CHAPTER 2 – SHEEP
The first night I slept on the sand a thousand miles from any land with people. I was more isolated than a sailor on a raft in the middle of the ocean. So you can imagine my surprise, when a funny little voice woke me up in the morning. It said, “Please, draw me a sheep!”
“Draw me a sheep!”
I jumped to my feet as if I was hit by lightning. I looked around. And I saw a very unusual little man who was looking at me very seriously. This is the best picture of him which I later was able to make.
But my picture, of course, is much less fascinating than the original model. It’s not my mistake. I was stopped in my career as a painter by the adults at the age of six. And I never learnt to draw anything, except snakes from the outside and snakes from the inside.
I looked at this little man with my eyes full of surprise. Don’t forget that I was a thousand miles from any land with people. It was interesting to see that this little man didn’t look tired, hungry, thirsty or scared. He didn’t look like a child who was lost in the middle of the desert, a thousand miles from any land with people.
When I finally managed to speak, I said to him, “What are you doing here?”
He repeated, very slowly and very seriously, “Please draw me a sheep.”
It was all strange to me. I was a thousand miles from any place with people. I was in danger of death, but I took a piece of paper and a pen out of my pocket. I wanted to draw him a picture. Then I remembered that I mostly studied geography, history, maths and grammar, and I told the little man that I did not know how to draw.
He said, “It doesn’t matter. Draw me a sheep.”
But I never drew a sheep. So I drew him one of only two pictures which I was able to draw. It was a big snake from the outside. And I was shocked to hear the little man say, “No, no, no! I don’t want an elephant inside a big snake. A big snake is a very dangerous animal, and an elephant takes a lot of space. Where I live, everything is very small. I need a sheep. Draw me a sheep.”
So then I made a picture.
He looked at it carefully, then he said, “No. This sheep is already very ill. Make me another.”
So I made another picture.
My friend smiled gently at me, “You have to see it too. This is not a sheep. It’s a ram. It has horns.”
So then I made another picture.
But it wasn’t good either.
“This sheep is too old. I want a sheep which will live a long time.”
At that moment, my patience was gone, because I was in a hurry to start repairing my engine, I quickly drew this picture.
And I said, “That’s a box. The sheep which you want is inside.”
I was very surprised when I saw the light in the face of the young man, “This is exactly how I wanted it! Do you think that the sheep will need a lot of grass?”
“Because where I live, everything is very small.”
“I believe that there will be enough grass for it. I gave you a very small sheep.”
He looked closely at the picture, “It is not very small. Look! It is sleeping now.”
And this is how I met the little prince.