On Explore: July 2010
'My life is very monotonous. I run after the chickens; the men run
after me. All the chickens are the same, and all the men are the same.
Consequently, I get a little bored. but if you tame me, my days will
be as if filled with sunlight. I shall know a sound of footstep
different from all the rest. Other steps make me run to earth. Yours
will call me out of my foxhole like music. And besides, look over
there! You see the fields of corn ? Well, I don't eat bread. Corn is
of no use for me. Corn fields remind me of nothing. Which is sad! On
the other hand, your hair is the colour of gold. So think how
wonderful it will be when you have tamed me. The corn, which is
golden, will remind me you. And I shall come to love the sound of the
wind in the field of corn...."
The fox fell silent and looked steadily at the little prince for a long time.
'Please,' he said, 'tame me!' 'I should like to,' replied the little prince, 'but I don't have much time. I have friends to discover and many things to understand.'
'One only ever understands what one tames. People no longer have the time to understand anything. They buy everything ready-made from the shops. but there is no shop where friends can be bought, so people no longer have friends. If you want a friend, tame me!'
"'You have to be very patient,' replied the fox. 'First, you will sit down a short distance away from me, like that, in the grass. I shall watch you out of the corner of my eye and you will say nothing; words are the source of misunderstandings. But each day you may sit a little closer to me.'
The next day the little prince came back. 'It would have been better to come back at the same time of the day,'said the fox. 'For instance, if you come at four in the afternoon, when three o'clock strikes I shall begin to feel happy. The closer our time approaches, the happier I shall feel. By four o'clock I shall already be getting agitated and worried; I shall be discovering that happiness has its price! But if you show up at any old time, I'll never know when to start dressing my hearth for you... We all need rituals.' 'What is a ritual?' said the little prince. 'Something else that is frequently neglected,' said the fox.
It's what makes one day different from the other days, one hour different from the other hours. There is a ritual, for example, among my huntsmen. On Thursdays they dance with the village girls. So Thursday is a wonderful day for me! I can take a stroll as far as the vineyard. If the huntsmen went dancing at any old time, the days would all be the same, and I should never have a holiday.' So the little prince tamed the fox. And when the time for him to leave was approaching: 'Oh!' said the fox. 'I am going to cry,'
'It's your own fault,' said the little prince. 'I never wished you any harm; but you wanted me to tame you...' 'I know,' said the fox. 'And now you are going to cry!' said the little prince. 'I know,' said the fox. 'So you have gained nothing from it at all!'
'Yes, I have gained something,' said the fox, 'because of the colour of the corn.'
from: "The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry