Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Little Prince


“It is only through the heart that one can see clearly. What is essential is invisible to the eyes.”

Such was the connotative quintessence of the most widely read and well-loved tale at all times. A classic written by Antoine De Saint- Exupery a year before his death, The Little Prince has not lost its magical touch even after many decades of publication.

The book is not your usual amusing children’s story. It’s all a subterfuge of a deeper meaning- almost poetic allegory and philosophy of human frailties and child’s ingenuousness.

Little wisdom sparkled by the little prince for who can indeed see clearly but an innocent little heart which was not yet tainted with the paradoxical complexities of life.

The story started with the engaging attempt of the narrator when he was a child to draw an elephant swallowed by a boa constrictor. However, his endeavor to make the grown ups see what’s in the drawing was futile. They only saw a kid’s doodle that resembled a hat for their imagination was already hemmed in.

Whatever future he had in painting was determinedly dissuaded by the adults in his life, who encouraged him instead to concentrate with more sensible things. For adults, being sagacious would mean focusing in geography, grammar, history and arithmetic.

He ended up as a pilot and gave up completely what could be a magnificent career as a painter. 

It was when he had an accident in Sahara Desert and his engine broke down that he met the little prince. Thousand miles away from any human habitation, he fell asleep on the first night on the sand.

He was dumbfounded when a soft voice woke him up asking him to draw a sheep. “When a mystery is too overpowering one dares not to disobey.” Thus he did what the little prince asked.

The little prince reawakened that child’s stance inside the heart of a man. It was with vivid details that he told his intergalactic journey in search of the secret of what’s essential in life. He was hoping it might help him to understand the flower in his planet that tormented him with its vanity and pride.

It was sort of escape that he took advantage of the migration of the wild birds. His visits in the different planets were overflowing with wisdom more than enough to enlighten any lost soul.

From the first planet inhabited by the king who considered everything as his subject, the little prince learned that authority is first and foremost based on reason.

Then the second planet inhabited by conceited individual who hears only praises; the third by a drunkard who drinks to forget that he’s ashamed of drinking; the fourth by a businessman who counts the stars and declares he owns them so that he can buy more stars or write the number in a paper and kept it lock in his drawer; the fifth planet was the smallest of all which is only enough for a lamppost and a lamplighter.

As the little prince watched the lamplighter carried out his order faithfully, he felt he had come to love him. Thus he was sorry to leave his planet blessed as it was with one thousand and four hundred and forty sunsets every day. Because when one is so sad, he loves sunset.

The sixth planet was ten times larger inhabited by a geographer who records eternal things not the ephemeral ones and that includes his flower.

The seventh planet was the earth where he found himself staring at thousand flowers which looked the same with the flower in his planet. He ended up crying on the grass thinking that he’s not a great prince after all because what he had was a common rose in danger of early disappearance and three volcanoes which came up to his knees.

It was with the fox that he learned the secret. For the fox, the little prince was just like the other thousand boys he saw but it will make a difference if the boy can tame him.

When one reads this novelette with his soul, his life would be changed forever. Nobody can enthrall you with a story so magical and so meaningful at the same time but the little prince.

The allegories were so compelling it would make your heart burst with overpowering love for the Little Prince who was “tamed” by a beautiful rose in his planet and made it different from thousand other flowers in the whole world.

He would fascinate you with the story of baobabs and the insight that seeds are invisible. They remain dormant in the depth of the earth until one of them suddenly decides to wake up. Could it be true to human emotions specially the seed of love?

Then the irony of how people rush everyday without really knowing where to go or what they are looking for. Yet, one’s happiness could actually be found in a single rose or a little water.

Crying for a lone flower he left in his planet, the narrator realized that “The land of tears is so mysterious.”

What is remarkable with the story is its interpretation of the word “goodbye”. The little prince made the narrator realized that saying it has a healing power if one’s view about things would be changed.

It is with great acuity that the little prince uttered, “The stars mean different things to different people. For some they are nothing more than twinkling lights in the sky. For travelers they are guides. For scholars they are food for thought. For the businessman in the fourth planet they are wealth. But for everyone the stars are silent. But since I shall be living on one of them and laughing on one of them, you and only you will have stars that can laugh.” And that made a lot of difference.

Indeed, it is only thru the heart that one can see clearly because the secret of the meaning of life dwells only in the heart. 
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