In 1945 a Frenchman with the imposing name of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (don't forget the forward-slanted apostrophe on the last 'e') wrote a delicious little book and called it 'Le Petit Prince' - The Little Prince.
If you have not read this book yet, I envy you. Because reading it for the first time is like falling through the sky, expecting for a little while that you will crash-land; but the writer soon hands you the wings of his imagination which is constructed by his tender ironic approach to life and to people. You begin to fly. And you even travel in space beyond the stars that are known by scientists. The narrative rings true and it makes you wise without knowing why. The very act of reading the uncanny (eldritch) simple little story makes you feel special, privileged, and sad beyond understanding. At the very end of the book you are sadly happy, knowing that all will work out for the best in life - all life, your life - no matter what happens along the way. Because life is about learning your own special lessons; and who knows what really happens in the end …?
You first get to know the narrator of the story by looking at the picture he drew of a picture of a boa constrictor swallowing some kind of animal. By studying the drawing you see that a weird-looking animal stares with an expression of surprise and indignation down the throat of a nasty-looking snake that is about to swallow it. The picture is very simple and straight forward. And then you smile, because it is also funny. You'd also noticed the drawing of something at the bottom of the page, and now you glance at it and it looks like a lopsided hat. But you're not sure. So you read on, and you magically become the narrator of the story because you know exactly what he means about grown-ups, even if you are a grown-up yourself. On the next page there is a drawing of the inside of what you sort-of thought was a hat. You can now clearly make out an elephant inside the framework of the hat. And you realize that the narrator, who is illustrating how stupid grown-ups are, more so because they tend to think that they know and understand everything, has put his finger on the exact place where you are hurting inside - you've always been misunderstood. It is also very comforting and reassuring to blame 'stupid grown-ups'.
As the little prince's story unfolds, you learn many lessons. It also doesn't matter that you’d only read this wonderful book for the first time when you were a grown-up yourself. Because it connects with the child in you.
If truth be known, I’d have to admit that I learn a new special lesson every time I re-read the book. The one I remember best and out of hand, is where the little prince said, oh so sadly, that he should have known better than to act in anger and doubt because his flower threatened to sting him with her thorns. I looked it up again and here is the reason why it made such an impression on me – the prince told the pilot he met in the desert – which is also the narrator in the story: “The fact is that I did not know how to understand anything! I ought to have judged by deeds and not by words. … I ought to have guessed all the affection that lay behind her poor little stratagems". The Little Prince, P.32, 1974. Pan Books Ltd in association with William Heinemann Ltd. Translation by Katharine Woods. Abstract by WillaLinström.