[2016-12-31] “The Little Prince”

Just like its eponymous hero, “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry packs quite a punch in its tiny frame. Told from the viewpoint of a child looking at the adult world around him in perplexity, even though the narrator himself is an experienced pilot, it holds a lesson for all of us stuck in our respective rat-race who tend to forget the little things in our lives that actually provide joy and meaning to it.

The narrator crashes his plane on the Sahara Desert where he meets a little prince who has left his (really tiny) home planet and has been visiting various little planets (except for Earth). The little prince tells him little stories of his visits to these planets, but at the end of all these adventures he ultimately regrets having left his planet and his beloved flower, with whom he had a little falling out. He realizes that tending to his little planet and his flower gave him the joy and the meaning that he was searching for elsewhere.

The worlds that the writer describes are fantastical and impossibly tiny, but these are allegorical, each meant to represent a particular point. You need to once again adopt the viewpoint of a child to really appreciate the world around you and the little things that really matter in your life. Almost all of us lose this viewpoint as we grow older and more “mature”, which is a mistake according to the author.

The writing in this small book is simple, but beautiful, even in translation. The author himself has provided simple, but effective, illustrations for the book that tie in very well with the stories and are in fact crucial in some cases. No wonder it has become a beloved bestseller around the world.

Read this little book if you haven’t already; read it again if you have. We all need constant reminders of the lessons in this beautiful book.

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