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After he leaves his planet, the prince visits six other asteroids and has small adventures on each of them. All these encounters seem to teach him different things. Let’s run ’em all down:
On the first asteroid, he meets a king dressed in ermine. The king automatically thinks the little prince is a subject whom he rules over. (Sure he does. Isn’t that what all kings do?)
The king’s planet is so small, though, that he doesn’t rule over much else. (We’ll give him points for effort.)
The king claims that his realm is everything in the universe and that everything obeys him.
At first, the prince is amazed by what the king can do. If the prince could order whatever he wanted, he’d have sunsets all the time.
However, the king can’t order a sunset to happen right away. The prince realizes, then, that the king’s power isn’t all that. He only gives orders that will be obeyed anyway—for instance, he orders the sun to set at twenty to eight. Sometimes he has problems figuring out how to make his orders match the world around him.
Then, the prince decides he should get going; of course, as luck would have it, the king loves having a subject around and wants the prince to stay.
The king even promises to make the prince Minister of Justice, although the only individuals the prince would be able to judge are himself and a rat.
Not surprisingly, the prince turns down this offer.
Also not surprisingly, the king isn’t powerful enough to keep the prince from leaving.