Friday, April 13, 2007

My Tamed Rose


The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint - Exupery.
Chapter Twenty-One.

... this is the chapter when the little prince meets the fox ...

... here are some sentences i find so brilliant ...

Beginning of quote

'Come and play with me,' suggested the little prince. I am so terribly sad...'
'I cannot play with you,' said the fox. 'I am not tame.'
(...)
'What does "tame" mean?'
'It is something which is too often forgotten,' said the fox. 'It means to establish ties...'
' "To establish ties"?'
'That's right,' said the fox. 'To me, you are still just a little boy like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you have no need of me, either. To you, I am just a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, we shall need one another. To me, you will be unique. And I shall be unique to you.'
(...)
'My life is monotonous' (...) But if you tame me, my life will be full of sunshine. I shall recognise the sound of a step different from all others. The other steps send me hurrying underground. Yours will call me out of my burrow like the sound of music. And look yonder! Do you see the cornfields? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. Those cornfields don't remind me of anything. And I find that rather sad! But you have hair the colour of gold. So it will be marvellous when you have tamed me. Wheat, which is also golden, will remind me of you. And I shall love the sound of the wind in the wheat...'
(...)
'One can only understand the things one tames,' said the fox. 'Men have no more time to understand anything.They buy ready-made things in the shops. But since there are no shops where you can buy friends, men no longer have any friends. If you want a friend, tame me!
'What should I do?' 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 watch you out of the corner of my eye and you will say nothing. Words are a source of misunderstanding. But every day, you can sit a little closer to me...'
(...)
'You should (...) come back at the same time,' said the fox. 'If for example you come at four o'clock in the afternoon, I shall start feeling happy at three o'clock. As the time passes, I shall feel happier. At four o'clock, I shall become agitated and start worrying. I shall discover the price of happiness. But if you come at just any time, I shall never know when I should prepare my heart to greet you... One must observe certain rites.'
'What is a rite?' asked the little prince.
'It is something which is all too often forgotten,' said the fox. 'It is what makes one day different from other days, one hour different from other hours.'
(...)
Thus it was that the little prince tamed the fox. And when the time came for his departure, the fox said: 'Oh! ... I shall cry.'
'It is your own fault,' said the little prince. 'I wished you no harm but you wanted me to tame you.'
'Yes, indeed,' said the fox.
'But you are going to cry!' said the little prince.
'That is so,' said the fox.
'Then it has not helped you in any way!'
'It has helped me,' said the fox, 'because of the colour of the wheatfields.' Then he added: 'Go and have another look at the roses. And you will understand that yours is indeed unique in all the world. Then you will come back to say good bye to me and I shall tell you a secret as a gift.'
(...)
'It is only with one's heart that one can see clearly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.'
(...)
'Men have forgotten this basic truth,' said the fox. 'But you must not forget it. For what you have tamed, you become responsible forever. You are responsible for your rose...'

End of quote
[Italics are mine, I must add]

This picture of the rose at the beginning of this post is not a very good one. It is blurred. Out of focus. Still, this is the pic I took and that is what makes it and the flower unique. Yes, yes, this could be just an ordinary rose but because I liked it and wanted to take a photo of it, it has become unique. Simple.

Anything we encounter, touch, or tame, becomes unique. Anything we decide to "tame" , we become responsible for even if sometimes we fail to acknowledge this responsibility.

To Be Continued

4 comments:

shep said...

you are now responsible for this picture of a rose! but is that just empty, as it has no heart? It is much harder to be responsible for something with life, because you can love it, nurture it, hurt it, kill it. but it is your responsibility whatever choice you make.

as for the 'unique' you talk about, i sometimes wonder about the fragility of time as a linear dimension in space, and it always strikes me that each moment is uniquely different to everyone, however mundane (or extraordinary)we think it may be, but it is really only when we take control of what we see ourselves do we have a chance to understand this.

"Men have no more time to understand anything" is the most interesting statement of all here. I agree, somewhat, but i'd also say that "men don't have enough time to understand everything". somewhere in between is the balance where we all reside.

interesting though. the all excerpts read with emotion and feeling.

nightspy said...

hi, Shep. Very wisely written.
It is indeed much easier to be responsible for something without a heart, to "tame" something that cannot feel.
I have become very cautious and the choice I make is not to encounter, touch or tame anyone whom I can hurt or who can hurt me too. Love, nourish? I prefer not to try even I could.
...
and yes we do not have time to understand everything. Sometimes I feel I understand so little and it will take time and certain experiences to understand more.
...
Thank you for your valuable comment, Shep.

shep said...

i've looked up the definition of "tame", and Saint-Exupéry's definition as "to establish ties" really doesn't tie with anything i could find, or with what i personally thought the word meant. i wonder if some meaning has been lost in the translation to english?
---
we all make those choices as to who we want to encounter or not. it's something we're learning from the time we're born. call it a sense if you like.
But your caution reads like a soul hurt. That's okay, but don't stay in your shell too long ... for your own good.
as for 'love,nourish', don't try. it should be left to happen of its own accord, in its own good time.

nightspy said...

Thanks Shep.
I do not know French so I cannot say what was the original phrase. it is quite possible that some meaning got lost in translation.
Re the soul - hurt or not... I am taking it easy now. I am not thinking much about "love, nourish". It should happen of its own accord. Hopefully, the good time will come.