Friday, December 23, 2011

The Little Prince


After years of hearing about The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, I figured I better join the rest of the world and read this classic tale.  I won't spend too much time recapping, because I imagine I might be the last person on our planet to read this. I will say however that I very much enjoyed the artwork, that is integrated within the story and gives it such vivacity.
This story is billed as a kid's book, but I highly doubt one could get a book like this published these days, under the children's heading.  It is ripe with morals, ethics, and commentary on the world.  Particularly on grown ups. The sort of stuff you can't just come out and say to someone's face.  You are a control freak, for instance.  I think Saint-Exupery knew that sometimes the best way to get to an adult brain is to go through their inner child. 

There are of course plenty of lessons one could take away from the story and translate into their own life. I will focus on the one that spoke to me as key to the whole story (you can read it and decide for yourself which are most important).  Towards the end, the Little Prince and the narrator find a well of water and drink.  After all the other lessons the Little Prince learned and imparted it finally becomes clear in the cool water, what he, and in turn we, are doing with our lives.  He left his planet, his home, his known objects and his friend the flower, demanding as she was, because he was busy judging his life there and feeling unhappy about it.  In naivety, he figured he would find happiness elsewhere, where he didn't have those particular troubles.  While did not have those troubles, he found others, and he discovered that the world is full of crazy people.  It turns out that sometimes, what we have is good enough, if we can see past our egos and look at life the right way.  With love.

It's a rather Buddhist idea that this French pilot and storyteller had.  Life is suffering, but it is how we behave in and look at and treat the people and world around us that matters. 

Hanukah is here. Christmas is coming. Kwanzaa is unfolding.  And the New Year is right around the corner. What we have is good.  Let's not get so caught up in counting the stars this season that we forget to revel in their astounding beauty.  Thank you Little Prince, for the reminder.

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