The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery was published in 1943 and has been translated into over 180 languages. That ought to be proof enough of the enduring nature of this tender and touching fable. I remember thinking when I read it for the first time (as a young woman, not a child) that it was really a book for adults. But now that I am old I get it. I really get it.
I had specifically remembered (with some approximation of correctness) two quotes from the book, but when I pulled the book back out to reread it, I realized that nearly every page contained a pearl of wisdom. The book reminded me of all the people I have loved who have moved on. Some have moved away from me physically, some metaphorically, and some have passed beyond the borders of this world to take up their citizenship in heaven. These are the lucky ones who have come into their "becoming," and are no longer strangers, aliens, or sojourners in this place.
Yet, no matter the circumstance of people loved and lost, I find myself able to be thankful for each of these and for what I have learned from them in their passage through my life. I especially like to think that for those who are in heaven, our relationship is simply waiting 'til the day we can resume it again.
Here are some of my favorite passages and images from this altogether lovely book.
“I wonder,” he said, “whether the stars are set alight in heaven
so that one day each one of us may find his own again...”
“I have lived a great deal among grown-ups. I have seen them intimately, close at hand. And that hasn’t much improved my opinion of them.”
Then you shall judge yourself,
that is the most difficult thing of all.
It is much more difficult to judge
oneself than to judge others.
If you succeed in judging yourself rightly,
then you are indeed a man of true wisdom.
Well, I must endure the presence of two or three caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies. It seems that they are very beautiful.
I hope if you have not yet made The Little Prince's acquaintance,
that you will do so in the very near future.