Saturday, July 13, 2013


As I reread Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince for the umpteenth time, I realize, once again, what a lovely story and charming illustrations the author offers his readers.  Alas, even after the many readings, I still must look up the occasional French word in the dictionary which follows the tale in the study edition pictured on the left.  I bought the book second-hand many years ago for a French class, and my copy is old and tattered.  The illustrations are in black and white, and not all are included in the inexpensive study edition.   

On the right is the beautifully illustrated (in watercolor)  English edition which I bought for my children when they were young.  The Little Prince is a tale for children and grown-ups, and, though my children enjoyed the book, none were quite as taken with it as I, for I never tire of reading the story over again.

Once again, I reread the story, and I loved the enchanting little prince even more than I remembered.

In the course of the tale, the little prince visits Earth from his home on the tiny Asteroid B-612, where he's left behind his flower and three small volcanos, two active and one extinct. He lands in the Sahara Desert, where he meets a fox who asks the boy to tame him.  The fox explains to the little prince, "Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé". ("You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.")  The boy tames the fox but eventually leaves to search for humans.  As the prince prepares to leave, the fox speaks my favorite words in the entire book: "On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux." ("One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye.")

If you are unfamiliar with the book and want to know more, further information on the author, a description of the characters, and a summary of the plot may be found here.