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  • I had thus learned a second fact of great importance:

  • this was that the planet the little prince came from was scarcely any larger than a house!

  • But that did not really surprise me much.

  • I knew very well that in addition to the great planets-

  • such as the Earth, Jupiter, Mars, Venus--to which we have given names,

  • there are also hundreds of others, some of which are so small that one has a hard time seeing them through the telescope.

  • When an astronomer discovers one of these he does not give it a name, but only a number.

  • He might call it, for example, "Asteroid 325."

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • But certainly, for us who understand life,

  • figures are a matter of indifference.

  • I should have liked to begin this story in the fashion of the fairy-tales.

  • I should have like to say: "Once upon a time

  • there was a little prince who lived on a planet that was scarcely any bigger than himself,

  • and who had need of a sheep . . ."

  • To those who understand life,

  • that would have given a much greater air of truth to my story.

  • For I do not want any one to read my book carelessly.

  • I have suffered too much grief in setting down these memories.

  • Six years have already passed since my friend went away from me, with his sheep.

  • If I try to describe him here,

  • it is to make sure that I shall not forget him.

  • To forget a friend is sad.

  • Not every one has had a friend.

  • And if I forget him,

  • I may become like the grown-ups who are no longer interested in anything but figures . . .

  • It is for that purpose, again, that I have bought a box of paints and some pencils.

  • It is hard to take up drawing again at my age, when I have never made any pictures

  • except those of the boa constrictor from the outside and the boa constrictor from the inside, since I was six.

  • I shall certainly try to make my portraits as true to life as possible.

  • But I am not at all sure of success.

  • One drawing goes along all right, and another has no resemblance to its subject.

  • I make some errors, too, in the little prince's height:

  • in one place he is too tall and in another too short.

  • And I feel some doubts about the color of his costume.

  • So I fumble along as best I can, now good, now bad,

  • and I hope generally fair-to-middling.

  • In certain more important details I shall make mistakes, also.

  • But that is something that will not be my fault.

  • My friend never explained anything to me.

  • He thought, perhaps, that I was like himself.

  • But I, alas, do not know how to see sheep through the walls of boxes.

  • Perhaps I am a little like the grown-ups.

  • I have had to grow old.

I had thus learned a second fact of great importance:

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    s01143331 posted on 2017/08/24
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