The holiday season is upon us, which means so is the biggest gift-exchange of the year. This year, I’ve been thinking a lot about writing as a gift–poems, short stories, that kind letter you’ve been meaning to write to your mother but haven’t yet–and then I found a beautiful children’s notebook at an art store. It’s covered in purple velvet and has a sweet illustration of a Arabian boy and girl, royally dressed, with a silver moon smiling down on their adventuring. It reminded me of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. It’s a beautiful (and quite sad) story of a little prince from another planet who lands on earth and befriends an adult. He tells him all about the other planets he’s visited and the people who inhabit them–lamplighters and drunkards and kings–and most of all of his home planet and his beloved rose, whom he protects:
“The little prince went away, to look again at the roses.
‘You’re 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’re like my fox when I first knew him. He was only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But I have made a friend, and now he’s unique in all the world.’
And the roses were very much embarrassed.
‘You’re beautiful, but you’re 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’s more important than all the hundreds 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 for her that I’ve killed the caterpillars (except the two or three we saved to become butterflies); because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is MY rose.’”
― Antoine de St. Exupery