فصل 04

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فصل 04

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  • زمان مطالعه 5 دقیقه
  • سطح متوسط

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Chapter four

That was how I had learned a second very important thing, which was that the planet he came from was hardly bigger than a house!

That couldn’t surprise me much. I knew very well that except for the huge planets like Earth, Jupiter, Mars, and Venus, which have been given names, there are hundreds of others that are sometimes so small that it’s very difficult to see them through a telescope. When an astronomer discovers one of them, he gives it a number instead of a name. For instance, he would call it “Asteroid 325.”

I have serious reasons to believe that the planet the little prince came from is Asteroid B-612.

This asteroid has been sighted only once by telescope, in 1909 by a Turkish astronomer, who had then made a formal demonstration of his discovery at an International Astronomical Congress. But no one had believed him on account of the way he was dressed. Grown-ups are like that.

Fortunately for the reputation of Asteroid B-612, a Turkish dictator ordered his people, on pain of death, to wear European clothes. The astronomer repeated his demonstration in 1920, wearing a very elegant suit. And this time everyone believed him.

If I’ve told you these details about Asteroid B-612 and if I’ve given you its number, it is on account of the grown-ups. Grown-ups like numbers. When you tell them about a new friend, they never ask questions about what really matters. They never ask: “What does his voice sound like?”

“What games does he like best?”

“Does he collect butterflies?” They ask: “How old is he?”

“How many brothers does he have?”

“How much does he weigh?”

“How much money does his father make?” Only then do they think they know him. If you tell grown-ups, “I saw a beautiful red brick house, with geraniums at the windows and doves on the roof…” they won’t be able to imagine such a house. You have to tell them, “I saw a house worth a hundred thousand francs.” Then they exclaim, “What a pretty house!”

So if you tell them: “The proof of the little prince’s existence is that he was delightful, that he laughed, and that he wanted a sheep. When someone wants a sheep, that proves he exists,” they shrug their shoulders and treat you like a child!

But if you tell them: “The planet he came from is Asteroid B-612,” then they’ll be convinced, and they won’t bother you with their questions. That’s the way they are. You must not hold it against them. Children should be very understanding of grown-ups.

But, of course, those of us who understand life couldn’t care less about numbers! I should have liked to begin this story like a fairytale. 1 should have liked to say: “Once upon a time there was a little prince who lived on a planet hardly any bigger than he was, and who needed a friend…” For those who understand life, that would sound much truer.

The fact is, I don’t want my book to be taken lightly. Telling these memories is so painful for me. It’s already been six years since my friend went away, taking his sheep with him. I try to describe him here, so I won’t forget him. It’s sad to forget a friend. Not everyone has had a friend. And I might become like the grown-ups who are no longer interested in anything but numbers. Which is still another reason why I’ve bought a box of paints and some pencils. It’s hard to go back to drawing, at my age, when you’ve never made any attempts since the one of a boa from inside and the one of a boa from outside, at the age of six!

I’ll certainly try to make my portraits as true to life as possible. But I’m not entirely sure of succeeding. One drawing works, and the next no longer bears any resemblance. And I’m a little off on his height, too. In this one the little prince is too tall. And here is too short. And I’m uncertain about the color of his suit. So I grope in one direction and another, as best I can. In the end, I’m sure to get certain more important details all wrong. But here you’ll have to forgive me. My friend never explained anything. Perhaps he thought I was like himself. But I, unfortunately, cannot see a sheep through the sides of a crate. I may be a little like the grown-ups. I must have grown old.

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