From the book: Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry

I soon learned to know this flower better. On the little prince's planet the flowers had always been very simple. They had only one ring of petals; they took up no room at all; they were a trouble to nobody. One morning they would appear in the grass, and by night they would have faded peacefully away. But one day, from a seed blown from no one knew where, a new flower had come up; and the little prince had watched very closely over this small sprout which was not like any other small sprouts on his planet. It might, you see, have been a new kind of baobab. The shrub soon stopped growing, and began to get ready to produce a flower. The little prince, who was present at the first appearance of a huge bud, felt at once that some sort of miraculous apparition must emerge from it. But the flower was not satisfied to complete the preparations for her beauty in the shelter of her green chamber. She chose her colours with the greatest care. She adjusted her petals one by one. She did not wish to go out into the world all rumpled, like the field poppies. It was only in the full radiance of her beauty that she wished to appear. Oh, yes! She was a coquettish creature! And her mysterious adornment lasted for days and days.

Then one morning, exactly at sunrise, she suddenly showed herself.
And, after working with all this painstaking precision, she yawned and said:
"Ah! I am scarcely awake. I beg that you will excuse me. My petals are still all disarranged..."
But the little prince could not restrain his admiration:
"Oh! How beautiful you are!"
"Am I not?" the flower responded, sweetly. "And I was born at the same moment as the sun..."
The little prince could guess easily enough that she was not any too modest-- but how moving-- and exciting-- she was!
"I think it is time for breakfast," she added an instant later. "If you would have the kindness to think of my needs--"
And the little prince, completely abashed, went to look for a sprinkling-can of fresh water. So, he tended the flower. So, too, she began very quickly to torment him with her vanity-- which was, if the truth be known, a little
difficult to deal with. One day, for instance, when she was speaking of her four thorns, she said to the little prince: "Let the tigers come with their claws!"
"There are no tigers on my planet," the little prince objected. "And, anyway, tigers do not eat weeds."
"I am not a weed," the flower replied, sweetly.
"Please excuse me..."
"I am not at all afraid of tigers," she went on, "but I have a horror of drafts. I suppose you wouldn't have a screen for me?"
"A horror of drafts-- that is bad luck, for a plant," remarked the little prince, and added to himself, "This flower is a very complex creature..."
"At night I want you to put me under a glass globe. It is very cold where you live. In the place I came from--"
But she interrupted herself at that point. She had come in the form of a seed. She could not have known anything of any other worlds. Embarassed over having let herself be caught on the verge of such a naive untruth, she coughed two or three times, in order to put the little prince in the wrong.
"The screen?"
"I was just going to look for it when you spoke to me..."
Then she forced her cough a little more so that he should suffer from remorse just the same.
So the little prince, in spite of all the good will that was inseparable from his love, had soon come to doubt her. He had taken seriously words which were without importance, and it made him very unhappy.

"I ought not to have listened to her," he confided to me one day. "One never ought to listen to the flowers. One should simply look at them and breathe their fragrance. Mine perfumed all my planet. But I did not know how to take pleasure in all her grace. This tale of claws, which disturbed me so much, should only have filled my heart with tenderness and pity."

And he continued his confidences:
"The fact is that I did not know how to understand anything! I ought to have judged by deeds and not by words. She cast her fragrance and her radiance over me. I ought never to have run away from her... I ought to have guessed all the affection that lay behind her poor little strategems. Flowers are so inconsistent! But I was too young to know how to love her..."

I believe that for his escape he took advantage of the migration of a flock of wild birds. On the morning of his departure he put his planet in perfect order. He carefully cleaned out his active volcanoes. He possessed two active volcanoes; and they were very convenient for heating his breakfast in the morning. He also had one volcano that was extinct. But, as he said, "One never knows!" So he cleaned out the extinct volcano, too. If they are well cleaned out, volcanoes burn slowly and steadily, without any eruptions. Volcanic eruptions are like fires in a chimney.
On our earth we are obviously much too small to clean out our volcanoes. That is why they bring no end of trouble upon us. The little prince also pulled up, with a certain sense of dejection, the last little shoots of the baobabs. He believed that he would never want to return. But on this last morning all these familiar tasks seemed very precious to him. And when he watered the flower for the last time, and prepared to place her under the shelter of her glass globe, he realised that he was very close to tears.
"Goodbye," he said to the flower.
But she made no answer.
"Goodbye," he said again.
The flower coughed. But it was not because she had a cold.
"I have been silly," she said to him, at last. "I ask your forgiveness. Try to be happy..."
He was surprised by this absence of reproaches. He stood there all bewildered, the glass globe held arrested in mid-air. He did not understand this quiet sweetness.
"Of course I love you," the flower said to him. "It is my fault that you have not known it all the while. That is of no importance. But you-- you have been just as foolish as I. Try to be happy... let the glass globe be. I don't want it any more."
"But the wind--"
"My cold is not so bad as all that... the cool night air will do me good. I am a flower."
"But the animals--"
"Well, I must endure the presence of two or three caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies. It seems that they are very beautiful. And if not the butterflies-- and the caterpillars-- who will call upon me? You will be far away... as for the large animals-- I am not at all afraid of any of them. I have my claws."
And, naively, she showed her four thorns. Then she added:
"Don't linger like this. You have decided to go away. Now go!"
For she did not want him to see her crying. She was such a proud flower...

. . .

"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 is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more . If you want a friend, tame me..."

"Go and look again at the roses. You will 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 are 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 are like my fox when I first knew him. He was only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But I have made him my friend, and now he is unique in all the world."
And the roses were very much embarassed.
"You are beautiful, but you are 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 is more important than all the hundre ds 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 she that I have sheltered behind the screen; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars (except the two or three that we saved to become butterflies); because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or ever 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 is 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 that 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.


Bela Csikos Sesia, Psyche, 1898.