The Little Prince
How we cite our quotes:
But the shrub soon stopped growing, and began to get ready to produce a flower. The little prince, who was present at the first appearance of a huge bud, felt at once that some sort of miraculous apparition must emerge from it. (8.2)
The prince predicts the transformation that will take place when his shrub (a rosebush) gets ready to bloom. He expects that it will end up being a “miraculous apparition.”
Well, it both is and isn’t. The apparition ends up being his rose, which is a flower unlike any other. The flower is special to him. However, the flower doesn’t turn into a young lady, or a fairy, or a poodle. Instead, it changes into the best version of itself – a rose in full bloom – and that is enough to amaze the prince.
He was surprised by this absence of reproaches. He stood there all bewildered, the glass globe held arrested in mid-air. He did not understand this quiet sweetness.
“Of course I love you,” the flower said to him. “It is my fault that you have not known it all the while. That is of no importance. But you—you have been just as foolish as I. Try to be happy… Let the glass globe be. I don’t want it any more.” (9.9-10)
When the flower does a total 180 on the prince, he is completely confused. It’s not until she realizes the prince is leaving that she admits her love for him.
“Geographies,” said the geographer, “are the books which, of all books, are most concerned with matters of consequence. They never become old-fashioned. It is very rarely that a mountain changes its position. It is very rarely that an ocean empties itself of its waters. We write of eternal things.” (15.37)
The geographer is both right and wrong. It’s true that mountains are pretty much stuck where they are and that oceans generally have water in them. If you’ve ever tried to move a mountain, you’ll know where we’re coming from here. In any of our lifetimes, it’s extremely unlikely that we’d see something so tremendous and monumental change that much. Something like a mountain can be catalogued by a geographer and, a hundred years later, that mountain will most likely look exactly the same.
However, even mountains and stuff like them aren’t “eternal things.” Eventually, an ocean could empty. A mountain could move. What if a volcano explodes, for example, or an earthquake takes place? Can what the geographer describes really last forever, without changing at all?