[ Chapter 21 ] – the little prince befriends the fox
It was then that the fox appeared.
“Good morning,” said the fox.
“Good morning,” the little prince responded politely, although when he turned around he saw nothing.
“I am right here,” the voice said, “under the apple tree.”
“Who are you?” asked the little prince, and added, “You are very pretty to look at.”
“I am a fox,” said the fox.
“Come and play with me,” proposed the little prince. “I am so unhappy.”
“I cannot play with you,” the fox said. “I am not tamed.”
“Ah! Please excuse me,” said the little prince.
But, after some thought, he added:
“What does that mean– 'tame'?”
“You do not live here,” said the fox. “What is it that you are looking for?”
“I am looking for men,” said the little prince. “What does that mean– 'tame'?”
“Men,” said the fox. “They have guns, and they hunt. It is very disturbing. They also raise chickens. These are their only interests. Are you looking for chickens?”
“No,” said the little prince. “I am looking for friends. What does that mean– 'tame'?”
“It is an act too often neglected,” said the fox. It means to establish ties.”
“'To establish ties'?”
“Just that,” said the fox. “To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world…”
“I am beginning to understand,” said the little prince. “There is a flower… I think that she has tamed me…”
“It is possible,” said the fox. “On the Earth one sees all sorts of things.”
“Oh, but this is not on the Earth!” said the little prince.
The fox seemed perplexed, and very curious.
“On another planet?”
“Are there hunters on this planet?”
“Ah, that is interesting! Are there chickens?”
“Nothing is perfect,” sighed the fox.
But he came back to his idea.
“My life is very monotonous,” the fox said. “I hunt chickens; men hunt me. All the chickens are just alike, and all the men are just alike. And, in consequence, I am a little bored. But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life . I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not ea t bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the colour of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me bac k the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat…”
The fox gazed at the little prince, for a long time.
“Please– tame me!” he said.
“I want to, very much,” the little prince replied. “But I have not much time. I have friends to discover, and a great many things to understand.”
“One only understands the things that one tames,” said the fox. “Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me…”
“What must I do, to tame you?” asked the little prince.
“You must be very patient,” replied the fox. “First you will sit down at a little distance from me– like that– in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings. But yo u will sit a little closer to me, every day…”
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, then at three o'clock I shall begin to be happy. I shall feel happier and happier as the hour advances. At four o'clock, I shall already be worrying and jumping about. I shall show you how happy I am! But if you come at just any time, I shall never know at what hour my heart is to be ready to greet you… One must observe the proper rites…”
“What is a rite?” asked the little prince.
“Those also are actions too often neglected,” said the fox. “They are what make one day different from other days, one hour from other hours. There is a rite, for example, among my hunters. Every Thursday they dance with the village girls. So Thursday is a wonderful day for me! I can take a walk as far as the vineyards. But if the hunters danced at just any time, every day would be like every other day, and I should never have any vacation at all.”
So the little prince tamed the fox. And when the hour of his departure drew near–
“Ah,” said the fox, “I shall cry.”
“It is your own fault,” said the little prince. “I never wished you any sort of harm; but you wanted me to tame you…”
“Yes, that is so,” said the fox.
“But now you are going to cry!” said the little prince.
“Yes, that is so,” said the fox.
“Then it has done you no good at all!”
“It has done me good,” said the fox, “because of the color of the wheat fields.” And then he added:
“Go and look again at the roses. You will understand now that yours is unique in all the world. Then come back to say goodbye to me, and I will make you a present of a secret.”
The little prince went away, to look again at the roses.
“You are 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 are like my fox when I first knew him. He was only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But I have made him my friend, and now he is unique in all the world.”
And the roses were very much embarrassed.
“You are beautiful, but you are 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 is 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 she that I have sheltered behind the screen; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars (except the two or three that 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.
And he went back to meet the fox.
“Goodbye,” he said.
“Goodbye,” said the fox. “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
“What is essential is invisible to the eye,” the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.
“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”
“It is the time I have wasted for my rose–” said the little prince, so that he would be sure to remember.
“Men have forgotten this truth,” said the fox. “But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose…”
“I am responsible for my rose,” the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.
[ Chapter 22 ] – the little prince encounters a railway switchman
“Good morning,” said the little prince.
“Good morning,” said the railway switchman.
“What do you do here?” the little prince asked.
“I sort out travelers, in bundles of a thousand,” said the switchman. “I send off the trains that carry them; now to the right, now to the left.”
And a brilliantly lighted express train shook the switchman's cabin as it rushed by with a roar like thunder.
“They are in a great hurry,” said the little prince. “What are they looking for?”
“Not even the locomotive engineer knows that,” said the switchman.
And a second brilliantly lighted express thundered by, in the opposite direction.
“Are they coming back already?” demanded the little prince.
“These are not the same ones,” said the switchman. “It is an exchange.”
“Were they not satisfied where they were?” asked the little prince.
“No one is ever satisfied where he is,” said the switchman.
And they heard the roaring thunder of a third brilliantly lighted express.
“Are they pursuing the first travelers?” demanded the little prince.
“They are pursuing nothing at all,” said the switchman. “They are asleep in there, or if they are not asleep they are yawning. Only the children are flattening their noses against the windowpanes.”
“Only the children know what they are looking for,” said the little prince. “They waste their time over a rag doll and it becomes very important to them; and if anybody takes it away from them, they cry…”
“They are lucky,” the switchman said.
[ Chapter 23 ] – the little prince encounters a merchant
“Good morning,” said the little prince.
“Good morning,” said the merchant.
This was a merchant who sold pills that had been invented to quench thirst. You need only swallow one pill a week, and you would feel no need of anything to drink.
“Why are you selling those?” asked the little prince.
“Because they save a tremendous amount of time,” said the merchant. “Computations have been made by experts. With these pills, you save fifty-three minutes in every week.”
“And what do I do with those fifty-three minutes?”
“Anything you like…”
“As for me,” said the little prince to himself, “if I had fifty-three minutes to spend as I liked, I should walk at my leisure toward a spring of fresh water.”
“一点不错，”狐狸说。“对我来说，你还只是一个小男孩，就像其他千万 个小男孩一样。我不需要你。你也同样用不着我。对你来说，我也不过是一只狐 狸，和其他千万只狐狸一样。但是，如果你驯服了我，我们就互相不可缺少了。 对我来说，你就是世界上唯一的了；我对你来说，也是世界上唯一的了。”
“我的生活很单调。我捕捉鸡，而人又捕捉我。所有的鸡全都一样，所有的 人也全都一样。因此，我感到有些厌烦了。但是，如果你要是驯服了我，我的生 活就一定会是欢快的。我会辨认出一种与众不同的脚步声。其他的脚步声会使我 躲到地下去，而你的脚步声就会象音乐一样让我从洞里走出来。再说，你看！你 看到那边的麦田没有？我不吃面包，麦子对我来说，一点用也没有。我对麦田无 动于衷。而这，真使人扫兴。但是，你有着金黄色的头发。那么，一旦你驯服了 我，这就会十分美妙。麦子，是金黄色的，它就会使我想起你。而且，我甚至会 喜欢那风吹麦浪的声音……”
“只有被驯服了的事物，才会被了解。”狐狸说，“人不会再有时间去了解 任何东西的。他们总是到商人那里去购买现成的东西。因为世界上还没有购买朋 友的商店，所以人也就没有朋友。如果你想要一个朋友，那就驯服我吧！”
“应当非常耐心。”狐狸回答道，“开始你就这样坐在草丛中，坐得离我稍 微远些。我用眼角瞅着你，你什么也不要说。话语是误会的根源。但是，每天， 你坐得靠我更近些……”
“最好还是在原来的那个时间来。”狐狸说道，“比如说，你下午四点钟来， 那么从三点钟起，我就开始感到幸福。时间越临近，我就越感到幸福。到了四点 钟的时候，我就会坐立不安；我就会发现幸福的代价。但是，如果你随便什么时 候来，我就不知道在什么时候该准备好我的心情……应当有一定的仪式。”
“这也是一种早已被人忘却了的事。”狐狸说，“它就是使某一天与其他日 子不同，使某一时刻与其他时刻不同。比如说，我的那些猎人就有一种仪式。他 们每星期四都和村子里的姑娘们跳舞。于是，星期四就是一个美好的日子！我可 以一直散步到葡萄园去。如果猎人们什么时候都跳舞，天天又全都一样，那么我 也就没有假日了。”
“你们一点也不象我的那朵玫瑰，你们还什么都不是呢！”小王子对她们说。 “没有人驯服过你们，你们也没有驯服过任何人。你们就象我的狐狸过去那样， 它那时只是和千万只别的狐狸一样的一只狐狸。但是，我现在已经把它当成了我 的朋友，于是它现在就是世界上独一无二的了。”
“你们很美，但你们是空虚的。”小王子仍然在对她们说，“没有人能为你 们去死。当然罗，我的那朵玫瑰花，一个普通的过路人以为她和你们一样。可是， 她单独一朵就比你们全体更重要，因为她是我浇灌的。因为她是我放在花罩中的。 因为她是我用屏风保护起来的。因为她身上的毛虫（除了留下两三只为了变蝴蝶 而外）是我除灭的。因为我倾听过她的怨艾和自诩，甚至有时我聆听着她的沉默。 因为她是我的玫瑰。”
“只有孩子知道他们自己在寻找什么。”小王子说，“他们为一个布娃娃花 费不少时间，这个布娃娃就成了很重要的东西，如果有人夺走的他们的布娃娃， 他们就哭泣……”