Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The fox's tale

Right, this is quite a long post, but I hope you'll read it, believe me it's worth it!

The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint Exupéry is one of my favourite books.
I never get tired to read the following chapter again and again, especially when I'm blue. For me it is the best way to express what it means meeting someone new, getting used to their presence and then losing them.

Enjoy and tell me what you think...


It was then that the fox appeared. - 'Good-morning,'said the fox.
'Good-morning,' the little prince replied politely, though when he turned around, he saw nothing.
'I am here,' said the voice, 'under the apple tree . . .' ­
'Who are you?' said the little prince. 'You are very pretty ... ­
'I am a fox,' said the fox.
- 'Come and play with me,' suggested the little prince. 'I am so terribly sad. . . '
"I cannot play with you,' said the fox. 'I am not tame.' ­
'Oh! I'm so sorry,' said the little prince.
But, after some thought, he asked: 'What does "tame" mean?'
'You do not live here,' said the fox. 'What are you looking for?' - ­
'I am looking- for men,' said the little prince. 'What does "tame" mean?'
'Men,' said the fox, 'have rifles and they hunt. It is a real nuisance. They also raise chickens. Those are the only activities they are interested in. Are you looking for chickens?'
'No,' said the little prince. 'I am looking for friends. What does "tame" mean?'
'It is something which is too often forgotten;' said the fox. 'It means to establish ties . . . '
"To establish ties"? '
'That's right,' said the fox. 'To me, you are still just a little boy like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you have no need of me, either. To you, I am just a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, we shall need one another. To me, you will be unique. And I shall be unique to you.'
'I'm beginning to understand,' said the little prince.'There is a flower. . . I think she has tamed me . . . '
'Possibly,' said the fox. 'One sees all sorts of things on Earth...'­
'Oh! But this is not on Earth,' said the little prince.
The fox seemed puzzled. ­
'On another planet?'
'Are there any hunters on that planet?'
'That’s interesting! And any chickens?'
'No.'. .
'Nowhere is perfect,' sighed the fox. Presently, he resumed to his theme.
'My life is monotonous; I hunt chickens and men hunt me. All chickens are alike and all men are alike. So I get a little bored.
But if you tame me, my life will be full of sunshine. I shall recognise the sound of a step different from all others. The other steps send my hurrying under­ground. Yours will call me out of my burrow like the sound of music.
And look yonder! Do you see the cornfields? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. Those cornfields don’t remind me of anything. And I find that rather sad!
But you have hair the colour of gold. So it will be marvellous when you have tamed me! Wheat, which is also golden, will remind me of you. And I shall love the sound of the wind in the wheat...'
The fox became silent and gazed for a long time at the little prince...
'I beg of you . . . tame me!' he said.
'Willingly,' the little prince replied, 'but I haven't got much time. I have friends to discover and a lot of things to understand’.
'One can only understand the things one tames,'said the fox 'Men have no more time to understand , anything. They buy ready-made things in the shops. But since there are no shops where you can buy friends, men no longer have any friends. If you want a friend, tame me!'
'What should I do?' asked the little prince.
'You must be very patient,' replied the fox. 'First you will sit down at a little distance from me, like that, in the grass. I shall watch you out of the corner of my eye and you will say nothing. Words are a source of misunderstandings. But every day, you can
sit a little closer to me . . . '

The next day, the little prince returned.
'You should have come back at the same time,' said the fox. 'If for example you come at four o'clock in the afternoon, I shall start feeling happy at three o'clock. As the time passes, I shall feel happier and happier. At four o'clock, I shall become agitated and start worrying; I shall discover the price of happiness. But if you come at just any time, I shall never know when I should prepare my heart to greet you. . . One must observe certain rites.'
'What is a rite?' asked the little prince.
'It is something which is all too often forgotten,’ said the fox.
'It is what makes one day different from other days, one hour different from other hours. For example, there is a rite among my hunters. On Thursdays they go dancing with the village girls. So Thursday is a marvelous day for' me. I can take a walk as far as the vineyards. But if the hunters were to go dancing just any day, every day would be like any other day for me and I would never have a holiday.'

Thus it was that the little prince tamed the fox.
And when the time came for his departure, the fox said: 'Oh! I shall cry.' .
'It is your own fault,' said the little prince. 'I wished you no harm but you wanted me to tame you.'
'Yes, indeed,' said the fox.
'But you are going to cry!' said the little prince.
. 'That is so,' said the fox.
'Then it has not helped you in any way!'
'It has helped me,' said the fox, 'because of the colour of the wheatfields.' "

1 comment:

jillytee said...

I think it's lovely,but sad too..