CHAPTER 17 – EARTH
The seventh planet is the Earth. The Earth is a very big planet. There are a hundred and eleven kings on Earth. There are also seven thousand geographers, nine hundred thousand businessmen, seven and a half million drunk men, three hundred and eleven million men who need to be admired. Together two billion adults live on this planet.
The Earth is really big. I want to show you how big the planet is. I want to give you one example. Before electricity, four hundred and sixty-two thousand, five hundred and eleven lamplighters work on Earth. These lamplighters have to turn on and turn off the lamps on six continents.
When you look at the Earth from some distance, you can see a beautiful show. The lamplighters are like the dancers in the opera. Their organization is perfect.
The lamplighters of New Zealand and Australia come first. They turn on their lamps. Then the lamplighters of China come, then the lamplighters of Russia and India, then the lamplighters of Africa and Europe, then the lamplighters of South America and of North America. And they never make a mistake. It is beautiful.
Only the lamplighter of one lamp at the North Pole, and his colleague at the South Pole, have easy lives. They work twice a year.
When I speak about the lamplighters, you can think that there are many people on Earth. Now I want to tell you more about people on Earth. People take very little space on Earth.
If the two billion people on Earth stand close together, they can all be in one square. The square is twenty miles long and twenty miles wide. You can put all people on a small island.
Of course, adults don’t believe this information. They think that they take a lot of space. They think that they are as important as the baobabs. But they can make their own calculation. They love numbers and they like to count.
But you don’t have to do it. It is not necessary. Believe me.
When the little prince comes on Earth, he is surprised. He is surprised because he doesn’t see any people.
He starts to think that he is on the wrong planet. But then he sees something in the sand.
“Good evening,” says the little prince.
“Good evening,” says the snake.
“What is this planet?” asks the little prince.
“It is the planet Earth. You are in Africa,” the snake says.
“Ah, are there no people on Earth?”
“This is the desert. There are no people in the desert,” says the snake.
The little prince sits down on a rock. He looks at the stars.
“Look at my planet,” the little prince says, “my planet is up there. But it is very far.”
“It is beautiful,” the snake says. “Why are you here?”
“I have some problems with a flower,” says the little prince.
“Ah!” says the snake. And he is quiet.