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The little prince
Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Chapter 1

Once when I was six years old I saw a magnificent picture in a book, called
True Stories from Nature, about the primeval forest. It was a picture of a boa
constrictor in the act of swallowing an animal. Here is a copy of the drawing.

In the book it said: “Boa constrictors swallow their prey whole, without
chewing it. After that they are not able to move, and they sleep through the
six months that they need for digestion.”
I pondered deeply, then, over the adventures of the jungle. And after some
work with a colored pencil I succeeded in making my first drawing. My Drawing
Number One. It looked like this:

I showed my masterpiece to the grown-ups, and asked them whether the
drawing frightened them.
But they answered: “Frighten? Why should any one be frightened by a
My drawing was not a picture of a hat. It was a picture of a boa constrictor
digesting an elephant. But since the grown-ups were not able to understand it,
I made another drawing: I drew the inside of the boa constrictor, so that the
grown-ups could see it clearly. They always need to have things explained. My
Drawing Number Two looked like this:



The grown-ups’ response, this time, was to advise me to lay aside my drawings of boa constrictors, whether from the inside or the outside, and devote
myself instead to geography, history, arithmetic and grammar. That is why, at
the age of six, I gave up what might have been a magnificent career as a painter.
I had been disheartened by the failure of my Drawing Number One and my
Drawing Number Two. Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves,
and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to
them. So then I chose another profession, and learned to pilot airplanes. I have
flown a little over all parts of the world; and it is true that geography has been
very useful to me. At a glance I can distinguish China from Arizona. If one
gets lost in the night, such knowledge is valuable.
In the course of this life I have had a great many encounters with a great
many people who have been concerned with matters of consequence. I have
lived a great deal among grown-ups. I have seen them intimately, close at hand.
And that hasn’t much improved my opinion of them.
Whenever I met one of them who seemed to me at all clear-sighted, I tried
the experiment of showing him my Drawing Number One, which I have always
kept. I would try to find out, so, if this w...
The little prince
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
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