The Little Prince
How we cite our quotes:
“Please—tame me!” he said.
“I want to very much,” the little prince replied. “But I have not much time. I have friends to discover, and a great many things to understand.”
“One only understands the things that one tames,” said the fox. “Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me…” (21.33-5)
Friendship is hard work! It takes time and effort to build trust and to really get to know someone. Do you agree with the fox that most adults have no time for friendship?
“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.” (21.52)
This moment is both sad and glorious. It’s sad because the prince is telling the flowers that they “are nothing.” They don’t know what taming is and haven’t experienced it. Without that knowledge or experience, they aren’t anything; they don’t stand out from the crowd. However, it’s also a glorious moment, because in it the prince is finally realizing how special his fox and his flower are because they are his friends.
“It is a good thing to have a friend, even if one is about to die. I, for instance, am very glad to have a fox as a friend…” (24.8)
The Little Prince just keeps on bringing the sad, doesn’t it? Here, the prince is facing the possibility of his own death. What makes that death even more piteous is that the prince is so “glad to have a fox as a friend.” He is less focused on the sadness of dying and more focused on the gladness of having a friend. But all of this just makes the sadness even sadder, doesn’t it?