Many of us either heard about or read Antoine de Saint-ExupÃ©ry’s The Little Prince. The hero of the story sets out on a journey that will take him to several planets on which he meets people who are representative of different characters. The purpose of his journey is to make new friends and to find answers to the question why. In other words, he is trying to understand the meaning of his life. During this journey, he meets a fox that teaches him two secrets related to the answer of his subconscious question. The story ends with the Little Prince dying from a serpent bite. However, his apparent death is only a transformation so that he can leave his body, which is too heavy for the journey on which he is now setting out. This journey is his homecoming, and we listen to his memories after his arrival.
On a Friday evening, the Little Prince landed on his home planet. Then, he went to his precious rose and related his travel stories to her…
“And I saw so many flowers with different colors on the earth.”
After few forced coughs, the rose responded in jealousy:
“Oh, but were they as beautiful as me?”
“There were many roses just like you; but I learned that you are unique…”
“Then go talk with them. If you are not going to water me with your words, telling me how much you missed me, why did you come here?”
Unfortunately, these happened to be the last words of the rose, as it had not been watered for a while. The death of his rose, his only friend at home, shook the Little Prince from deep within. As his home planet was so small, his tears soon became a lake. He decided to bury his rose near this lake; a lake that sprang from his heart.
At the end of the day, he sat by the lake and watched the sunset. Then he remembered his conversations with the fox. The fox had said that if they became friends, he would cry after the Little Prince departed. But he would stare at the glaring yellow of the wheat fields, for the yellow color there would remind him of his blond friend, the Little Prince.
Taking the fox’s words to heart, the Little Prince also decided to assign things around him meanings that would remind him of his rose. The red color of the sky at sunset became the petals of the rose, the wings of the birds became its leaves. And most importantly, the lake that was formed by his tears became his love for his precious one. So, whenever the Little Prince wanted to remember his rose, he would come to the lake side at sunset, stare at the horizon as the sun embellished the sky with the petals of his rose, and he would add some more tears to his lake of love.
On one of those days, he felt the absence of his rose so strongly that he cried, sobbing deeply “everything comes to an end, just like the sun, just like my rose…” Having said that, a shock wave reverberated in his mind: what about my own end? And, this question brought others, like a chain reaction: Is it possible to know when his life was going to end? What would happen afterwards? What is the meaning of all the manifest beauties if they are destined to perish? What is the wisdom behind love, if it leads to so much destruction in the heart upon separation…?
Then he remembered the two secrets that the fox had shared with him: 1) It is only with the heart that one can see well, for the essential is invisible to the eye, 2) it is the time that you spend with your rose that makes her so important to you. He thought “the essence of my rose cannot be mere soil; the essence of my love cannot be just tears…” So, did this mean that if he wanted to see his rose, he could see her with his heart? Or, was the time he spent with his rose spent in vain, since she had departed without considering the sorrow of the Little Prince?
Days passed with unanswered questions like these. The Little Prince looked at the sheep in the box that the pilot on the earth had drawn. He sighed, and wished that the sheep could get out of its home; the absence of a friend had slowly but surely destroyed him. Seeing that his desire for company was not realized, he slowly lost his hope as well. He was severely aware of his own doom in his soul. But, still in the depths of his heart, one question kept him alive: When he was lost in the desert with the pilot, with no water left, how did they happen to find a water-well exactly when they were most in need of it? Out of the infinite number of ways they could have followed, were they guided by a hidden hand to this particular path that lead to the well?
Whenever the Little Prince thought about this moment, he would feel the warmth of unseen company. Maybe this was something he could see with his heart, but not with his eyes. He wanted to call this essence that he could see with his heart the essence of life. Then, he thought, if the essence of life had not loved him, it would have abandoned him to perish in the desert. “I love you, too” he whispered. Then he continued to talk to the essence of life; maybe it could hear him, and respond to his need. Thus, with this final hope to be delivered from misery, the Little Prince held conversations with the essence of life that he could not see. And he tried to have his conversations always at the same time of the day, as the fox had told him. The more time he spent with the essence of life, the closer he felt towards it, again, just like the fox had told him. He felt that he was making a new friend, finding love again. The feeling of being taken care of was indescribably comforting.
One day, while he was walking by the lakeside, he came to the place where he had buried his rose last year. He started to cry. As the tears dropped on the graveyard, the Little Prince silently pondered “my precious rose; I cannot see you, but I do believe in the essence that my heart feels. It is the time that I spent with you that made you so important to me; true… And it is my entire life that makes me so important to the essence of life. I feel something extraordinary, because, I feel that the essence of life loves me. I am sure it is taking care of you as well, and I feel that I am going to see you again.”
After his last sentence, he felt something inside that he could not put into words; a feeling of serenity mixed with a glimpse of reunion. But how, when, and where? These questions were unanswered. It was as if his mind was imprisoned in a cell, while his heart was rejoicing at the new freedom that it found with the essence of life. Unfortunately, his mind could not keep up with his heart, and he fell asleep from the intense conflict between his heart and mind.
The Little Prince did not go to visit his rose for a long time after that day. One Saturday morning, he woke up as the dawn was embellishing the surface of the lake of love. He went to the lakeside and washed his face with the water of love. Then behold! He saw his rose burgeoning from where he had buried her the previous year.
A Saturday Unlike Others
- By Sermed Ogretim
- Category: Issue 59 (July - September 2007)
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