All grown were first children. (But few of them remember it.)
“Frighten? Why should any one be frightened by a hat?"
I do not much like to take the tone of a moralist. But the danger of
the baobabs is so little understood, and such considerable risks would be run by
anyone who might get lost on an asteroid, that for once I am breaking through
my reserve. “Children,” I say plainly, “watch out for the baobabs!”
“Hum! Hum!” said the king. “I have good reason to believe that somewhere
on my planet there is an old rat. I hear him at night. You can judge this old rat.
From time to time you will condemn him to death. Thus his life will depend on
your justice. But you will pardon him on each occasion; for he must be treated
thriftily. He is the only one we have.”
The second planet was inhabited by a conceited man.
“Ah! Ah! I am about to receive a visit from an admirer!” he exclaimed from
afar, when he first saw the little prince coming.
For, to conceited men, all other men are admirers.
“I am drinking,” replied the tippler, with a lugubrious air.
“Why are you drinking?” demanded the little prince.
“So that I may forget,” replied the tippler.
“Forget what?” inquired the little prince, who already was sorry for him.
“Forget that I am ashamed,” the tippler confessed, hanging his head.
“Ashamed of what?” insisted the little prince, who wanted to help him.
“Ashamed of drinking!”
The tippler brought his speech to an end, and shut
himself up in an impregnable silence.
“Eh? Are you still there? Five-hundred-and-one million– I can’t stop. . . I
have so much to do! I am concerned with matters of consequence. I don’t amuse
myself with balderdash. Two and five make seven. . . ”
“When he lights his street lamp, it is as if he brought one more
star to life, or one flower. When he puts out his lamp, he sends the flower, or
the star, to sleep. That is a beautiful occupation. And since it is beautiful, it
is truly useful.”
“What place would you advise me to visit now?” he asked.
“The planet Earth,” replied the geographer. “It has a good reputation.”
And the little prince went away, thinking of his flower.
The flower had once seen a caravan passing.
“Men?” she echoed. “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
And he was overcome with sadness. His flower had told him that she was
the only one of her kind in all the universe. And here were five thousand of
them, all alike, in one single garden!
“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.
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.”
I had drunk the water. I breathed easily. At sunrise the sand is the color
of honey. And that honey color was making me happy, too. What brought me,
then, this sense of grief?
There before me, facing the little prince, was one of those yellow snakes that
take just thirty seconds to bring your life to an end.
There was nothing but a flash of yellow close to his ankle. He remained
motionless for an instant. He did not cry out. He fell as gently as a tree falls.
There was not even any sound, because of the sand.
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.