It was a long time before I could learn anything about the world he came from. The little prince asked me question after question, but never seemed to hear mine. It was from carelessly dropped words that I gradually constructed the tale.
When he noticed my plane for the first time, for instance (no, I shall not draw it; it is too complicated), he asked me, ‘What is that thing?’
‘That is not a thing. It can fly. It is a plane. It is my airplane.’
I was quite proud to have him know that I was a pilot and could fly the plane.
He cried out, ‘Oh my! So you dropped out of the sky?’
‘Yes,’ I answered, humbly.
‘That is so funny!’
And the little prince broke into a ringing laugh, which displeased me very much. I expect others to take my problems seriously.
Then he said, ‘So you have come from the sky too! From which planet?’
At that instant I realized he was giving me an important hint about himself, and I said, ‘You’re from a different planet, aren’t you?’
He did not respond. Gazing steadily at my plane he remarked, ‘In that thing, you couldn’t have come from very far away.’
Then, for what seemed like a long time, he stood lost in thought. Eventually, he took my sheep out of his pocket and looked at it closely.
As you can imagine, I was intrigued when he suggested he was from another planet, so I tried to find out more.
‘Where are you from? What is this “small place” you speak of? Where are you going to take my sheep?’
He thought for a while and answered, ‘It is good that he has the box. At night, he can use it as his house.’
‘Quite right. And if you behave, I can give you a rope to tie him with during the day, and also a post to which he can be tied.’
The little prince was aghast, ‘Tie him! Why would we do such a strange thing?’
‘But if you don’t,’ I said, ‘will he not wander off and get lost?’
My little friend burst out laughing again.
‘But where do you think he would go?’
‘Anywhere, I suppose. As his nose guides him.’
He answered solemnly, ‘It doesn’t matter. In my world, everything is really small!’ And then with a touch of sadness, the little prince added:
‘Letting his nose guide him will not get him very far.’