Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s novella Le Petit Prince has sold over 140 million copies. Before the new movie arrives, here are five things you should know about the prince, the rose, the fox and their creator. (We’ve updated with the new English international trailer.)
1 The Book… Has been translated into 250 languages and dialects, including braille.
2 The Author… Wrote the book mostly at night, with several cups of coffee to sustain him.
3 The Prince’s Home… – Asteroid B-612 – was likely inspired by Saint-Exupery’s plane (he was an aristocrat and a mail pilot) which bore the number A-612. The 4-D number you want would logically be ‘2612’.
4 The Fox… As illustrated in the story, appears to be a fennec fox, and has arguably the novella’s most important quotes. The fennec lives up to 14 years in captivity, a fact which may have prompted one of its most famous lines: “You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.”
5 And Speaking of Quotes, Five of the Most Enduring Ones…
i – “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
ii – “You – you alone will have the stars as no one else has them…In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night…You – only you – will have stars that can laugh.”
iii – “You’re beautiful, but you’re empty…One couldn’t die for you. Of course, an ordinary passerby would think my rose looked just like you. But my rose, all on her own, is more important than all of you together, since she’s the one I’ve watered. Since she’s the one I put under glass, since she’s the one I sheltered behind the screen. Since she’s the one for whom I killed the caterpillars (except the two or three butterflies). Since she’s the one I listened to when she complained, or when she boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing at all. Since she’s my rose.”
iv – “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.”
v – “Grown-ups love figures… When you tell them you’ve made a new friend they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you ‘What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?’. Instead they demand ‘How old is he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?’. Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.”