The English and French editions of The Little Prince were published in the United States in April 1943. In the following 80 years, “The Little Prince” sold 14 million copies and was translated into 505 languages. The little prince on that lonely little planet, with his roses and foxes, lives in every reader’s heart.
A pilot who loves fantasy, forced to land in the Sahara desert due to an airplane accident, and meets the little prince from the planet B612. This is the beginning of the story. Many materials in “The Little Prince” come from the personal experience of the author Saint-Exupery. He loves flying, takes flying as a career, and turns the experience and thinking in flight into works.
In 1935, eight years before The Little Prince came out, Saint-Exupéry and his mechanics crashed in a storm in the Libyan desert. Saint-Exupery recorded this near-death experience in “The Wind, the Sand and the Star”.
They miraculously survived the huge fireworks and explosions and were not injured. In the barren Sahara desert, they only had a piece of cake, a little grape, an orange, half a liter of coffee and 250ml of white wine around them. Saint-Exupéry was ready to die, but did not give up the last tiny hope.
He left the mechanic where he was, and set off alone to scout the way. He found some “delicate little footprints, three-toe fan-shaped imprints.” The footprints belonged to desert fennec foxes, which are “about the size of a rabbit with huge ears on their heads”. Even at the moment of life and death, he couldn’t help imagining that the fox walked here every morning, licking the dew on the stones, and devouring a few golden snails in a leisurely manner. They spent three days in the desert after the crash until a Libyan Bedouin found them on the fourth day.
Later, he wrote the Sahara crash into “The Little Prince”, making the desert the setting for meeting the little prince. “My” plane crashed in the desert, with hunger, thirst and death hanging over his head, but he took out a pen and paper, and at the request of the little prince he just met, drew a very small sheep, which was hidden in a box . The little prince wants to take it back to his own planet, where the lamb can eat the saplings of the baobab tree. He also included foxes in The Little Prince, although he probably didn’t see the desert fox in the crash.
This is both a novel and a fairy tale. The little prince is the embodiment of the ideal child: fragile, stubborn, curious, willing to observe phenomena, but does not understand many truths and does not need to understand. This has given generations of readers room to project themselves.
Some people say that the little prince is Saint-Exupery himself. He had curly blond hair as a child and was dubbed the “Sun King” by relatives. He likes children, and always writes about children as serious, intelligent, and insightful little souls. It has also been suggested that the son of a philosopher friend of his in Quebec City may have been the inspiration for the little prince. It has also been suggested that the son of the famous Charles Lindenberg (the first aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean) may also have been a prototype for the little prince.
But the pilot that the little prince met in the desert was also Saint-Exupéry himself. In the novel, the pilot is already an adult, but he still retains the ability to draw like a child, which is his special language to communicate with children. Saint-Exupéry transformed himself into two, the adult one comforting the young one, seeing his smiling face in the starry night sky.
When people talk about the little prince, they must also talk about roses and foxes. In the reader’s mind, they are a trinity, although the fox and the rose never meet in the book.
The little prince has only one rose on his own planet, but there are 5,000 in an ordinary garden on Earth. He thought that his planet was very small and his rose was just an ordinary flower, so he lay down in the grass and began to cry.
Accepting one’s own ordinaryness is a growth threshold that is difficult for everyone to cross. People either linger in front of this test, or refuse reality, or give up on themselves. Ordinary people are like one of 5,000 roses. Only after seeing its well-dressed bloom up close and listening to its complaints can we understand how special this rose is. I have drawn sheep for the little prince, and heard about the little prince’s interstellar travels, so I understand how special this child is.
The mature and wise fox made the little prince understand this truth. Otherwise, how can people become people, and how can love become love?
Rose is the love of the little prince, and also the other side of the little prince. The rose asked the little prince to shield her from the wind, just as the little prince asked a stranger to draw him a sheep. In a love relationship, people will constantly switch the roles of courtship and temptation, asking the other party to accept unconditionally and sincerely praise their own uniqueness. Those unreasonable troubles of varying degrees are taming rituals. People will take turns playing the roles of the little prince, the rose and the fox in life, because people are constantly loving and being loved, thinking about love.
True love also has a special meaning, that is, when the relationship cannot continue for various reasons, people will grow up and mature. When the little prince was about to leave, Rose suddenly no longer needed shelter from the wind and rain, and could endure a few inchworms. Even if a tiger really came, she was confident enough to protect herself with four thorns. After the fox taught the little prince what it means to tame each other, the little prince will eventually return to the rose, where he will become a truly great prince.
There is always some melancholy in the romantic image of the little prince, perhaps because of the sad background of that era. “The Little Prince” is a classic with strong vitality. Eighty years have passed, and people are still reading and drawing The Little Prince, feeling depressed, missing their lover, and thinking of The Little Prince when they see the starry sky. The world of the little prince is fictitious, but anyone who wants to get out of the current life scene can easily enter the world of the little prince. The cell awakened by “The Little Prince” is childhood. In childhood, we were little princes; when we grew up, we became geographers who didn’t care about real rivers and mountains, industrialists who were only interested in numbers, bluff kings and vain people who only loved themselves.
Where is the little prince who was once our soul? Everyone used to use watercolors and crayons to draw houses, trees, clouds, the sun and stars, parents and their children on white paper, and then gradually became adults who did not draw. People grow taller, the garden of childhood is deserted, the color of life fades away, find a job to make a living, find someone to start a family, and then spend the rest of life in monotony and gloom. For many people, growing up is such a process, losing keen curiosity and gentle sorrow, losing intuition and action towards love.
In 1998, a French fisherman discovered a silver bracelet bearing the names of Saint-Exupéry and his wife. Divers found the wreckage in the same area two years later. The final crash site in Saint-Exupéry has been confirmed. However, readers of The Little Prince prefer to believe that on July 31, 1944, Saint-Exupéry got rid of his heavy body and rose to the sky. He returned to his own star, cleaned the volcano, and tended the roses. , he smiles with other stars.