Friday, October 18, 2019

"What is essential is invisible to the eye"

"The Little Prince on Asteroid B-612" - illustration and caption from the timeless tale
 Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a story about an extraterrestrial child
who fell to earth; first published in 1943.
"L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux." ("What is essential is invisible to the eye")

"All men have the stars," he answered, "but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travelers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems . For my businessman they were wealth. But all these stars are silent. You - you alone -will have the stars as no one else has them-"

"What are you trying to say?"

"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!"

And he laughed again.

"And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure... and your friends will be properly astonished to see you laughing as you look up at the sky! Then you will say to them, 'Yes, the stars always make me laugh!' And they will think you are crazy..."

- An excerpt from Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.* Full text in English can be found here; in French try here or here.


*Note on the life of Saint-Exupéry (sourced here):

"By the time his work was available in France, Saint-Exupéry had already been presumed dead for a year, and his death was every bit as mysterious and fascinating as his life. After making his way to Algiers and talking his way into the Free French Air Force, he was once more able to fly even though both his physical and mental health were questionable. On a 1944 reconnaissance mission, his plane disappeared, and he was never seen again. Whether he was shot down by an enemy or perhaps crashed the plane in a suicidal maneuver remains unclear. The author’s body was never recovered, and it wasn’t until 1998 that a clue to his fate was found in the form of his silver identity bracelet, which was discovered by a fisherman off the coast of Marseille in the Mediterranean. The remains of his plane were found there by a diver in 2000."

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