Stories that inspire

The Little Prince

It is a small pocket-sized book written by a French author Antoine De Saint-Exupery in the early 20th century. “One of the most published and translated books in the world,” reads the preface. I can’t argue with that. I would call it my book of wisdom.

I never thought that a small book, with no concrete story, could have such an impact on me. My friend suggested this book to read. Its cover had a picture of a small boy dressed like a prince, with a cape, sword, and a flower pinned to his shirt. It did look like children’s literature. I thought that maybe I liked Harry Potter and she suggested this book too.  Little did I know that I was in for an emotional ride.

The book just churned out my deep-seated memories as a child and also threw light on my performance as a parent. The very first chapter was a revelation. The author had shared his experience as a kid when he drew an elephant inside the tummy of a snake. He went around showing the picture to the adults he met and they dismissed him and his picture, by saying that it resembled nothing like his imagination or even worse, a hat. Some never even bothered to look at the picture with interest.

The plain picture shown by the author that resembles a snake
compare the picture with and without an elephant

This incident might not be new to most parents. We often tend to overlook our kid’s creative works, be it a crayon sketch, a poem, or a performance exclusively put up for us. We might be physically present, but mentally absent. I remember many a time when I had clapped and appreciated my kids’ work without even looking at them properly.

He had painfully reflected that he was disheartened by the failure of his drawing and had given up his dream of becoming a painter. He mentioned that he instead learnt arithmetic so that the adults would appreciate him. Now, I feel sorry for the boy, in this case, the author whose creativity was questioned and ambushed by the grown-ups. I am also saddened at the numerous instances when I was flawed as a parent.

The book has a little over 100 pages and here I am, stumped at the very first chapter. I read and re-read the book so that the message stays with me. So that I become a better parent and most important of all, a better human.

‘The Little Prince’ is the title hero of the book. So let me share my thoughts on the prince. This way it would make more sense to my write-up. The prince is a little man probably from Asteroid B-612 who is visiting earth for the first time. The conversation of the author with the little man forms the rest of the story.

He discussed in detail, the people he met in the various other heavenly bodies before coming to earth with the author. His reflections on them were similar to the different shades of people we meet in our life. The prince was hardly judgmental about them. His tone was that of a passive onlooker, leaving enough for us to ruminate.

Bear with me for my pencil sketches. The Little Prince brought out the child in me. Ironically, I think my sketches will add more value this story.

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