Today’s motivational post is about the book The Little Prince, or Le Petit Prince, which was written in 1943 by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. This little book has captured a huge place in my heart. Although it is officially a children’s book, it’s an essential read for all adults, as it includes many important life lessons most of us have forgotten.
Unfortunately my French is not good enough to read the original, so I read the most recent English translation of The Little Prince. I should have read it much sooner – I can’t believe it has taken me this long! The Little Prince is a small, 83-page story about a young prince from another planet who has fallen to Earth and meets a pilot stranded in the desert. The story is, largely, about friendship, loneliness, love and loss and includes beautiful drawings throughout the book.
I won’t give too much away, it’s a book you should really read yourself (and re-read, many times over). But I did want to include my favourite parts from the book. As I said, it’s a children’s book but it includes so many interesting observations about life, the difference between children and adults and how humans live their lives. Throughout the book, the little prince has serval encounters with humans, animals and even flowers who each have important messages for the prince. Those messages are what makes the book so special.
I need to put up with two or three caterpillars if I want to get to know the butterflies
The little prince is much wiser than most adults and has the most incredible insights throughout the story. What makes the book so interesting is the encounters he has, for example when he meets a king who is the one and only inhabitant of his planet. He lives and rules there all by himself. The king says that is there is no one else to judge, you must judge yourself.
“That is the hardest thing of all. It is much harder to judge yourself than to judge others”
The prince moves on to other planets and meets other people, until he falls down to Earth. There he meets a fox, who shares some important wisdom with the little prince.
“Here is my secret. It’s quite simple: One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes”
How true that is, and how many of us have forgotten this. The fox also teaches the prince about relationships. The prince left a rose behind on his home planet. He was very fond of his rose, until he realises how many roses there are on Earth. He says to himself:
“I thought I was rich because I had just one flower, and all I own is an ordinary rose. That and my three volcanoes, which come up to my knee, one of which may be permanently extinct. It doesn’t make me much of a prince…” And he lay down in the grass and wept.
The fox teaches the prince that it is “the time spent on your rose that makes your rose so important”. Because of his encounter and brief friendship with the fox, the little prince finally understands what that really means.
“People where you live grow five thousand roses in one garden… yet they don’t find what they’re looking for (…) And yet what they’re looking for could be found in a single rose or a little water… (…) But eyes are blind. You have to look with the heart”
These lessons from The Little Prince are so powerful, because even although the book was written in 1943 they still apply. We are all constantly in search of something we don’t have to make us happy, while everything we need is right in front of us. Yet, we are too blind to see it.
“As for me, nothing in the universe can be the same if somewhere, no one knows where, a sheep we never saw has or has not eaten a rose… Look up at the sky. Ask yourself: “has the sheep eaten the flower or not?” And you’ll see how everything changes… And no grown-up will ever understand how such a thing could be so important!”
If you read The Little Prince you will understand the beauty of the ending of the book. I don’t want to give everything away, you should really read it yourself, as a reminder what life’s really about. There is so much beauty, friendship and love already surrounding us, but often we are too blind to see it. Time to open our eyes.