The Little Prince

littleprince1

One of my favorite books growing up was Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince.

I don’t even remember how I got it, but I do know that it wasn’t something that I would have picked out on my own because we didn’t learn about such books at school.  It was among the books that my mother stored on shelves above my childhood bed that included a cover-less copy of Harold Robbins’ The Adventurers and the classics such as Black Beauty and Robinson Crusoe.  

I still remember how the book felt in my hands. It was small and it was a quick read, but I had to read it a few times because it did not read like all the other classics I had read before.  It was almost cryptic at times.

How was I to know, a mere ten year old, what the book was really about?  When the fox says to the little prince, “One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye,” I understood it because it has since shaped the way I see the world.   But I could not understand then what the fox meant when he said, “You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed” – that it meant more than just the taming of a small animal, of which I probably with my limited experiences, associated that sentence then.

It’s been a very long time since I’ve read The Little Prince and I’m due for a reread.  I stumbled across the dedication of the book today,  and it brought tears to my eyes.  It brought me back to that room with the custom-made bed and the shelves above it, all filled with books about adventures and worlds so different from my own.  And one of them, my favorite one, about a little prince stranded in the desert, so far from home.

littleprincededication
Image from Letters of Note

Leon Werth, a French writer and art critic, was a close friend and confidante to  Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.  He would not learn of the book nor the dedication till five months after Saint-Exupéry’s death in November 1944.

6 thoughts on “The Little Prince

    1. That is awesome! I wish my mother read to us when we were little, though she was a voracious reader. But I try to read to my little one every night. I just ordered my copy of The Little Prince, too.

  1. I love The Little Prince! I didn’t find it until I was old enough to understand it, but I did read it to my niece. The Morgan Library here in NYC has an exhibition on it http://bit.ly/1egcadk. I plan on going soon. It means a lot to me, especially the parts you pointed out. I saw the opera of it and the movie. Opera I liked, movie wasn’t so great. Glad to share another love with you! 😀

    1. I haven’t seen the opera or movie, and I’ll probably skip it if it happened to come to LA. But I certainly wish the exhibit would your here though. Through the years, I guess The Little Prince has really stood out for me above the rest, maybe because I was too young to have understood the meaning of the words then, but I so loved the drawings! It had this melancholy feel to them, no matter how cute, and I remember crying when the narrator couldn’t find a trace of the prince anymore, because it only meant one thing, that the snake killed him, and his petulant rose was now completely alone.

      I think as a child, you don’t understand it especially when there’s no one else to share such questions with. And that feeling stays with you.

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