The Little Prince: Growing Roots

The Little Prince: Growing Roots

Chapter 18 of The Little Prince is as rich with meaning as chapters one and three. My blog series featuring the iconic French children’s book has allowed me to explore the text with new eyes.

The passage below describes a melancholy exchange between the Little Prince and a flower. The Little Prince, always full of questions, wants to know where all the people are. The flower’s answer is simple: “The wind blows them away. They have no roots…”.

In 2007 the U.S. census reported that the average American will move 11.7 times in their lifetime. To most a passport full of colorful stamps is a most coveted possession. My children have both visited France with me and I look forward to more trips in the future.

Would the flower in The Little Prince look down on us? I think not. The roots that come to mind when the flower speaks are those of personal conviction. One’s truth. What are your values? What do you stand for? What truths do you hold dear? Those are our roots.

Thomas Kempis, a medival monk, once said, “Wherever you go, you will always bear yourself about with you, and so you will always find yourself.” Travel the world, learn languages, eat exotic foods but remember to do deeply rooted in who you are.

Le Petit Prince: Chapter 18 (en Français)

Le petit prince traversa le désert et ne rencontra qu’une fleur. Une fleur à trois pétales, une fleur de rien du tout…

“Bonjour,” dit le petit prince.

“Bonjour” dit la fleur.

“Où sont les hommes ?” demanda poliment le petit prince.

La fleur, un jour, avait vu passer une caravane:

“Les hommes ? Il en existe, je crois, six ou sept. Je les ai aperçus il y a des années. Mais on ne sait jamais où les trouver. Le vent les promène. Ils manquent de racines, ça les gêne beaucoup.”

“Adieu, fit le petit prince.”

“Adieu, dit la fleur.”

The Little Prince: Chapter 18 (in English)

The little prince crossed the desert and met with only one flower. It was a flower with three petals, a flower of no account at all.

“Good morning,” said the little prince.

“Good morning,” said the flower.

“Where are the men?” the little prince asked, politely.

The flower had once seen a caravan passing.

“Men?” she echoed. “I think there are six or seven of them in existence. I saw them, several years ago. But one never knows where to find them. The wind blows them away. They have no roots, and that makes their life very difficult.”

“Goodbye,” said the little prince.

“Goodbye,” said the flower.