So then the seventh planet was the Earth.
The Earth is not just an ordinary planet!
One can count, there 111 kings (not forgetting, to be sure, the Negro kings among them), 7000
geographers, 900,000 businessmen, 7,500,000 tipplers, 311,000,000 conceited men, that is to say,
about 2,000,000,000 grown-ups.
To give you an idea of the size of the Earth, I will tell you that before the invention of electricity it
was necessary to maintain, over the whole of the six continents, a veritable army of 462,511
lamplighters for the street lamps. Seen from a slight distance, that would make a splendid
The movements of this army would be regulated like those of the ballet in the opera. First would
come the turn of the lamplighters of New Zealand and Australia. Having set their lamps alight,
these would go off to sleep. Next, the lamplighters of China and Siberia would enter for their steps
in the dance, and then they too would be waved back into the wings. After that would come the
turn of the lamplighters of Russia and the Indies; then those of Africa and Europe, then those of
South America; then those of North America. And never would they make a mistake in the order
of their entry upon the stage. It would be magnificent.
Only the man who was in charge of the single lamp at the North Pole, and his colleague who was
responsible for the single lamp at the South Pole, only these two would live free from toil and
care: they would be busy twice a year.
When one wishes to play the wit, he sometimes wanders a little from the truth.
I have not been altogether honest in what I have told you about the lamplighters. And I realise
that I run the risk of giving a false idea of our planet to those who do not know it.
Men occupy a very small place upon the Earth. If the two billion inhabitants who people its
surface were all to stand upright and somewhat crowded together, as they do for some big public
assembly, they could easily be put into one public square twenty miles long and twenty miles wide.
All humanity could be piled up on a small Pacific islet.
The grown-ups, to be sure, will not believe you when you tell them that. They imagine that they fill
a great deal of space. They fancy themselves as important as the baobabs. You should advise
them, then, to make their own calculations. They adore figures, and that will please them. But do
not waste your time on this extra task. It is unnecessary. You have, I know, confidence in me.
When the little prince arrived on the Earth, he was very much surprised not to see any people. He
was beginning to be afraid he had come to the wrong planet, when a coil of gold, the colour of the
moonlight, flashed across the sand.
“Good evening,” said the little prince courteously.
“Good evening,” said the snake.
“What planet is this on which I have come down?” asked the little prince.
“This is the Earth; this is Africa,” the snake answered.
“Ah! Then there are no people on the Earth?”
“This is the desert. There are no people in the desert. The Earth is large,” said the snake.
The little prince sat down on a stone, and raised his eyes toward the sky.
“I wonder,” he said, “whether the stars are set alight in heaven so that one day each one of us
may find his own again... Look at my planet. It is right there above us. But how far away it is!”
“It is beautiful,” the snake said. “What has brought you here?”
“I have been having some trouble with a flower,” said the little prince. “Ah!” said the snake. And
they were both silent.
“Where are the men?” the little prince at last took up the conversation again. “It is a little lonely
in the desert...”
“It is also lonely among men,” the snake said. The little prince gazed at him for a long time.
“You are a funny animal,” he said at last. “You are no thicker than a finger...”
“But I am more powerful than the finger of a king,” said the snake.
The little prince smiled. “You are not very powerful. You haven’t even any feet. You cannot even
“I can carry you farther than any ship could take you,” said the snake. He twined himself around
the little prince’s ankle, like a golden bracelet.
“Whomever I touch, I send back to the earth from whence he came,” the snake spoke again. “But
you are innocent and true, and you come from a star...”
The little prince made no reply. “You move me to pity, you are so weak on this Earth made of
granite,” the snake said. “I can help you, some day, if you grow too homesick for your own planet.
“Oh! I understand you very well,” said the little prince. “But why do you always speak in
“I solve them all,” said the snake. And they were both silent.
The little prince crossed the desert and met with only one flower.
It was a flower with three petals, a flower of no account at all.
“Good morning,” said the little prince.
“Good morning,” said the flower.
“Where are the men?” the little prince asked, politely. The flower had once seen a caravan
“Men?” she echoed. “I think there are six or seven of them in existence. I saw them, several
years ago. But one never knows where to find them. The wind blows them away. They have no
roots, and that makes their life very difficult.”
“Goodbye,” said the little prince.
“Goodbye,” said the flower.
After that, the little prince climbed a high mountain. The only mountains he had ever known were
the three volcanoes, which came up to his knees. And he used the extinct volcano as a footstool.
“From a mountain as high as this one,” he said to himself, “I shall be able to see the whole planet
at one glance, and all the people...” But he saw nothing, save peaks of rock that were sharpened
“Good morning,” he said courteously.
“Good morning...Good morning...Good morning,” answered the echo.
“Who are you?” said the little prince.
“Who are you...Who are you...Who are you?” answered the echo.
“Be my friends. I am all alone,” he said.
“I am all alone...all alone...all alone,” answered the echo.
“What a queer planet!” he thought. “It is altogether dry, and altogether pointed, and altogether
harsh and forbidding. And the people have no imagination. They repeat whatever one says to
them... On my planet I had a flower; she always was the first to speak...”
But it happened that after walking for a long time through sand, and rocks, and snow, the little
prince at last came upon a road. And all roads lead to the abodes of men.
“Good morning,” he said. He was standing before a garden, all a-bloom with roses.
“Good morning,” said the roses.
The little prince gazed at them. They all looked like his flower.
“Who are you?” he demanded, thunderstruck.
“We are roses,” the roses said. And he was overcome with sadness. His flower had told him that
she was the only one of her kind in all the universe. And here were five thousand of them, all
alike, in one single garden!
“She would be very much annoyed,” he said to himself, “if she should see that... she would cough
most dreadfully, and she would pretend that she was dying, to avoid being laughed at. And I
should be obliged to pretend that I was nursing her back to life, for if I did not do that, to humble
myself also, she would really allow herself to die...”
Then he went on with his reflections: “I thought that I was rich, with a flower that was unique in all
the world; and all I had was a common rose. A common rose, and three volcanoes that come up to
my knees— and one of them perhaps extinct forever... that doesn’t make me a very great
prince...” And he lay down in the grass and cried.
It was then that the fox appeared.
“Good morning,” said the fox.
“Good morning,” the little prince responded politely, although when he turned around he saw
“I am right here,” the voice said, “under the apple tree.” “
Who are you?” asked the little prince, and added, “You are very pretty to look at.”
“I am a fox,” said the fox.
“Come and play with me,” proposed the little prince.
“I am so unhappy.” “I cannot play with you,” the fox said. “I am not tamed.”
“Ah! Please excuse me,” said the little prince. But, after some thought, he added: “What does
that mean, ‘tame’?”
“You do not live here,” said the fox. “What is it that you are looking for?”
“I am looking for men,” said the little prince. “What does that mean, ‘tame’?”
“Men,” said the fox. “They have guns, and they hunt. It is very disturbing. They also raise
chickens. These are their only interests. Are you looking for chickens?”
“No,” said the little prince. “I am looking for friends. What does that mean, ‘tame’?”
“It is an act too often neglected,” said the fox. It means to establish ties.”
“‘To establish ties’?”
“Just that,” said the fox. “To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a
hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no
need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you
tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall
be unique in all the world...”
“I am beginning to understand,” said the little prince. “There is a flower... I think that she has
“It is possible,” said the fox. “On the Earth one sees all sorts of things.”
“Oh, but this is not on the Earth!” said the little prince. The fox seemed perplexed, and very
“On another planet?”
“Are there hunters on this planet?”
“Ah, that is interesting! Are there chickens?”
“Nothing is perfect,” sighed the fox. But he came back to his idea. “My life is very monotonous,”
the fox said. “I hunt chickens; men hunt me. All the chickens are just alike, and all the men are
just alike. And, in consequence, I am a little bored. But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun
came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others.
Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of
my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of
no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that
is the colour of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which
is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the
wheat...” The fox gazed at the little prince, for a long time. “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
“What must I do, to tame you?” asked the little prince.
“You must be very patient,” replied the fox. “First you will sit down at a little distance from me,
like that, in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing.
Words are the source of misunderstandings. But you will sit a little closer to me, every day...”
The next day the little prince came back.
“It would have been better to come back at the same hour,” said the fox. “If, for example, you
come at four o’clock in the afternoon, then at three o’clock I shall begin to be happy. I shall feel
happier and happier as the hour advances. At four o’clock, I shall already be worrying and
jumping about. I shall show you how happy I am! But if you come at just any time, I shall never
know at what hour my heart is to be ready to greet you... One must observe the proper rites...”
“What is a rite?” asked the little prince.
“Those also are actions too often neglected,” said the fox. “They are what make one day
different from other days, one hour from other hours. There is a rite, for example, among my
hunters. Every Thursday they dance with the village girls. So Thursday is a wonderful day for me!
I can take a walk as far as the vineyards. But if the hunters danced at just any time, every day
would be like every other day, and I should never have any vacation at all.”
So the little prince tamed the fox. And when the hour of his departure drew near...
“Ah,” said the fox, “I shall cry.”
“It is your own fault,” said the little prince. “I never wished you any sort of harm; but you wanted
me to tame you...”
“Yes, that is so,” said the fox.
“But now you are going to cry!” said the little prince.
“Yes, that is so,” said the fox.
“Then it has done you no good at all!”
“It has done me good,” said the fox, “because of the colour of the wheat fields.” And then he
added: “Go and look again at the roses. You will understand now that yours is unique in all the
world. Then come back to say goodbye to me, and I will make you a present of a secret.”
The little prince went away, to look again at the roses. “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.” And the roses were very much embarrassed.
“You are beautiful, but you are empty,” he went on. “One could not die for you. To be sure, an
ordinary passer-by would think that my rose looked just like you, the rose that belongs to me. But
in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she
that I have watered; because it is she that I have put under the glass globe; because it is she that
I have sheltered behind the screen; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars (except
the two or three that we saved to become butterflies); because it is she that I have listened to,
when she grumbled, or boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is my
And he went back to meet the fox. “Goodbye,” he said.
“Goodbye,” said the fox. “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the
heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
“What is essential is invisible to the eye,” the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to
“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”
“It is the time I have wasted for my rose...” said the little prince, so that he would be sure to
“Men have forgotten this truth,” said the fox. “But you must not forget it. You become
responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose...”
“I am responsible for my rose,” the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.
“Good morning,” said the little prince.
“Good morning,” said the railway switchman.
“What do you do here?” the little prince asked.
“I sort out travellers, in bundles of a thousand,” said the switchman. “I send off the trains that
carry them; now to the right, now to the left.” And a brilliantly lighted express train shook the
switchman’s cabin as it rushed by with a roar like thunder.
“They are in a great hurry,” said the little prince. “What are they looking for?”
“Not even the locomotive engineer knows that,” said the switchman. And a second brilliantly
lighted express thundered by, in the opposite direction.
“Are they coming back already?” demanded the little prince. “These are not the same ones,” said
the switchman. “It is an exchange.”
“Were they not satisfied where they were?” asked the little prince.
“No one is ever satisfied where he is,” said the switchman. And they heard the roaring thunder of
a third brilliantly lighted express.
“Are they pursuing the first travellers?” demanded the little prince.
“They are pursuing nothing at all,” said the switchman. “They are asleep in there, or if they are
not asleep they are yawning. Only the children are flattening their noses against the
“Only the children know what they are looking for,” said the little prince.
“They waste their time over a rag doll and it becomes very important to them; and if anybody
takes it away from them, they cry...” “They are lucky,” the switchman said.
“Good morning,” said the little prince.
“Good morning,” said the merchant.
This was a merchant who sold pills that had been invented to quench thirst. You need only swallow
one pill a week, and you would feel no need of anything to drink.
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