The Little Prince Quotations

The Little Prince

Quotations

 

 

1

The grown-ups’ response, this time, was to advise me to lay aside my drawings of boa constrictors, whether from the inside or the outside,

and devote myself instead to geography, history, arithmetic, and grammar.

That is why, at the age of six, I gave up what might have been a magnificent career as a painter.

I had been disheartened by the failure of my Drawing Number One and my Drawing Number Two.

Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves,

and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.

So then I chose another profession, and learned to pilot airplanes.

I have flown a little over all parts of the world; and it is true that geography has been very useful to me.

At a glance, I can distinguish China from Arizona.

If one gets lost in the night, such knowledge is valuable.

In the course of this life I have had a great many encounters with a great many people who have been concerned with matters of consequence.

I have lived a great deal among grown-ups. I have seen them intimately, close at hand.

And that hasn’t much improved my opinion of them.

2

Whenever I met one of them who seemed to me at all clear-sighted,

I tried the experiment of showing him my Drawing Number One, which I have always kept.

I would try to find out, so, if this was a person of true understanding.

But, whoever it was, he, or she, would always say: “That is a hat.”

Then I would never talk to that person about boa constrictors, or primeval forests, or stars.

I would bring myself down to his level.

I would talk to him about bridge, and golf, and politics, and neckties.

And the grown-up would be greatly pleased to have met such a sensible man.

3

I have serious reason to believe that the planet from which the little prince came is the asteroid known as B-612.

This asteroid has only once been seen through the telescope.

That was by a Turkish astronomer, in 1909.

On making his discovery, the astronomer had presented it to the International Astronomical Congress, in a great demonstration.

But he was in Turkish costume, and so nobody would believe what he said.

Grown-ups are like that…

Fortunately, however, for the reputation of Asteroid B-612,

a Turkish dictator made a law that his subjects, under pain of death, should change to European costume.

So in 1920 the astronomer gave his demonstration all over again, dressed with impressive style and elegance.

And this time everybody accepted his report.

4

If I have told you these details about the asteroid, and made a note of its number for you, it is on account of the grown-ups and their ways.

When you tell them that you have made a new friend, they never ask you any questions about essential matters.

They never say to you, “What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?”

Instead, they demand: “How old is he? How many brothers has he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?”

Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.

If you were to say to the grown-ups:

“I saw a beautiful house made of rosy brick, with geraniums in the windows and doves on the roof,”

they would not be able to get any idea of that house at all.

You would have to say to them: “I saw a house that cost $20,000.”

Then they would exclaim: “Oh, what a pretty house that is!”

Just so, you might say to them:

“The proof that the little prince existed is that he was charming, that he laughed, and that he was looking for a sheep.

If anybody wants a sheep, that is a proof that he exists.”

And what good would it do to tell them that?

They would shrug their shoulders, and treat you like a child.

But if you said to them:

“The planet he came from is Asteroid B-612,” then they would be convinced, and leave you in peace from their questions.

They are like that. One must not hold it against them.

Children should always show great forbearance toward grown-up people.

5

To forget a friend is sad.

Not everyone has had a friend.

6

Flowers are weak creatures. They are naïve.

They reassure themselves as best they can.

They believe that their thorns are terrible weapons…

The flowers have been growing thorns for millions of years.

For millions of years the sheep have been eating them just the same.

And is it not a matter of consequence to try to understand why the flowers go to so much trouble to grow thorns which are never of any use to them?

Is the warfare between the sheep and the flowers not important?

Is this not of more consequence than a fat red-faced gentleman’s sums?

And if I know-I, myself- one flower which is unique in the world,

which grows nowhere but on my planet,

but which one little sheep can destroy in a single bite some morning,

without even noticing what he is doing,

Oh! You think that is not important!

7

If someone loves a flower,

of which just one single blossom grows in all the millions and millions of stars,

it is enough to make him happy just to look at the stars.

He can say to himself: “Somewhere, my flower is there…”

8

I know a planet where there is a certain red-faced gentleman.

He has never smelled a flower.

He has never looked at a star.

He has never loved any one.

He has never done anything in his life but add up figures.

And all day he says over and over, just like you:

“I am busy with matters of consequence!”

And that makes him swell up with pride.

But he is not a man-he is a mushroom!”

9

I wonder, he said;

whether the stars are set alight in heaven

so that one day each one of us may find his own again.

10

Men?

I think there are six or seven of them in existence.

I saw them, several years ago.

But one never knows where to find them.

The wind blows them away.

They have no roots, and that makes their life very difficult.

11

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.

What is essential is invisible to the eye.

12

No one is ever satisfied where he is.

13

Men, said the little prince, set out on their way in express trains,

but they do not know what they are looking for.

Then they rush about, and get excited, and turn round and round…

14

Water may also be good for the heart…

15

The men where you live, said the little prince, raise five thousand roses in the same garden…

and they do not find in it what they are looking for…

They do not find it, I replied…

And yet what they are looking for could be found in one single rose, or in a little water…

And the little prince added:

But the eyes are blind.

One must look with the heart…

16

But the eyes are blind.

One must look with the heart…

17

It is just as it is with the flower.

If you love a flower that lives on a star, it is sweet to look at the sky at night.

All the stars are a-bloom with flowers.

18

And at night you will look up at the stars.

Where I live everything is so small that I cannot show you where my star is to be found.

It is better, like that.

My star will just be one of the stars, for you.

And so you will love to watch all the stars in the heavens…

They will all be your friends.

And, besides, I am going to make you a present…

19

All men have the stars, he answered, but they are not the same things for different people.

For some, who are travellers, the stars are guides.

For others they are no more than little lights in the sky.

For others, who are scholars, they are problems.

For my businessman they were wealth.

But all these stars are silent.

You – you alone – will have the stars as no one else has them…

– What are you trying to say?

– In one of the stars I shall be living.

In one of them I shall be laughing.

And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night…

You – only you – will have stars that can laugh!

And he laughed again.

And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me.

You will always be my friend.

You will want to laugh with me.

And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure…

And your friends will be properly astonished to see you laughing as you look up at the sky!

Then you will say to them, ‘Yes, the stars always make me laugh’!

20

Words are the source of misunderstandings.

Antoine de Saint Exupéry

The Little Prince

Every child has a god in him

Every child has a god in him; our attempts to mold the child will turn the god into a devil

There’s a lovely Italian film directed by Federico Fellini, 8 ½.

In one scene there’s a Christian Brother going out on a picnic or excursion with a group of eight to ten year old boys.

They’re on a beach, moving right on ahead while the Brother brings up the rear with three or four of them around him.

They come across an older woman, who’s a whore, and they say to her,

“Hi,”

and she says, “Hi.”

And they say, “Who are you?”

And she says, “I’m a prostitute.”

They don’t know what that is but they pretend to.

One of the boys, who seems a bit more knowing than the others, says, “A prostitute is a woman who does certain things if you pay her.”

They ask, “Would she do those things if we paid her?”

“Why not?” the answer came.

So they take up a collection and give her the money, saying, “Would you do certain things now that we’ve given you the money?”

She answers, “Sure, kids, what do you want me to do?”

The only thing that occurs to the kids is for her to take her clothes off.

So she does.

Well, they look at her; they’ve never seen a woman naked before.

They don’t know what else to do, so they say, “Would you dance?”

She says, “Sure.”

So they all gather round singing and clapping; the whore is moving her behind and they’re enjoying themselves immensely.

The Brother sees all this. He runs down the beach and yells at the woman.

He gets her to put her clothes on, and the narrator says:

“At that moment, the children were spoiled; until then they were innocent, beautiful.”