building a glass dome to protect her from cold winds. He would even ignore the fact that she was very vain. However, after a time he began to feel she was taking advantage of him and he decided to leave his home. On his travels, the Prince visits six asteroids. On each he makes the acquaintance of silly adults. First there is a king with no subjects, then a vain man who wishes to be admired, then a drunkard who drinks to forget that he is ashamed to be a drunkard, then a business man who counts all the stars and claims he owns every one, the a lamplighter who must light and put out a lamp at minute intervals, and finally a geographer who is busy mapping his planet, but has never actually seen it. It is from him that the Prince learns of Earth. LPP lands in the desert when he first arrives on Earth and so he thinks the planet uninhabited until he meets a yellow snake who claims he can send the Prince home if he so wishes. Next he meets a desert flower who says she’s seen only a few men and since they have no roots they let the wind take them wherever. Eventually the Prince comes across a garden of rosebushes and is distraught because he thought his rose was unique. he begins to think he is not such a great prince and lays down in the grass and cries. Then comes the fox. The fox asks LPP to tame him and then explains to the Prince that to be tamed is to create ties, it is to make something or someone suddenly special and different for all others like it. The fox helps LPP understand that, though there are other roses, his is still unique because he has tamed her and she him. LPP then takes the time to tame the fox, though they must ultimately part ways. When finally the Prince comes upon the current situation, the pilot is dying of thirst and the two set off to find water.
I will say that the two find a well, thankfully, but I will say only that. What comes next is the ending of the book and I will not spoil that. It is, probably more than any other book on this list, and ending that must be experienced firsthand. I will also say that I have never been so immediately moved by a book. This story makes me thankful for my weirdness and the childish parts of me that refuse, even as I worry about bills and college, to grow up. Only those who hold on to a piece of the child they were will appreciate this book, I should think. And it is one book I recommend every highly. The writing is fun, the lessons are simple but profound and though it is a children’s book, the lessons are ones we could all stand to be reminded of from time to time. Having it read to you is a great way to experience the book, from my personal experience, but reading it for myself later was wonderful too. I probably could not speak enough about how much I enjoyed this book, so I’ll just say this: if you have a reading list and this book is not on it and you haven’t read it yet, it is a must add.