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Le renard

28 March 2011

From Antoine Saint-Exupéry’s classic “children’s” novel, Le Petit Prince:

—Tu vois, là-bas, les champs de blé ? Je ne mange pas de pain. Le blé pour moi est inutile. Les champs de blé ne me rappellent rien. Et ça, c’est triste ! Mais tu as des cheveux couleur d’or. Alors ce sera merveilleux quand tu m’auras apprivoisé ! Le blé, qui est doré, me fera souvenir de toi. Et j’aimerai le bruit du vent dans le blé…

[…]

Le lendemain revint le petit prince.

—Il eût mieux valu revenir à la même heure, dit le renard. Si tu viens, par example, à quatre heures de l’après-midi, dès trois heures je commencerai d’être heureux. Plus l’heure avancera, plus je me sentirai heureux. A quatre heures, déjà, je m’agiterai et m’inquiéterai : je découvrirai le prix du bonheur !

[…]

Ainsi le petit prince apprivoisa le renard. Et quand l’heure du départ fut proche:
—Ah! dit le renard… Je pleurerai.
—C’est ta faute, dit le petit prince, je ne te souhaitais point de mal, mais tu as voulu que je t’apprivoise…
—Bien sûr, dit le renard.
—Mais tu vas pleurer ! dit le petit prince.
—Bien sûr, dit le renard.
—Alors tu n’y gagnes rien !
—J’y gagne, dit le renard, à cause de la couleur du blé.

English translation:

“You see, over there, the wheat fields? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields remind me of nothing. And that is sad! But you have hair the color of gold. So it will be marvelous when you have tamed me! The grain, which is golden, will make me remember you. And I will love the sound of the wind in the wheat…”

[…]

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 come at four o’clock in the afternoon, from three o’clock on I will begin to be happy. Then as the hour advances, the more happy I will feel. At four o’clock, I shall already be agitated and worrying. I will discover the price of happiness!

[…]

Thus the little prince tamed the fox. And when the hour of his departure was close:
“Ah!” said the fox, “I am going to cry.”
“It is your own fault,” said the little prince, “I did not wish you any harm at all, but you wanted me to tame you…”
“Of course,” said the fox.
“But you are going to cry!” said the little prince.
“Of course,” said the fox.
“Then you are gaining nothing by it!”
“I am gaining by it,” said the fox, “because of the color of the wheat.”

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