What is Essential is Invisible to the Eye

One aspect of this approaching 18-yr marathon on which we’re about to embark that makes me especially happy is all the book buying. I mean, I’m pretty sure my baby’s going to come out reading, right? At a 5th grade level?

Oh just kidding, folks. Maybe a 3rd grade level. I don’t want to put pressure on the kid right away.

So despite (or because of) my ignorance to age-appropriate books, I’ve been scooping up all sorts of fun things.

Like this lot from an estate sale for $5. The Collier Junior Classics (if only because our name is on it) as well as a 15 piece set, ranging from fairy tales to biographies.

They threw in the Little House on the Prairie bonnet for free. You know I’ll force them to wear that while reading certain stories.

But you know which book I simply cannot wait to read aloud?

The Little Prince.

I was studying in Spain for a semester and lived with a host family which included a 10 yr old girl. It was in her room that I slept. One day, after a 5 hr intensive study class, I came home and plopped on the bed. That’s when I noticed it: The Little Prince sitting on her desk. I think the shock of seeing English was what caught my eye, so I hungrily grabbed it.

And then promptly laughed and cried. Antoine, you killed me that day.

Right from the start, he captured me. Like, when describing how the protagonist, as a child, drew a picture of a snake eating an elephant. But the grown-ups could only see a hat (above).

They couldn’t see this:

So as an adult, he would test people with his drawing of a snake, saying:

In the course of this life I have had a great many encounters with a great many people who have been concerned with matters of consequence. I have lived a great deal among grown-ups. I have seen them intimately, close at hand. And that hasn’t much improved my opinion of them.

Whenever I met one of them who seemed to me at all clear-sighted, I tried the experiment of showing him my Drawing Number One, which I have always kept. I would try to find out, so if this was a person of true understanding. But whoever it was, he, or she, would always say:

“This is a hat.”

Then I would never talk to that person about boa constrictors, or primeval forests, or stars.  I would bring myself down to his level. I would talk to him about bridge, and golf, and politics, and neckties. And the grown-up would be greatly pleased to have met such a sensible man.

Or another favorite part of mine: the fox.

Sigh. The fox…who asked to be tamed by the little prince:

“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 color 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…”


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.

“Then it has done you no good at all!”

“It has done me good,” said the fox, “because of the color of the wheat fields.”

I tried reading this aloud to R and ended up crying through it all. We’ll see if I can buck up with my little one.

8 comments on “What is Essential is Invisible to the Eye

  1. Tony Franco says:

    Wowee. This is all just really terrific! Extra excitement today for Junior, after talking to Ry Ry at lunch. You’re so neat.

    • cuethebanjo says:

      *You’re* neat, Tony. (And always too nice for your own good.) If you haven’t already read The Little Prince, please do it! If you have, read it again. Sigh, it makes my heart hurt. In a good way.

  2. 18 year marathon? Keep tellin’ yourself that 😉

  3. Nathan says:

    You have a blog?

  4. […] You have got to be kidding me. Does anyone remember when I wrote a whole post on that darn book? Of course you don’t, so let me link it here: The Little Prince post. […]

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