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The Little Prince  
Author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Original title Le Petit Prince
Translator Katherine Woods, T.V.F. Cuffe, Irene Testot-Ferry, Alan Wakeman, Richard Howard
Illustrator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Cover artist Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Country France
Language French
Publisher Gallimard
Publication date 1943
Published in

The Little Prince (French: Le Petit Prince), published in 1943, is French aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's most famous novella. Saint-Exupéry wrote it while living in the United States. It has been translated into more than 180 languages and sold more than 80 million copies[1][2] making it one of the best selling books ever.

An earlier memoir by the author recounts his aviation experiences in the Saharan desert. He is thought to have drawn on these same experiences for use as plot elements in The Little Prince. Saint-Exupéry's novella has been adapted to various media over the decades, including stage, screen and operatic works.[3] [4]


Place of writing

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote The Little Prince in the United States, while renting The Bevin House in Asharoken, New York, on Long Island. Most versions of the novel include a number of illustrations drawn by Saint-Exupéry himself.

The Bevin House where The Little Prince was written


Though ostensibly a children's book, The Little Prince makes several profound and idealistic observations about life and human nature. For example, Saint-Exupéry tells of a fox meeting the young prince as he exits the Sahara desert. The story's essence is contained in the lines uttered by the fox to the little prince: "On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux." ("It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.") Other key thematic messages are articulated by the fox, such as: "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed" and "It is the time you have spent with your rose that makes your rose so important."


The little prince, drawn by Saint Exupéry himself, chapter II

The narrator's point of view is interwoven in the first nine chapters and changes from third person to first person. In the first eight days of the narrator being stranded in the desert, the prince has been telling these stories to the narrator.

The prince asks the narrator to draw a sheep. Not knowing how to draw a sheep, the narrator shows the prince a picture that he had previously drawn; a boa with an elephant in its stomach, a drawing which previous viewers mistook for a hat. "No! No!", exclaims the prince. "I don't want a boa constrictor from the inside or outside. I want a sheep!...". He tries a few sheep drawings, which the prince rejects. Finally he draws a box, which he explains has the sheep inside. The prince, who can see the sheep inside the box just as well as he can see the elephant in the boa, says "That's perfect".

The home asteroid or "planet" of the little prince is introduced. His asteroid (planet) is house-sized and named B612, which has three volcanoes (two active, and one dormant) and a rose among various other objects. The actual naming of the asteroid B612 is an important concept in the book that illustrates the fact that adults will only believe a scientist who is dressed or acts the same way as they do. According to the book, the asteroid was sighted by a Turkish astronomer in 1909 who had then made a formal demonstration of asteroid B612 to the International Astronomical Congress. "No one had believed him on account of the way he was dressed." Then, he and his people dressed like Europeans and went again to present asteroid B612 to the International Astronomical Congress and they fully believed him and this time credited him with the work.

The prince spends his days caring for his "planet", pulling out the baobab trees that are constantly trying to take root there. The trees will make his little planet turn to dust if they are not removed. Throughout the book he is taught to be patient and to do hard work to keep his "planet" in order. The prince falls in love with a rose that takes root in his planet, who returns his love but is unable to express it due to her own pettiness. He leaves to see what the rest of the universe is like, and visits six other asteroids (numbered from 325 to 330) each of which is inhabited by an adult who is foolish in his own way:

  • The King who can "control" the stars but only by ordering them to do what they would do anyway. He then relates this to his human subjects; it is the citizens' duty to obey, but only if the king's demands are reasonable. He orders the prince to leave as his ambassador.
  • The Conceited Man who wants to be admired by everyone, but lives alone on his planet. He cannot hear anything that is not a compliment.
  • The Drunkard/Tippler who drinks to forget that he is ashamed of drinking.
The Businessman, chapter 13
  • The Businessman who is constantly busy counting the stars he thinks he owns. He wishes to use them to buy more stars. The prince then goes on to define property. The prince owns the flower and volcanoes on his planet because he cares for them and they care for him, but because one cannot maintain the stars or be of use to them, he argues, the Businessman cannot own them.
  • The Lamplighter who lives on an asteroid which rotates once a minute. Long ago, he was charged with the task of lighting the lamp at night and extinguishing it in the morning. At that point, the asteroid revolved at a reasonable rate, and he had time to rest. As time went on, the rotation sped up. Refusing to turn his back on his work, he now lights and extinguishes the lamp once a minute, getting no rest. The prince empathizes with the Lamplighter, the only adult he has met who cares about something other than himself.
  • The Geographer who spends all of his time making maps, but never leaves his desk to examine anywhere (even his own planet), considering that is the job of an explorer. The Geographer is in any case very doubting of any explorer's character and would most likely disregard the report. He does not trust things he has not seen with his own eyes, yet will not leave his desk. Out of professional interest, the geographer asks the prince to describe his asteroid. The prince describes the volcanoes and the rose. "We don't record flowers", says the geographer, "because they are only ephemeral". The prince is shocked and hurt to learn that his flower will someday be gone. The geographer then recommends that he visit the Earth.

The visit to Earth

Chapter 16 begins: "So then the seventh planet was the Earth". On the Earth, he starts out in the desert and meets a snake that claims to have the power to return him to his home planet (A clever way to say that he can kill people, thus "Sending anyone he wishes back to the land from whence he came.") The prince meets a desert-flower, who, having seen a caravan pass by, tells him that there are only a handful of men on Earth and that they have no roots, which lets the wind blow them around making life hard on them. The little prince climbs the highest mountain he has ever seen. From the top of the mountain, he hopes he will see the whole planet and find people, but he sees only a desolate, craggy landscape. When the prince calls out, his echo answers him, and he mistakes it for the voices of humans. He thinks Earth is unnecessarily sharp and hard, and he finds it odd that the people of Earth only repeat what he says to them.

Eventually, the prince comes upon a whole row of rosebushes, and is downcast because he thought that his rose was the only one in the whole universe. He begins to feel that he is not a great prince at all, as his planet contains only three tiny volcanoes and a flower he now thinks of as common. He lies down in the grass and weeps.

Chapter 21: is the author's statement about human love in that the prince then meets and tames a fox, who explains to the prince that his rose is unique and special, because she is the one that he loves. He also explains that in a way he has tamed the flower, as she has tamed him, and that this is why he now feels responsible for her.

Chapter 22–23: The prince then meets a railway switchman and a merchant who provide further comments on the ridiculousness and absurdity of much of the human condition. The switchman tells the prince how passengers constantly rush from one place to another aboard trains, never satisfied with where they are and not knowing what they are after, only the children amongst them bothering to look out of the windows. The merchant tells the prince about his product, a pill which eliminates thirst and is therefore very popular, saving people fifty-three minutes a week; the prince replies that he would use the time to walk and find fresh water.

Chapter 24: the narrator's point of view changes again from third person to first person. The narrator is dying of thirst, but then he and the prince find a well. After some thought, the prince bids an emotional farewell to the narrator, explaining to him that while it will look as though he has died, he has not, but rather that his body is too heavy to take with him to his planet. He tells the narrator that it was wrong of the narrator to come and watch, as it will make him sad. The prince allows the snake to bite him and the next morning, when the narrator looks for the prince, he finds the boy's body has disappeared. The story ends with a portrait of the landscape where the meeting of the prince and the narrator took place and where the snake took the prince's life. The picture is deliberately vague but the narrator also makes a plea that anyone encountering a strange child in that area who refuses to answer questions should contact the narrator immediately.

The little prince is represented as having been on Earth for one year, and the narrator ends the story six years after he is rescued from the desert.


In The Little Prince, Saint-Exupéry talks about being stranded in the desert beside a crashed aircraft. This account clearly draws on his own experience in the Sahara, an ordeal he described in detail in his book Wind, Sand and Stars.

On December 30, 1935 at 14:45, after 18 hours and 36 minutes in the air, Saint-Exupéry, along with his navigator André Prévot, crashed in the Libyan Sahara desert. They were attempting to break the record for the Paris-to-Saigon flight and win a prize of 150,000 francs. Their plane was a Caudron C-600 Simoun n° 7042 (serial F-ANRY). The crash site is thought to have been located in the Wadi Natrum. Both survived the crash, only to face rapid dehydration. Their maps were primitive and ambiguous. Lost in the desert with a few grapes, a single orange, and some wine, the pair had only one day's worth of liquid. After the first day, they had nothing. They both began to see mirages, which were quickly followed by more vivid hallucinations. Between the second and the third day, they were so dehydrated that they stopped sweating altogether. Finally, on the fourth day, a Bedouin on a camel discovered them and administered a native rehydration treatment that saved Saint-Exupéry and Prévot's lives.

In the desert, Saint-Exupéry had met a fennec (desert sand fox), which most likely inspired him to create the fox character in the book. In a letter written to his sister Didi from Cape Juby in 1918, he tells her about raising a fennec that he adored.

Patachou, Petit Garçon, by Tristan Derème, is another probable influence for The Little Prince.[citation needed]

Antoine may have drawn inspiration for the little prince's appearance from himself as a youth. Friends and family would call him "le Roi-Soleil" ("Sun King"), due to his golden curly hair.

The little prince's reassurance to the Pilot that his dying body is only an empty shell resembles the last words of Antoine's younger brother François: "Don't worry. I'm all right. I can't help it. It's my body" (Airman's Odyssey).


Translations exist in many languages. It is often used as a beginner's book for French language students.

Katherine Woods' classic English version (1943) was later joined by other English translations, as her original version was shown to have several mistakes.[5][6] As of 2009, four such additional translations[7] have been published:

  • T.V.F. Cuffe (ISBN 0-14-118562-7, 1st ed. 1995)
  • Irene Testot-Ferry (ISBN 0-7567-5189-6, 1st ed. 1995)
  • Alan Wakeman (ISBN 1-86205-066-X, 1st ed. 1995)
  • Richard Howard (ISBN 0-15-204804-9, 1st ed. 2000)

Each of these translators approach the essence of the original, each with his own style and focus.[8][9]

Since its publication the book has been translated into over 180 languages, including Congolese and Sardinian. In 2005, the book was translated into Toba, an indigenous language of northern Argentina, as So Shiyaxauolec Nta'a. It was the first book translated into this language since the New Testament Bible. Anthropologist Florence Tola commenting on the suitability of the work for Toban translation said there was "nothing strange [in that] the Little Prince speaks with a snake or a fox and travel[s] among the stars, it fits perfectly to the Toba mythology."[10] The book is one of few modern books to be translated into Latin, as Regulus Vel Pueri Soli Sapiunt.[11][12]


In 1997, Jean-Pierre Davidts wrote what could be considered a sequel to The Little Prince, entitled Le petit prince retrouvé[13] (The Little Prince Returns). In this version, the narrator is a shipwrecked man who encounters the little prince on a lone island; the prince has returned to find help against a tiger who threatens his sheep.[14]

Another sequel titled The Return of the Little Prince was written by former actress Ysatis de Saint-Simone, niece of Consuelo de Saint Exupery.[15]

In spring 2007, "Les nouvelles aventures du petit prince" (The New Adventures of the Little Prince), was written by Katherine Pardue and Elisabeth Mitchell. It documents the search of a new flower for the little prince, because the sheep had eaten his rose.



In 2003, a small asteroid moon, Petit-Prince (discovered in 1998), was named after The Little Prince. An asteroid discovered in 1993, 46610 Bésixdouze, which is French for "B six twelve", is a reference to the work. The asteroid's number, 46610, when converted from decimal to hexadecimal notation, is B612. B612 was the name of the asteroid the little prince lived on. A 1975 asteroid discovery, 2578 Saint-Exupéry, was named after the author of The Little Prince.

Museums and numismatics

There is The Museum of The Little Prince in Hakone, Japan, featuring outdoor squares and sculptures like the B 612 Asteroid, the Lamplighter Square, and a sculpture of the little prince. In the grounds, there is a large Little Prince Park: The Consuelo Rose Garden. But the main part of the museum is its indoor exhibition. Before France adopted the Euro as its currency, Saint-Exupéry and the little prince were on her 50 Franc banknote; the artwork was by Swiss designer Roger Pfund. Among the anticounterfeiting measures on the banknote was micro-printed text from Le Petit Prince, visible with a strong magnifying glass.[16]

In Gyeonggi-do, Korea, there is a French village (Petite France) that has adapted the story into the architecture and monuments. There are many sculptures of the characters, and it offers overnight housing in some of the French-style homes. Some exhibits feature the history of the Little Prince, and a chicken art gallery. A small amphitheatre is situated in the middle of the village for musicians and other performances. Visitors can also see where a famous Korean drama (Beethoven Virus) used a room as Kang Ma-Eh's office.[17][18]

The original autographed manuscript of The Little Prince is held by the Pierpont Morgan Library in Manhattan. The piece includes content that was struck through and therefore not published as part of the first edition. In addition to the manuscript, several watercolour illustrations by the author are held. They were not part of the first edition.


Saint-Exupéry's novella has been adapted to various media over the decades. Richard Burton narrated a Grammy Award winning recording in 1974 and, in 2002, composer Riccardo Cocciante produced a French-language musical Le Petit Prince, which was later revived in Hong Kong, 2007.[19][20] Russian operatic composer Lev Knipper wrote a 3-part symphony in 1962–71, his skazka (‘tale’) entitled Malen′kiy prints (‘The Little Prince’), which was first performed in Moscow in 1978.[21] In film and television, Loewe and lyricist Lerner, together with director Stanley Donen, produced a film musical based on the story for Paramount Pictures in 1974, and, during the 1980s, The Adventures of the Little Prince, a Japanese anime series, was televised in Japan and North America.[22][23][24]


  1. ^ "". 
  2. ^ Bell, Susan. "I shot French literary hero out of the sky". The Scotsman. Johnston Press Digital Publishing. 17 March, 2008. Accessed 4 August, 2009.
  3. ^ Naina Dey (2010-01-14). "Cult of subtle satire". The Statesman. Retrieved 2010-02-05. 
  4. ^ MTG editorial (2010-02-05). "World Classic for all ages". Retrieved 2010-02-12. 
  5. ^ "List of errors in Woods' translation by 1995 translator Alan Wakeman". 
  6. ^ "Some mistakes in the translation by Katherine Woods". 
  7. ^ "List of the foreign editions of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry". 
  8. ^ "Comparing translations: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.". 
  9. ^ Translations of The Little Prince, with excerpts from Woods', Testot-Ferry's, and Howard's translation.
  10. ^ Legrand, Christine, "Quand Le Petit Prince devient So Shiyaxauolec Nta'a ("When The Little Prince becomes So Shiyaxauolec Nta'a"), Le Monde, p1. April 06 2005. (French)
  11. ^ Hinke, C.J. "Quand. "Study the Latin, I pray you", Whole Earth Review, p109. April 06, 2005. No. N63. ISSN 0749-5056
  12. ^ Live In Any Language It's a Bestseller, Los Angeles Times, September 29, 1993. Retrieved July 21, 2009
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Le Petit Prince retrouvé". 
  15. ^ "My Quest for the True Holy Grail (the Nanteos Cup) by Ysatis De Saint-Simone". 
  16. ^ Banknotes of France: French Banknotes – Modern Notes, Dave Mills and Madison; Banknotes of France, 2009. Retrieved July 21, 2009
  17. ^ "Beethoven Virus: Filming Locations". Korea Tourism Organization (official site). Accessed December 13, 2009.
  18. ^ "Gyeonggi-do – Gapyeong-gun – Petite France". Korea Tourism Organization (official site). Accessed December 13, 2009.
  19. ^ "Grammy Award Winners" In The Recording Academy. Accessed August 4, 2009.
  20. ^ "Le Petit Prince Spectacle Musical" Music Nation Group. Accessed August 4, 2009.
  21. ^ Dvoskina, Yelena. "Knipper, Lev Konstantinovich." In Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online, Oxford University Press. Accessed August 4, 2009.
  22. ^ Block, Geoffrey. "Loewe, Frederick." In Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online, Oxford University Press. Accessed August 4, 2009.
  23. ^ Winn, Steven. "Little Prince' opera comes to Berkeley" San Francisco Chronicle. April 27, 2008. p.N–20. Accessed August 4, 2009.
  24. ^ Collins, Glen. "From Kubrick To Saint-Exupery." New York Times. April 14, 1985. p.30. Accessed August 4, 2009.

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Here is my secret. It is very simple. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; What is essential is invisible to the eye.

Le Petit Prince (1943) is a novel by Antoine de Saint Exupéry, translated into English as The Little Prince.

  • Les grandes personnes ne comprennent jamais rien toutes seules, et c'est fatigant, pour les enfants, de toujours et toujours leur donner des explications.
    • Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.
      • Chapter I
  • Dessine-moi un mouton!
    • Draw me a sheep!
      • Chapter II
  • Quand on veut un mouton, c'est la preuve qu'on existe.
    • If somebody wants a sheep, that is a proof that he exists.
      • Chapter IV
  • Quand on a terminé sa toilette du matin, il faut faire soigneusement la toilette de la planète.
    • When you've finished getting yourself ready in the morning, you must go get the planet ready.
      • Chapter V
  • J'aime bien les couchers de soleil. Allons voir un coucher de soleil...
    • I am very fond of sunsets. Come, let us go look at a sunset...
      • Chapter VI
  • J'aurais dû ne pas l'écouter, me confia-t-il un jour, il ne faut jamais écouter les fleurs. Il faut les regarder et les respirer.
    • "I should never have listened to her," he confided to me one day, "One should never listen to the flowers. One should simply look at them and breathe their fragrance."
      • Chapter VIII
  • On ne sait jamais!
    • "One never knows!"
      • Chapter IX
  • "One must command from each what each can perform, the king went on. "Authority is based first of all upon reason. If you command your subjects to jump into the ocean, there will be a revolution. I am entitled to command obedience because my orders are reasonable."
    " Then my sunset?" insisted the little prince, who never let go of a question once he had asked it.
    "You shall have your sunset. I shall command it. But I shall wait, according to my science of government, until conditions are favorable."
    • Chapter X
  • C'est véritablement utile puisque c'est joli.
    • It is truly useful since it is beautiful.
      • Chapter XIV
  • "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.
    • Chapter XVII
  • Le langage est source de malentendus.
    • Language is the source of misunderstandings.
      • Chapter XXI
  • Voici mon secret. Il est très simple: on ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.
    • Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
    • Variants: "Here is my secret. It is very simple: one sees well only with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eyes."
      "The essential things in life are seen not with the eyes, but with the heart."
      "One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes."
      • Chapter XXI
  • Vous êtes belles, mais vous êtes vides.... On ne peut pas mourir pour vous.
    • You're beautiful, but you're empty.... No one could die for you.
    • Variant: You are beautiful, but you are empty. One could not die for you.
      • Chapter XXI
  • Les hommes ont oublié cette vérité, dit le renard. Mais tu ne dois pas l’oublier. Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé.
    • "Men have forgotten this truth," said the fox. "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed."
      • Chapter XXI
  • Les enfants seuls savent ce qu'ils cherchent.
    • Only children know what they are looking for.
      • Chapter XXII
  • Ce qui embellit le désert, dit le petit prince, c'est qu'il cache un puits quelque part...
    • "What makes the desert beautiful," says the little prince, "is that somewhere it hides a well."
      • Chapter XXIV
  • Mais les yeux sont aveugles. Il faut chercher avec le cœur.
    • But the eyes are blind. One must look with the heart...
      • Chapter XXV
  • "Were you so sad, then?" I asked, "on the day of the forty-four sunsets?"
    But the little prince made no reply.

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

The Little Prince

Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiversity

Back to Topic:Novial.

Some members the Yahoo! Novial Discussion group have decided to collaborate on the translation of "Le Petit Prince".

A link to the Yahoo! Novial Discussion Group: [1]

We shall post pages here containing proposed translations and shall use the corresponding discussion pages to discuss them.

This page at has links to the original French story and translations into English, German, Russian, Spanish and Interlingua: [2]

If you have a translation to add to the below, please create a new page preceded by your name as seen below. The name of the page can be "ChapterNumber_YourName".

For example, my translation of chapter 20 is on a page called "20_Nov_ialiste" and so on.

Chapter Numbers


Valodnieks: Dedication_Valodnieks

Nov_ialiste: Dedication_Nov_ialiste


Valodnieks: 1_Valodnieks

Nov_ialiste: 1_Nov_ialiste


Nov_ialiste: 2_Nov_ialiste



















Nov ialiste: 20_Nov_ialiste









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