Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, born June 29, 1900 was a French writer and aviator. He is best remembered for his novella The Little Prince (in French, Le Petit Prince). He also wrote books about aviation adventures, including Night Flight and Wind, Sand and Stars. During World War II, he joined the Free French Forces, and disappeared on a reconnaissance flight over the Mediterranean in July 1944.
The Little Prince is probably my favorite of all books. There are so many great passages to which I have referred again and again over the years. One comes about when the little prince explains to his new acquaintence the fox why he is despondent. He had fallen in love with a rose, believing she was the only one in the world.
Then he discovered to his dismay that there are many roses, and the object of his love was not unique. The fox explains that it doesn’t matter; establishing ties with one particular being changes everything:
“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’ . . .”
Before the fox goes, he imparts yet more wisdom to the boy:
“‘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.’ … ‘It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”
I recommend this book for all ages!
Published in 1943, and reprinted many times thereafter