Remembering The Little Prince
He was standing before a garden, all a-bloom with roses.
“Good morning,” said the roses.
The little prince gazed at them. They all looked like his flower.
“Who are you?” he demanded, thunderstruck.
“We are roses,” the roses said.
And he was overcome with sadness. His flower had told him that she was the only one of her kind in all the universe. And here were five thousand of them, all alike, in one single garden!
“She would be very much annoyed,” he said to himself, “if she should see that ... She would cough most dreadfully, and she would pretend that she was dying, to avoid being laughed at. And I should be obliged to pretend that I was nursing her back to life--for if I did not do that, to humble myself also, she would really allow herself to die...”
Then he went on with his reflections: “I thought that I was rich, with a flower that was unique in all the world; and all I had was a common rose. A common rose, and three volcanoes that come up to my knees--and one of them perhaps extinct forever... That doesn't make me a very great prince...”
And he lay down in the grass and cried.:
The little prince went away, to look again at the roses.
“You are not at all like my rose,” he said. “As yet you are nothing. No one has tamed you, and you have tamed no one. You are like my fox when I first knew him. He was only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But I have made him my friend, and now he is unique in all the world.”
And the roses were very much embarassed.
“You are beautiful, but you are empty,” he went on. “One could not die for you. To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you--the rose that belongs to me. But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered; because it is she that I have put under the glass globe; because it is she that I have sheltered behind the screen; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars (except the two or three that we saved to become butterflies); because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or ever sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is my rose.
And he went back to meet the fox.
“Goodbye,” he said.
“Goodbye,” said the fox. “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.”
“What is essential is invisible to the eye,” the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.
“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”
From Chapters 20 and 21 of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry
On average, men are expected to live ‘til age 70. That’s 25550 days total. If one meets just say 10 new people, on average, everyday, after 25k days one would have met over quarter of a million people. If you’re 35 years old now, that means you would have met around half of quarter of a million. Now, if someone asks you to list down all the names of all the people you’ve met from childhood to the present day, do you think it will be near the 125,000 mark? If I did that, I’m sure my list wouldn’t even reach a thousand.
Because the truth is, although we meet lots and lots of people everyday, only few of those meetings we put any degree of significance. And just like the Little Prince who meets a hedge of roses, glowing in beauty and radiance and all vying for his attention, his affection remained on one particularly obstinate, lowly rose, left behind in a far away place.
I feel like we are all Little Princes and Princesses moving from place to place, searching for knowledge, meeting lots of interesting and not so interesting people, experiencing various emotions, looking for home, searching for love, ... hopefully ... finding that unique rose.