فصل 07

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فصل 07

توضیح مختصر

  • زمان مطالعه 5 دقیقه
  • سطح ساده

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Chapter seven

On the fifth day, thanks again to the sheep, another secret of the little prince’s life was revealed to me. Abruptly, with no preamble, he asked me, as if it were the fruit of a problem long pondered in silence: “If a sheep eats bushes, does it eat flowers, too?”

“A sheep eats whatever it finds.”

“Even flowers that have thorns?”

“Yes. Even flowers that have thorns.”

“Then what good are thorns?”

I didn’t know. At that moment I was very busy trying to unscrew a bolt that was jammed in my engine. I was quite worried, for my plane crash was beginning to seem extremely serious, and the lack of drinking water made me fear the worst.

“What good are thorns?”

The little prince never let go of a question once he had asked it. I was annoyed by my jammed bolt, and I answered without thinking.

“Thorns are no good for anything - they’re just the flowers’ way of being mean!”

“Oh!” But after a silence, he lashed out at me, with a sort of bitterness.

“I don’t believe you! Flowers are weak. They’re naive. They reassure themselves whatever way they can. They believe their thorns make them frightening…”

I made no answer. At that moment I was thinking, “If this bolt stays jammed, I’ll knock it off with the hammer.” Again the little prince disturbed my reflections.

“Then you think flowers…”

“No, not at all. I don’t think anything! I just said whatever came into my head. I’m busy here with something serious!”

He stared at me, astounded.

“Something serious!”

He saw me holding my hammer, my fingers black with grease, bending over an object he regarded as very ugly.

“You talk like the grown-ups!”

That made me a little ashamed. But he added, mercilessly:

“You confuse everything…” You’ve got it all mixed up!” He was really very annoyed. He tossed his golden curls in the wind. “I know a planet inhabited by a red-faced gentleman. He’s never smelled a flower. He’s never looked at a star. He’s never loved anyone. He’s never done anything except add up numbers. And all day long he says over and over, just like you, ‘I’m a serious man! I’m a serious man!’ And that puffs him up with pride. But he’s not a man at all - he’s a mushroom!”

“He’s a what?”

“A mushroom!” The little prince was now quite pale with rage. “For millions of years flowers have been producing thorns. For millions of years sheep have been eating them all the same. And it’s not serious, trying to understand why flowers go to such trouble to produce thorns that are good for nothing? It’s not important, the war between the sheep and the flowers? It’s no more serious and more important than the numbers that fat red gentleman is adding up?

“Suppose I happen to know a unique flower, one that exists nowhere in the world except on my planet, one that a little sheep can wipe out in a single bite one morning, just like that, without even realizing what he’s doing - that isn’t important?” His face turned red now, and he went on. “If someone loves a flower of which just one example exists among all the millions and millions of stars, that’s enough to make him happy when he looks at the stars. He tells himself, ‘My flower’s up there somewhere…’ But if the sheep eats the flower, then for him it’s as if, suddenly, all the stars went out. And that isn’t important?”

He couldn’t say another word. All of a sudden he burst out sobbing. Night had fallen. I dropped my tools. What did I care about my hammer, about my bolt, about thirst and death? There was, on one star, on one planet, on mine, the Earth, a little prince to be consoled! I took him in my arms. I rocked him. I told him, ‘‘The flower you love is not in danger… I’ll draw you a muzzle for your sheep… I’ll draw you a fence for your flower… I…”

I didn’t know what to say. How clumsy I felt! I didn’t know how to reach him, where to find him… It’s so mysterious, the land of tears.

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