Saturday, February 25, 2012

Chapter 24

     "It was now eight days since I had broken down in the desert and I listened to the story of the merchant while drinking the last drop of my water supply.
     'Ah!' I said to the little prince, 'these memories of yours are quite delightful, but I haven't yet succeeded in repairing my plane. I have no water left to drink and I too would be happy if I could walk slowly towards a spring of fresh water!'
     'My friend the fox said to me. . .'
     'My dear little chap, this has nothing to do with a fox!'
     'Because we are going to die of thirst. . .'
     He didin't follow my reasoning and replied: 'It is good to have had a friend, even if one is going to die. I am very happy to have had a fox as a friend. . .'
     'He does not realize the danger,' I said to myself. 'He is never hungry or thirsty. All he needs is a little sunshine. . .'
     But he looked at me and responded to my thoughts.
     'I too am thirsty. . . Let's go and look for a well. . .'
     I made a gesture of weariness; it is absurd to look for a well, at random, in the immensity of the desert. None the less we started walking.
     We walked for hours in silence; darkness fell and the stars began to come out. Due to my thirst I was slightly feverish and saw them as in a dream. The little prince's last words came dancing back into my mind.
     'So you are thirsty, too?' I asked him.
     But he did not reply to my question and said simply: 'Water may also be good for the heart. . .'
     I didn't understand his answer but remained silent. I knew only too well that there was no point in questioning him.
     He was tired and sat down. I sat down beside him. After a short silence he spoke again: 'The stars are beautiful because of a flower one cannot see. . .'
     I replied 'of course' and I looked at the sand dunes under the moonlight in silence.
     'The desert is beautiful,' he added. . .
     And it was true. I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet one can feel a silent radiation. . .
     'What makes the desert so beautiful,' said the little prince, 'is that it hides a well, somewhere. . .'
     I was surprised by a sudden awareness the sand's mysterious radiation. When I was a little boy, I lived in a very old house and a legend told us that a treasure was buried there. To be sure, nobody had ever discovered it nor even searched for it, perhaps. But it cast an enchantment over that house. My home was hiding a secret in the depths of its heart. . .
     'Yes,' I said to the little prince, 'be it a house, the stars or the desert, the source of their beauty cannot be seen!'
     'I am glad that you agree with me,' he said.
     As the little prince fell asleep, I took him in my arms and started walking again. i was deeply moved. It seemed to me I was carrying a very fragile treasure. It even seemed to me that there was nothing more fragile on all the Earth. In the moonlight I gazed at the pale forehead, the closed eyes, the locks of hair trembling in the breeze, and said to myself: 'What I see here is nothing but a shell. What is important is invisible. . .'
     As his lips opened slightly with the suspicion of a half-smile, I said to myself once again: 'What moves me so deeply about this little prince sleeping here is his loyalty to a flower, the image of a rose shining through his whole being like the flame of a lamp, even when he is asleep. . .' And I felt him to be more fragile still. Lamps should be protected with great care: a gust of wind can extinguish them. . .
     And I walked on and at daybreak I discovered the well."

from, The Little Prince
Antoine De Saint-Exupery


No comments:

Post a Comment