Only the children know what they are looking for..

The title of this post is a quote from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I had never heard about it till Anamika mentioned it a few months back. The book is said to be a ‘children’s book’- simple, short sentences, easy to understand, but after reading it I can confidently say that the message of this book is to be appreciated by us - the ‘grown-ups’ too. It is a perfect blend of fantasy and philosophy.


Saint-Exupéry is a pilot whose plane crashes in Sahara desert. There he meets a little prince who is from another planet. The little prince tells about his journey to earth and also about the different planets which he visited before he came to earth. The people whom he meets on different planets are all ‘grown-ups’, each one being foolish in a unique way. The little prince, with his story, teaches us many lessons. Innocence, I must say, is one thing which children have but is lost somewhere in this chaotic world. It also reminds me of ‘The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas’; for me this movie was all about innocence of children. ‘Enjoyment’ also changes its meaning and becomes materialistic as the number of years spent on planet Earth increment. Anyway, at the end of the story, Saint-Exupéry is heartbroken. Why?? Read it and find, if and when you get a chance. It’s just about 120 pages and hey, it’s illustrated too!

Favourite excerpts:

There are many. I loved this one the most:
When the little prince meets the fox and it tells him to tame him, which he does. The fox makes him realize that his flower on his planet is unique and special for him and not like the several others he has seen on planet Earth because she is the one whom he loves and then he realizes his responsibility for ‘his’ flower. The fox says:"Men have forgotten this truth. But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.”
Another one is when the little prince meets the merchant. The merchant tells the Prince about his product, a pill which eliminates thirst and thus saves 53 minutes a week. Prince asks him that what does one do with those 53 minutes. To this the merchant says that whatever one wishes. The little prince says”If I had 53 minutes to spend, I would walk very slowly toward a spring of fresh water…”

Favourite quotes:

  • Grown-ups love figures. When you tell them that you have made a new friend, they never ask you any questions about essentail 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 many brothers has 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.
  • Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.
  • If you were to say to the grown-ups: “I saw a beautiful house made of rosy brick, with geraniums in the windows and doves on the roof,” they would not be able to get an idea of that house at all. You have have to say to them: “I saw a house that cost $20,000.” Then they would exclaim: “Oh, what a pretty house that is!”
  • To forget a friend is sad. Not everyone has had a friend. And if I forget him, I may become like the grown-ups who are no longer interested in anything but figures…
  • It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
  • “Only the children know what they are looking for,” said the little prince. “They waste their time over a rag doll and it becomes very important to them; and if anybody takes it away from them, they cry…”
  • “What makes the desert beautiful,” said the little prince, “is that somewhere it hides a well…”
  • "Where are the people?" resumed the little prince at last. "It's a little lonely in the desert..."  "It is lonely when you're among people, too," said the snake.
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Write by: RC - Thursday, April 30, 2009

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