CHAPTER 20 – SECRET

The next day the little prince returned.

“It is better if you return at the same hour,” said the fox. “If you come, for example, at four in the afternoon, then at three I will begin to be happy. I will feel happier and happier, the closer it is to four. At four I will be very excited. I will show you how happy I am.

But if you come at any time, I will never know at what time my heart should be ready for you. There have to be some rules.”

“Why?’

“The rules are important. They make one day different from other days, one hour from other hours. For example, hunters have their rules too. They dance with the village girls every Thursday. So Thursday is a wonderful day. I can walk into the village easily. If the hunters danced at any time, the days would all be the same for me, and I would have no holiday.

So the little prince spent some time with the fox every day. And when the hour of his departure was near, the fox said, “Ah! I’m sad. I will cry.”

“It’s your mistake,” said the little prince, “I never wanted to hurt you, but you wanted me to stay with you.”

“Yes, of course,” said the fox.

“But you will cry!” said the little prince.

“Yes, of course,” said the fox.

“Then you get nothing out of it!”

“I get something,” said the fox, “the colour of the corn helps me get something.”

Then he added, “Go and look again at the roses. You will understand now that your rose is special in all the world. Then come back to say goodbye to me, and I will give you a present. The present will be a secret.

The little prince went to look at the roses again.

“You’re not like my rose. You’re nothing to me at the moment,” he told them. “Nobody is connected to you and you’re connected to nobody. You’re like my fox when I first met him. He was only a fox like a hundred thousand others. But he’s my friend now, and he’s special in all the world.”

Then he continued, “You’re lovely, but you are empty. Nobody would die for you. Of course, to somebody who only walked around my rose, my rose would look exactly like you. But my rose is more important to me than all the hundreds of other roses because she’s the rose who I gave water. She’s the rose who I put under glass. For her I killed the caterpillars, except two or three which we saved to become butterflies. Because she’s the rose who I listened to when she complained, or when she was proud, or when she said nothing. Because she is my rose.”

And he returned to the fox.

“Goodbye,” he said.

“Goodbye,” said the fox. “Here is my secret. It’s quite simple. You can see clearly only with the heart. What is important, eyes can’t see.”

“What is important, eyes can’t see,” repeated the little prince. He wanted to remember this secret.

“It’s the time which you spent with your rose which makes your rose so important.”

“It’s the time which I spent with my rose…” said the little prince.

“People forgot this truth,” said the fox. “But you mustn’t forget it. You are responsible, forever, for something what you’re connected to. You’re responsible for your rose.”

“I’m responsible for my rose,” the little prince repeated.