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    27 August 2006
    The Little Prince and me


    So many thoughts running in my head today that I simply had to find something to concentrate on. I decided to re-read "The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. It was one of my favourite books as a kid and it's been too long since I last walked the Sahara with the little prince who loved his flower.

    Please walk with me...


    Chapter 21.


    "Good morning," said the fox.

    "Good morning," the little prince responded politely, although when he turned around he saw nothing.

    "I am right here," the voice said, "under the apple tree."

    "Who are you?" asked the little prince, and added, "You are very pretty to look at."

    "I am a fox," said the fox.

    "Come and play with me," proposed the little prince.

    "I am so unhappy." "I cannot play with you," the fox said. "I am not tamed."

    "Ah! Please excuse me," said the little prince. But, after some thought, he added: "What does that mean, 'tame'?"

    "You do not live here," said the fox. "What is it that you are looking for?"

    "I am looking for men," said the little prince. "What does that mean, 'tame'?"

    "Men," said the fox. "They have guns, and they hunt. It is very disturbing. They also raise chickens. These are their only interests. Are you looking for chickens?"

    "No," said the little prince. "I am looking for friends. What does that mean, 'tame'?"

    "It is an act too often neglected," said the fox. It means to establish ties."

    "'To establish ties'?"

    "Just that," said the fox. "To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world..."

    "I am beginning to understand," said the little prince. "There is a flower... I think that she has tamed me..."

    "It is possible," said the fox. "On the Earth one sees all sorts of things."

    "Oh, but this is not on the Earth!" said the little prince. The fox seemed perplexed, and very curious.

    "On another planet?"

    "Yes."

    "Are there hunters on this planet?"

    "No."

    "Ah, that is interesting! Are there chickens?"

    "No."

    "Nothing is perfect," sighed the fox. But he came back to his idea. "My life is very monotonous," the fox said. "I hunt chickens; men hunt me. All the chickens are just alike, and all the men are just alike. And, in consequence, I am a little bored. But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the colour of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat..." The fox gazed at the little prince, for a long time. "Please, tame me!" he said.

    "I want to, very much," the little prince replied. "But I have not much time. I have friends to discover, and a great many things to understand."

    "One only understands the things that one tames," said the fox. "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..."

    "What must I do, to tame you?" asked the little prince.

    "You must be very patient," replied the fox. "First you will sit down at a little distance from me, like that, in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings. But you will sit a little closer to me, every day..."

    The next day the little prince came back.

    "It would have been better to come back at the same hour," said the fox. "If, for example, you come at four o'clock in the afternoon, then at three o'clock I shall begin to be happy. I shall feel happier and happier as the hour advances. At four o'clock, I shall already be worrying and jumping about. I shall show you how happy I am! But if you come at just any time, I shall never know at what hour my heart is to be ready to greet you... One must observe the proper rites..."

    "What is a rite?" asked the little prince.

    "Those also are actions too often neglected," said the fox. "They are what make one day different from other days, one hour from other hours. There is a rite, for example, among my hunters. Every Thursday they dance with the village girls. So Thursday is a wonderful day for me! I can take a walk as far as the vineyards. But if the hunters danced at just any time, every day would be like every other day, and I should never have any vacation at all."

    So the little prince tamed the fox. And when the hour of his departure drew near...

    "Ah," said the fox, "I shall cry."

    "It is your own fault," said the little prince. "I never wished you any sort of harm; but you wanted me to tame you..."

    "Yes, that is so," said the fox.

    "But now you are going to cry!" said the little prince.

    "Yes, that is so," said the fox.

    "Then it has done you no good at all!"

    "It has done me good," said the fox, "because of the color of the wheat fields." And then he added: "Go and look again at the roses. You will understand now that yours is unique in all the world. Then come back to say goodbye to me, and I will make you a present of a secret."

    The little prince went away, to look again at the roses. "You are not at all like my rose," he said to them. "As yet you are nothing. No one has tamed you, and you have tamed no one. You are like my fox when I first knew him. He was only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But I have made him my friend, and now he is unique in all the world." And the roses were very much embarrassed. "You are beautiful, but you are empty," he went on. "One could not die for you. To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you, the rose that belongs to me. But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered; because it is she that I have put under the glass globe; because it is she that I have sheltered behind the screen; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars (except the two or three that we saved to become butterflies); because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is my rose.

    And he went back to meet the fox. "Goodbye," he said.

    "Goodbye," said the fox. "And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."

    "What is essential is invisible to the eye," the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.

    "It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important."

    "It is the time I have wasted for my rose..." said the little prince, so that he would be sure to remember.

    "Men have forgotten this truth," said the fox. "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose..."

    "I am responsible for my rose," the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.
    posted by Bravecat @ 11:37 pm  
    20 Comments:
    • At 28/08/2006, 01:20, Blogger Sever said…

      The most famous part.
      I remember "my v otvete za teh, kogo priruchili...".
      I remember it too well, too well.
      Unfortunately.

      See, this is a good part, too, written by my friend on the book she presented to me:
      "Esli lyubish` cvetok - edinstvennyi, kakogo bol`she net ni na odnoi iz mnogih millionov zvyozd, etogo dovol`no: smotrish` na nebo - i schastliv. I govorish` sebe: "gde-to tam zhivyot moi cvetok"..."

      I adore this part. Probably, because that's about me.

      & I have the same book like yours, I mean the same style, just it's written in Russian & in French on the same page. May be yours - in English & in French?

      No, you are still not in the best mood, dear Auntie :-/

      Murrr...

       
    • At 28/08/2006, 03:31, Blogger Mise said…

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

      Self-exploration QC? ... But if something is bothering you, then here are some healing licks for you ...lick...lick...lick :)

       
    • At 28/08/2006, 09:21, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      Sever,

      I was sure you liked this book ;-)
      And I love the part about the flower you wrote in Russian, too. But my ever favourite quote is this:
      "It is such a secret place, the land of tears".

      And you are right, I am not in the best mood at all.

      Mise,

      Self exploration? Not really; more like self torture. Actually the "big secret" part in this chapter is not such a big deal. I got my own lessons out of it.

       
    • At 28/08/2006, 10:58, Anonymous Fish said…

      I've actually never read that book.

      Hmmm..now I have to go out and buy it. Which means no prezzies for your b-day..muahaha >:D

       
    • At 28/08/2006, 11:03, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      Fish,

      Go here: http://www.angelfire.com/hi/littleprince/

      I still want my present :^)

       
    • At 28/08/2006, 12:25, Blogger Dohagirl said…

      I love the little prince. I thought it was so nice that he used to be on French money.

       
    • At 28/08/2006, 12:45, Blogger don_veto said…

      Le Petit Prince is a nice story, but I never got the philosophy behind it. I liked "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" much more.

      You can check it out here,

      http://don-veto.blogspot.com/2005/09/richard-bach-jonathan-livingston.html

      This book really had meaning to me.

       
    • At 28/08/2006, 12:46, Blogger Flous said…

      The Little Prince is a beautiful book, one that i think should be read as a child and an adult, u an appreciate it so much more, as i see u r doing now!
      i need to get my hands on it....

       
    • At 28/08/2006, 13:05, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      Midget,

      I know... I wish I'd saved a note!

      Don Veto,

      There are too many philosophies in The Little Prince so it's hard to pinpoint one. Every chapter brings a different philosophical message. If there was a main one that runs between the lines - it would be the philosophy of different kinds of love. The love of Prince and his rose, the love of tamed Fox, the love of the Pilot who had to shake the years off him to be able to see the world as the Prince does - these are all different ways to love. Then there is a sense of duty, reason and the paradoxes of the modern world. Throw in a lot of heartache and melancholy and that would be it.

      Thanks for the link, too.

      Flous,

      You can find it online :^)

       
    • At 28/08/2006, 14:23, Anonymous Max said…

      I know U well 'nuff. U read this whenever U let something (someone??!!) go! Was it that good that U r so sad now? Why did U let it go then?

       
    • At 28/08/2006, 14:51, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      Max,

      Very funny.

      Someone just told me that The Little Prince is a lot like Alchemist. I agreed.

       
    • At 28/08/2006, 16:06, Blogger U.E. said…

      :( It is too sad.

      I much prefer The Missing Piece or The Giving Tree. Happy endings always! Plus, how can you not love a childrens author who did double duty and wrote for Playboy. :p

       
    • At 28/08/2006, 16:10, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      UE,

      The Giving Tree? By Shel Silverstein? You consider that a happy tale with a happy ending?? ;-)

       
    • At 28/08/2006, 19:33, Anonymous Nasir said…

      OMG u never cease to amaze me. I have profound respect for u since u r one of the most knowledgable independant women out there. I wanna learn as much as I can from a person like u. Also, dont be too pessimistic or sad cause remember that a lot of ppl read your blog and love u to bits for it plus ur b'day is just around the corner so get ur esteem up and enjoy ;-)

       
    • At 28/08/2006, 21:47, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      Nasir,

      Welcome to Life in Qatar and thanks for the props. As for getting my esteem up - it's not entirely up to me.

       
    • At 29/08/2006, 03:02, Blogger Fuzzy said…

      Nice book review, never read that book, is it too late to read it ?

       
    • At 29/08/2006, 08:57, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      Fuzzy,

      Welcome to Life in Qatar ;-)

      It's never late to read The Little Prince. The book, although it appears to be written for kids, is actually for the adults. I doubt the kids can fully understand the message. They get other things out of this book. I don't find the end suitable for children at all, for instance. I could never read through it as a child, but I love it now.

       
    • At 29/08/2006, 08:58, Blogger *PerdU* said…

      aaaaah,, loved that!! brought back old memories :-) thanx for that CAT :-)

       
    • At 29/08/2006, 09:01, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      Fuzzy,

      Duhh that didn't come out right! LOL
      What I meant is I couldn't stomach the end of the book as a kid, but I love the end now although it still makes me cry.

      PerdU,

      Wow, this is like an open door day, so many new names! You are welcome. And welcome!

      =^..^=

       
    • At 30/08/2006, 11:27, Anonymous butterfly said…

      The sweetest story, isn't it? I love that kind of books :)

      Just wanted to say Hi, haven't been around for a while...missed your blog

       
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