The Fox and the Little Prince

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 nothing.

"I'm right here" the voice said, "under the apple tree."

"Who are you?" asked the little prince, and added,
"You're very pretty to look at."

"I'm a fox", the fox said.

"Come and play with me," proposed the little prince, "I'm so unhappy."

"I can't play with you," the fox said, "I'm 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 you're looking for?"

"I'm looking for men," said the little prince. "What does that mean—tame?"

"Men,"said the fox, "they've guns, and they hunt. It's very disturbing.
They also raise chickens. These are their only interests. Are you looking for chickens?"

"No," said the little prince. "I'm looking for friends. What does that mean—tame?"

"It's an act too often neglected," said the fox. "It means to establish ties."

"To establish ties?"

"Just that," said the fox. "to me, you're still nothing more than a little boy
who's 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'm 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'll be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world …"

"I'm beginning to understand," said the little prince.
"There's a flower. . .I think she has tamed me…"

"It is possible," said the fox. "On 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 curious.
"On another planet?"

"Yes"

"Are there hunters on that planet?"

"No"

"Ah that's interesting! Are there chickens?"

"No"

"Nothing is perfect," sighed the fox.
But he came back to his idea.
"My life's very monotonous," he said. "I hunt chickens; men hunt me.
All 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'll be as if the sun came to shine on my life.
I shall know the sound of a step that'll 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…"

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've not much time.
I've 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's no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship,
and so men have no friends any more.
If you want a friend, tame me…"

"What must I do, to tame you? asked the little prince.

"You must be very patient," replied the fox.
First you'll 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'll 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 came 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 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 ready to greet you… One must observe the proper rites…"

"What's a rite?" asked the little prince.

"Those also are actions too often neglected," said the fox.
"they're what make one day different from other days, one hour different from other hours.
There's a rite, for example, among my hunters. Every Thursday they danse with the village girls.
So Thursday's 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's 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're 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 color of the wheat fields."
And then he added: "go and look again at the roses.
You'll 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're 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're like my fox when I first knew him.
He was only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes.
But I have made a friend, and now he's unique in all the world."
And the roses were very much embarrassed.
"You're beautiful, but you're empty," he went on. "One could not die for you.
To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you
–the rose that belongs to me. But in herself alone she's 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 for her that I've killed the caterpillars
(except the two or three 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 rose."

And he went back to meet the fox.
"Goodbye" he said.

"Goodbye," said the fox.
"And now here's 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 remember.

"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 he would be sure to remember.

"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.

From "The Little Prince" by Antoine de St. Exupery.  A most lovely chapter from a most lovely book.

What, then, do you do after you've been tamed, and when you've "wasted" so much time on your "rose", and when you hear the wind in the wheatfield and it makes you think of a golden-haired boy…but nobody comes to meet you at 4:00 anymore?  What, then?

(Is everything still a wheatfield?)

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About Lou (Linda)

Just a girl from Colorado trying to live life to God's glory with a certain amount of gusto! View all posts by Lou (Linda)

40 responses to “The Fox and the Little Prince

  • Jaime

    You wait. The wheatfield never changes…those who are truly tamed can never really be untamed again…and those who tame us eventually return, for they themselves have been tamed as well.

  • Lou (Linda)

    Jaime, who ARE you? You made me cry! I was expecting “get over it” and I receive this wonderful note from a (presumed) stranger! Thank you….

  • Doris

    Wish I could understand.

  • Jaime

    Linda,

    I stumbled onto your blog, because I was searching for a t-shirt that reads, “careful, or I’ll write you into my novel.” My dear friend gave it to me this weekend, and it’s too big, so I wanted to find a smaller size, and googled the phrase in quotes, and your blog came up as one of only a few sites. The name caught my attention, so when I went to the website of the t-shirt place, and saw “blah blah blog” on a t-shirt (this explanation is getting really long), I had to come back and visit your blog. And then I saw your Little Prince post.

    I am SO passionate about The Little Prince, I can’t even tell you, so I just couldn’t pass your post by without comment. I just sob every time I read that book. When I taught high school English, I made my freshmen read it. I don’t think any of them understood (big surprise there…LOL).

    Oh, and I don’t know who left the scripture reference, but it is incomplete. It should include the verse that follows. The basic gist is that even when everything around you fails, God is still there. Which doesn’t really address the issue in The Little Prince, but there it is.

    Jaime, she who has been tamed…and continues to wait…

  • Lou (Linda)

    Jaime, LOVED your explanation on how you got to BBB. Thanks for it! I am a bit passionate about TLP, too. Required reading in high school french (in french it’s even more beautiful), it became a resource for the management of relationships later in life. I cry every time I read it, too.

    Re: “incomplete” scripture reference…Perhaps the writer, should he drop in again, will expand his thoughts for us on it…I’m sure it would be very much worth the hearing….

  • Jaime

    Linda, I read TLP in French in high school, too! That was my first encounter with it.

    So, question….which do you prefer? The “old” translation (with the white cover), or the new one (with the blue cover)? I’m sure the new one is more accurate, but I loved how the old one translated phrases like — and I don’t have my French version with me at the moment — “matters of consequence.” It’s hard getting used to the new one, and my French isn’t good enough to not have an English translation for some parts.

    It’s funny how people stumble onto blogs! LOL They’re fun to read, I think!

  • Lou (Linda)

    Hi again, Jaime! I have only read the “old” translation. I would be very sad to see “matters of consequence” be translated into anything else. Can you imagine? How about “stuff that counts”. Lacks a certain “je ne sais quois, n’est pas?” That’s about all the french I remember!

  • John

    Jaime’s right: My comment about Habakkuk was off-point. May I come to understand the beauty of the book and of your pulling from it. bang

  • Sam Freedom

    Linda, this is a good passage. Taming is so much more than falling in love. It includes a kind of care that is selfless beyond description. It’s like starting off life as a just an ordinary harp on a wall in some music store in any old city. Then somehow you find yourself in the hands of a master harpist who plays you masterfully, not from desire to hear him or herself play, but because of a genuine love and understanding of the beauty that lay untapped within the seemingly ordinary.

    The part that is most difficult to describe is that when you are played by someone masterful, you become alive and transform so that you are no longer an instrument, but also more masterful yourself and you become able to pass on the goodwill, the goodness and the understanding to other seemingly ordinary “harps.”

    The level at which you’ve expressed is the beginning of feeling it. If you listen, it speaks of so much possibility and the real master never leaves. The real master would never leave you traumatized and in the dark wondering. No one who understood you, loved you, would ever, ever allow that to happen to you.

    Cheers,
    Sam

  • James Jones

    I must say this book is one of the best books I’ve ever read. If you think about it, it is a kiddy biik and a collage book. I have only scratched the surface of its understanding, just think of what meaning this book holds. What it is. Wow! Anyway I’m only 10 and I understand it. Lol

  • James Jones

    Sorry I spelt book wrong. Ohh and if you don’t understand this book I must say if you are older than me-Hahahahahahahahaha. well see ya wouldn’t want to be ya. Lol

  • Mikey

    This book is sad, entertaining, and life like in many ways. It is a very hard book to understand too. But it is still one of the best. I would of never knew about this book if I didn’t have a project about it. Strange…. still I’m glad I found out about the book, just not the 5 page book report on it. My fingers still ack.

  • James Jones

    Hey Mikey I’m trying to piont out a statment here that I rule!

  • MIkey

    This website is on the little prince, so go on a chat room or something if you want to anounce what you said.

  • James Jones

    Grrrrrr go away i’m proving my point!

  • Mikey

    Fine I’m login off!!

  • James Jones

    Haha I RULE!!!!!

  • Fredia

    I am afraid I don’t understand what it means. Anyone want to explain it to me?

  • cv

    Another boy comes along at 5:00…albeit with dark brown hair.

  • cv

    Thank you for posting this. They’re my friend’s and my favorite lines from the book.

  • Lou (Linda)

    CV,

    Another boy comes along at 5:00…albeit with dark brown hair.

    🙂

    Thanks for the link to my blog!

  • Tracy

    I was looking for the words the fox said to the little prince and came upon your site (I’m glad I did). I just finished watching the 2006 movie “My Best Friend” and really liked a quote they took from this and related to friendship.

    I think the whole concept of taming can be looked at on several levels.

    The level I’m thinking about tonight is how taming requires patience and is the only way to have friends. I have to let people tame me – teach me how to act right and be their friend. I also to be patient and persistent enough to tame them. During taming we put up with annoyances and are committed to helping the person (or being helped).

    I appreciate this concept because I tire of reading or hearing about how people have a list of attributes they want in a friend. I’m just not perfect and I’m glad that there are those in my life who were willing to tame me. I’m glad that there are those who have given me a chance at taming them.

    I’m glad you found my blog, too! I popped by yours and am looking forward to returning and reading more. I enjoyed your thoughts on “taming” as it pertains to friendship. And I’m with you, I’m glad there are those who have given me a chance at taming them, as well! 🙂 — Lou

  • Jana

    To me, the concept of being tamed is so much deeper than the appearances- it is the basic connection between two living things. It is observing the ritualistic games that we play with one another, those that society deem as important (“I will look out of the corner of my eye at you…”) to obtain that connection that all humans, all living things, already have…. a spiritual connection that reaches much deeper than friendship- truely that connection that holds all people and living things together- their “oneness” with God (or spirit, or greater power…) Taming to me is acutally recognizing that bond, taking a moment to actually feel that intensity, and relish in it. Although we are all connected to the same fountain of life, few are ever really tamed to each other. We “adults” are often too busy with matters of consequence to know how wonderful being tamed feels.

  • k8ie

    can someone explain what this chapter means?? 😦
    and also what is the secret of the fox?
    :>

  • Gramina

    K8ie —

    I can’t tell you “what the chapter means” — St. Exupery is good enough that there are plenty of meanings to find there, no one more “right” than any other.

    But for me, part at least of what is being said here is that it is relationship that creates meaning, and that once you have formed a relationship, you are responsible for maintaining it — you can’t just dash off and disappear and not have there be consequences to that relationship.

    And I would say that this applies to relationships with roses, with foxes, with aviators, with sheep, with snakes, with stars, with wells, with deserts — not just relationships between people, and definitely not just romantic relationships.

  • Kate

    I have a question for you experts on this book. What does the story of the fox and the little prince teach us about authentic friendship?

  • A. Non Imus

    My response to the initial comment is that i think you missed the fact that you assumed you are the little prince, it makes more sense if you understand you are the fox and look at it from that perspective. The little prince will never return, thats all thats left in the memory brought back by the wheat field of the prince. Thats the only way people live forever, in our minds, hearts, and memories. Just remember. And know that you can always close your eyes and escape to a place and time in your mind where only memories live.

  • A. Non Imus

    Meant to say – ‘IS’ the memory brought back, not ‘IN’ – TYPO

  • maher

    i have the three quarter of the story in my inglish book .Its wonderful.;)

  • Tayyiba Haq

    can someone explain the taming part only? need a reply asap please =]

  • SK

    I just saw the movie “My Best Friend” : Sociable+Smiling+Sincere=Friendship. I then came across “the little prince”, which I read an online translation. I was in tears couple times. Then I bumped into this blog. Reading Jamie’s comments and others brought back more tears and newer understanding. I am summarizing some key comments made here.

    Blog poses this question: What, then, do you do after you’ve been tamed, and when you’ve “wasted” so much time on your “rose”, and when you hear the wind in the wheatfield and it makes you think of a golden-haired boy…but nobody comes to meet you at 4:00 anymore? What, then? (Is everything still a wheatfield?)
    Blog Response: You wait. The wheatfield never changes…those who are truly tamed can never really be untamed again…and those who tame us eventually return, for they themselves have been tamed as well.
    Blog Response: The level I’m thinking about tonight is how taming requires patience and is the only way to have friends. I have to let people tame me – teach me how to act right and be their friend. I also need to be patient and persistent enough to tame them. During taming we put up with annoyances and are committed to helping the person (or being helped). … I’m just not perfect and I’m glad that there are those in my life who were willing to tame me. I’m glad that there are those who have given me a chance at taming them.
    Blog Response: The little prince will never return, and all thats left is the memory brought back by the wheat field of the prince. Thats the only way people live forever, in our minds, hearts, and memories. Just remember. And know that you can always close your eyes and escape to a place and time in your mind where only memories live.

    ————-
    Thank you.

  • Farrah D. Reed

    I love The Little Prince, I read it for the first time when I was in 7th grade and had seen the movie and cartoon prior, to be honest when I was younger I didn’t understand why it was so popular, but now as an adult I have re-read it with my step-son and couldn’t help but be moved to tears of how profound and wonderful The Little Prince is!

    This is one of my favorite passages, his interaction with the fox, which is how I stumbled upon this blog. I wanted to cut and paste this passage to share with a co-worker in an attempt to explain how it’s ok for my dog to sleep at the foot of my bed but because she is my dog, I’ve bathed her and given her medication to keep her healthy, she’s not just 1 out of millions of dogs in the world, she is my sweet sweet Shayla and she is my dog and I am responsible for her ; )

  • Risa Triandari

    Reblogged this on Risa Writes and commented:
    Read this book 2 years ago. Reread it just recently. Instantly obsessed with this chapter because of reasons.

  • Niki

    I have just finished reading The Little Prince for the first time in my life and I’m moved to tears. I was crying so hard at the part about the fox, because I’m a fox too. I was crying out loudly: No, no! when the Prince said goodbye to her, how cruel that part is.
    I had to type in the following sentence in google: “what happenes to the fox after being tamed”, because it was my first thought: how can I go on with my life after the Prince has tamed me and then went back to his planet. NO, it does make no good to look at the wheatfield, it doesn’t make me smile, it only breaks my heart. Somebody should really write a book about the afterlife of the fox…
    Somehow, it was good to read that Linda you felt the same way as me now. I wonder what has happened to you? How did you get over it? Did you wait as Jaime told so?

  • Lou (Linda)

    Hi Niki! Thanks for your comment. I’m so glad that the book moved you so much. Your idea of writing a book about the afterlife of the fox is such an excellent one! I wonder what Antoine St. Exupery would have written. As to what has happened to me…yes, I did wait for some time. During that time of waiting I came to realize that I wasn’t tamed so much as I thought I was. In time, I didn’t even have the impulse to glance in the direction of wheatfields. And now, many years later, I see that the Prince leaving was the absolute best thing for me. The life he ended up choosing to live after leaving was one that would have absolutely suffocated me. I rejoice in how things turned out for me. But still, I hope that sometime a new Prince might come along. 🙂 You’ll get over it. Tincture of time is truly the best medicine. Best to you as your journey through the waiting.

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