[ Chapter 13 ] – the little prince visits the businessman
The fourth planet belonged to a businessman. This man was so much occupied that he did not even raise his head at the little prince's arrival.
“Good morning,” the little prince said to him. “Your cigarette has gone out.”
“Three and two make five. Five and seven make twelve. Twelve and three make fifteen. Good morning. Fifteen and seven make twenty-two. Twenty-two and six make twenty-eight. I haven't time to light it again. Twenty-six and five make thirty-one. Phew! Then that makes five-hundred-and-one-million, six-hundred-twenty-two-thousand, seven-hundred-thirty-one.”
“Five hundred million what?” asked the little prince.
“Eh? Are you still there? Five-hundred-and-one million– I can't stop… I have so much to do! I am concerned with matters of consequence. I don't amuse myself with balderdash. Two and five make seven…”
“Five-hundred-and-one million what?” repeated the little prince, who never in his life had let go of a question once he had asked it.
The businessman raised his head.
“During the fifty-four years that I have inhabited this planet, I have been disturbed only three times. The first time was twenty-two years ago, when some giddy goose fell from goodness knows where. He made the most frightful noise that resounded all over the place, and I made four mistakes in my addition. The second time, eleven years ago, I was disturbed by an attack of rheumatism. I don't get enough exercise. I have no time for loafing. The third time– well, this is it! I was saying, then, five -hundred-and-one millions–”
“Millions of what?”
The businessman suddenly realized that there was no hope of being left in peace until he answered this question.
“Millions of those little objects,” he said, “which one sometimes sees in the sky.”
“Oh, no. Little glittering objects.”
“Oh, no. Little golden objects that set lazy men to idle dreaming. As for me, I am concerned with matters of consequence. There is no time for idle dreaming in my life.”
“Ah! You mean the stars?”
“Yes, that's it. The stars.”
“And what do you do with five-hundred millions of stars?”
“Five-hundred-and-one million, six-hundred-twenty-two thousand, seven-hundred-thirty-one. I am concerned with matters of consequence: I am accurate.”
“And what do you do with these stars?”
“What do I do with them?”
“Nothing. I own them.”
“You own the stars?”
“But I have already seen a king who–”
“Kings do not own, they reign over. It is a very different matter.”
“And what good does it do you to own the stars?”
“It does me the good of making me rich.”
“And what good does it do you to be rich?”
“It makes it possible for me to buy more stars, if any are ever discovered.”
“This man,” the little prince said to himself, “reasons a little like my poor tippler…”
Nevertheless, he still had some more questions.
“How is it possible for one to own the stars?”
“To whom do they belong?” the businessman retorted, peevishly.
“I don't know. To nobody.”
“Then they belong to me, because I was the first person to think of it.”
“Is that all that is necessary?”
“Certainly. When you find a diamond that belongs to nobody, it is yours. When you discover an island that belongs to nobody, it is yours. When you get an idea before any one else, you take out a patent on it: it is yours. So with me: I own the stars, because nobody else before me ever thought of owning them.”
“Yes, that is true,” said the little prince. “And what do you do with them?”
“I administer them,” replied the businessman. “I count them and recount them. It is difficult. But I am a man who is naturally interested in matters of consequence.”
The little prince was still not satisfied.
“If I owned a silk scarf,” he said, “I could put it around my neck and take it away with me. If I owned a flower, I could pluck that flower and take it away with me. But you cannot pluck the stars from heaven…”
“No. But I can put them in the bank.”
“Whatever does that mean?”
“That means that I write the number of my stars on a little paper. And then I put this paper in a drawer and lock it with a key.”
“And that is all?”
“That is enough,” said the businessman.
“It is entertaining,” thought the little prince. “It is rather poetic. But it is of no great consequence.”
On matters of consequence, the little prince had ideas which were very different from those of the grown-ups.
“I myself own a flower,” he continued his conversation with the businessman, “which I water every day. I own three volcanoes, which I clean out every week (for I also clean out the one that is extinct; one never knows). It is of some use to my volcanoes, and it is of some use to my flower, that I own them. But you are of no use to the stars…”
The businessman opened his mouth, but he found nothing to say in answer. And the little prince went away.
“The grown-ups are certainly altogether extraordinary,” he said simply, talking to himself as he continued on his journey.
[ Chapter 14 ] – the little prince visits the lamplighter
The fifth planet was very strange. It was the smallest of all. There was just enough room on it for a street lamp and a lamplighter. The little prince was not able to reach any explanation of the use of a street lamp and a lamplighter, somewhere in the heavens, on a planet which had no people, and not one house. But he said to himself, nevertheless:
“It may well be that this man is absurd. But he is not so absurd as the king, the conceited man, the businessman, and the tippler. For at least his work has some meaning. When he lights his street lamp, it is as if he brought one more star to life, or one flower. When he puts out his lamp, he sends the flower, or the star, to sleep. That is a beautiful occupation. And since it is beautiful, it is truly useful.”
When he arrived on the planet he respectfully saluted the lamplighter.
“Good morning. Why have you just put out your lamp?”
“Those are the orders,” replied the lamplighter. “Good morning.”
“What are the orders?”
“The orders are that I put out my lamp. Good evening.”
And he lighted his lamp again.
“But why have you just lighted it again?”
“Those are the orders,” replied the lamplighter.
“I do not understand,” said the little prince.
“There is nothing to understand,” said the lamplighter. “Orders are orders. Good morning.”
And he put out his lamp.
Then he mopped his forehead with a handkerchief decorated with red squares.
“I follow a terrible profession. In the old days it was reasonable. I put the lamp out in the morning, and in the evening I lighted it again. I had the rest of the day for relaxation and the rest of the night for sleep.”
“And the orders have been changed since that time?”
“The orders have not been changed,” said the lamplighter. “That is the tragedy! From year to year the planet has turned more rapidly and the orders have not been changed!”
“Then what?” asked the little prince.
“Then– the planet now makes a complete turn every minute, and I no longer have a single second for repose. Once every minute I have to light my lamp and put it out!”
“That is very funny! A day lasts only one minute, here where you live!”
“It is not funny at all!” said the lamplighter. “While we have been talking together a month has gone by.”
“Yes, a month. Thirty minutes. Thirty days. Good evening.”
And he lighted his lamp again.
As the little prince watched him, he felt that he loved this lamplighter who was so faithful to his orders. He remembered the sunsets which he himself had gone to seek, in other days, merely by pulling up his chair; and he wanted to help his friend.
“You know,” he said, “I can tell you a way you can rest whenever you want to…”
“I always want to rest,” said the lamplighter.
For it is possible for a man to be faithful and lazy at the same time.
The little prince went on with his explanation:
“Your planet is so small that three strides will take you all the way around it. To be always in the sunshine, you need only walk along rather slowly. When you want to rest, you will walk– and the day will last as long as you like.”
“That doesn't do me much good,” said the lamplighter. “The one thing I love in life is to sleep.”
“Then you're unlucky,” said the little prince.
“I am unlucky,” said the lamplighter. “Good morning.”
And he put out his lamp.
“That man,” said the little prince to himself, as he continued farther on his journey, “that man would be scorned by all the others: by the king, by the conceited man, by the tippler, by the businessman. Nevertheless he is the only one of them all who does not seem to me ridiculous. Perhaps that is because he is thinking of something else besides himself.”
He breathed a sigh of regret, and said to himself, again:
“That man is the only one of them all whom I could have made my friend. But his planet is indeed too small. There is no room on it for two people…”
What the little prince did not dare confess was that he was sorry most of all to leave this planet, because it was blest every day with 1440 sunsets!
[ Chapter 15 ] – the little prince visits the geographer
The sixth planet was ten times larger than the last one. It was inhabited by an old gentleman who wrote voluminous books.
“Oh, look! Here is an explorer!” he exclaimed to himself when he saw the little prince coming.
The little prince sat down on the table and panted a little. He had already traveled so much and so far!
“Where do you come from?” the old gentleman said to him.
“What is that big book?” said the little prince. “What are you doing?”
“I am a geographer,” the old gentleman said to him.
“What is a geographer?” asked the little prince.
“A geographer is a scholar who knows the location of all the seas, rivers, towns, mountains, and deserts.”
“That is very interesting,” said the little prince. “Here at last is a man who has a real profession!” And he cast a look around him at the planet of the geographer. It was the most magnificent and stately planet that he had ever seen.
“Your planet is very beautiful,” he said. “Has it any oceans?”
“I couldn't tell you,” said the geographer.
“Ah!” The little prince was disappointed. “Has it any mountains?”
“I couldn't tell you,” said the geographer.
“And towns, and rivers, and deserts?”
“I couldn't tell you that, either.”
“But you are a geographer!”
“Exactly,” the geographer said. “But I am not an explorer. I haven't a single explorer on my planet. It is not the geographer who goes out to count the towns, the rivers, the mountains, the seas, the oceans, and the deserts. The geographer is much too important to go loafing about. He does not leave his desk. But he receives the explorers in his study. He asks them questions, and he notes down what they recall of their travels. And if the recollections of any one among them seem interesting to him, the geographer orders an inquiry into that explorer's moral character.”
“Why is that?”
“Because an explorer who told lies would bring disaster on the books of the geographer. So would an explorer who drank too much.”
“Why is that?” asked the little prince.
“Because intoxicated men see double. Then the geographer would note down two mountains in a place where there was only one.”
“I know some one,” said the little prince, “who would make a bad explorer.”
“That is possible. Then, when the moral character of the explorer is shown to be good, an inquiry is ordered into his discovery.”
“One goes to see it?”
“No. That would be too complicated. But one requires the explorer to furnish proofs. For example, if the discovery in question is that of a large mountain, one requires that large stones be brought back from it.”
The geographer was suddenly stirred to excitement.
“But you– you come from far away! You are an explorer! You shall describe your planet to me!”
And, having opened his big register, the geographer sharpened his pencil. The recitals of explorers are put down first in pencil. One waits until the explorer has furnished proofs, before putting them down in ink.
“Well?” said the geographer expectantly.
“Oh, where I live,” said the little prince, “it is not very interesting. It is all so small. I have three volcanoes. Two volcanoes are active and the other is extinct. But one never knows.”
“One never knows,” said the geographer.
“I have also a flower.”
“We do not record flowers,” said the geographer.
“Why is that? The flower is the most beautiful thing on my planet!”
“We do not record them,” said the geographer, “because they are ephemeral.”
“What does that mean– 'ephemeral'?”
“Geographies,” said the geographer, “are the books which, of all books, are most concerned with matters of consequence. They never become old-fashioned. It is very rarely that a mountain changes its position. It is very rarely that an ocean empties itself of its waters. We write of eternal things.”
“But extinct volcanoes may come to life again,” the little prince interrupted. “What does that mean– 'ephemeral'?”
“Whether volcanoes are extinct or alive, it comes to the same thing for us,” said the geographer. “The thing that matters to us is the mountain. It does not change.”
“But what does that mean– 'ephemeral'?” repeated the little prince, who never in his life had let go of a question, once he had asked it.
“It means, 'which is in danger of speedy disappearance.'”
“Is my flower in danger of speedy disappearance?”
“Certainly it is.”
“My flower is ephemeral,” the little prince said to himself, “and she has only four thorns to defend herself against the world. And I have left her on my planet, all alone!”
That was his first moment of regret. But he took courage once more.
“What place would you advise me to visit now?” he asked.
“The planet Earth,” replied the geographer. “It has a good reputation.”
And the little prince went away, thinking of his flower.
“三加二等于五。五加七等于十二。十二加三等于十五。你好。十五加七， 二十二。二十二加六，二十八。没有时间去再点着它。二十六加五，三十一。哎 哟！一共是五亿一百六十二万二千七百三十一。”
“我住在这个星球上五十四年以来，只被打搅过三次。第一次是二十二年前， 不知从哪里跑来了一只金龟子来打搅我。它发出一种可怕的噪音，使我在一笔帐 目中出了四个差错。第二次，在十一年前，是风湿病发作，因为我缺乏锻炼所致。 我没有功夫闲逛。我可是个严肃的人。现在……这是第三次！我计算的结果是五亿 一百万……”
“那当然。如果你发现了一颗没有主人的钻石，那么这颗钻石就是属于你的。 当你发现一个岛是没有主的，那么这个岛就是你的。当你首先想出了一个办法， 你就去领一个专利证，这个办法就是属于你的。既然在我之前不曾有任何人想到 要占有这些星星，那我就占有这些星星。”
“对我来说，如果我有一条围巾，我可以用它来围着我的脖子，并且能带走 它。我有一朵花的话，我就可以摘下我的花，并且把它带走。可你却不能摘下这 些星星呀！”
“我有一朵花，我每天都给她浇水。我还有三座火山，我每星期把它们全都 打扫一遍。连死火山也打扫。谁知道它会不会再复活。我拥有火山和花，这对我 的火山有益处，对我的花也有益处。但是你对星星并没有用处……”
但他自己猜想：“可能这个人思想不正常。但他比起国王，比起那个爱虚荣 的人，那个实业家和酒鬼，却要好些。至少他的工作还有点意义。当他点着了他 的路灯时，就象他增添了一颗星星，或是一朵花。当他熄灭了路灯时，就象让星 星或花朵睡着了似的。这差事真美妙，就是真正有用的了。”
小王子瞅着他，他喜欢这个点灯人如此忠守命令。这时，他想起了他自己从 前挪动椅子寻找日落的事。他很想帮助他的这位朋友。 “告诉你，我知道一种能使你休息的办法，你要什么时候休息都可以。”
“你的这颗行星这样小，你三步就可以绕它一圈。你只要慢慢地走，就可以 一直在太阳的照耀下，你想休息的时候，你就这样走……那么，你要白天又多长它 就有多长。”
“这个人一定会被其他那些人，国王呀，爱虚荣的呀，酒鬼呀，实业家呀， 所瞧不起。可是唯有他不使我感到荒唐可笑。这可能是因为他所关心的是别的事， 而不是他自己。”
“一点不错，”地理学家说，“但是我不是探察家。我手下一个探察家都没 有。地理学家是不去计算城市、河流、山脉、海洋、沙漠的。地理学家很重要， 不能到处跑。他不能离开他的办公室。但他可以在办公室里接见探察家。他询问 探察家，把他们的回忆记录下来。如果他认为其中有个探察家的回忆是有意思的， 那么地理学家就对这个探察家的品德做一番调查。”
“地理学书籍是所有书中最严肃的书。”地理学家说道，“这类书是从不会 过时的。很少会发生一座山变换了位置，很少会出现一个海洋干涸的现象。我们 要写永恒的东西。”