Sunday, September 25, 2011

"The Little Prince"

These past few days, I read "The Little Prince" byAntoine de Saint-Exupery to Miriam.  As an explanation---we've been told to always keep Miriam up for half an hour after she eats to prevent tummy troubles.  As you can imagine---it is difficult to stay awake for that extra half an hour at three in the morning and such---so I read to her.  But it's more for me than for her---though I think she does enjoy the cadence of our voices---as she tends to peer at me with something akin to interest as I read.  Still---if you asked her for a plot summary---she would probably only burp.  Her uncle Jake should be proud of this response.  :)  So---I quite enjoyed the story---I'd read it before---but had forgotten a lot---and I decided to jot down a few of my favorite quotes from the book.  FYI---don't read this book to a child who's old enough to understand the plot---as the ending is somewhat disturbing.

The rose to the little prince:  "Well I must endure the presence of two or three caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies."

"Grownups never understand anything by themselves, and it's boring for children to have to be always and forever explaining things to them."

'But if you don't tie him,' I said, 'he will wander off somewhere and get lost.'
My new little friend burst out laughing again:
'But where do you think he would go?'
'Anywhere. Straight ahead in any direction.'
'That doesn't matter.  Where I live, everything is so small.'
And with maybe a bit of sadness, he added:
'Straight ahead of him, nobody can go very far.....'

"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 something important to try to understand why the flowers go to so much trouble to grow thorns which are never of any use to them?"

"I didn't know what to say to him.  I felt awkward and blundering.  I didn't know how I could reach him.  It is such a secret place, the land of tears."

"Then you shall judge yourself," the king answered.  "that is the most difficult thing of all.  It is much more difficult to judge oneself than to judge others.  If you succeed in judging yourself rightly, then you are indeed a man of true wisdom."

The conceited man:  "To admire means that you regard me as the handsomest, the best dressed, the richest, and the most intelligent man on this planet.'
'But you are the only man on your planet!'
'Do me this kindness.  Admire me just the same.'
'I admire you,' said the little prince, shrugging his shoulders slightly, 'but what is there in that to interest you so much?'

.....repeated the little prince, who never in his life had let go of a question once he had asked it.

"Where are the men?"  the little prince at last took up the conversation again.  "It is a little lonely in the desert...."
"It is also lonely among men," the snake said.

"....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...."

"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."

"But I was not reassured.  I remembered the fox.  One runs the risk of weeping a little, if one lets himself be tamed...."

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