CHAPTER 12 – MOUSE

It was very interesting for the little prince. Such power impressed the little prince. If he had such power, he would have been able to watch the sunset, not forty-four times, but seventy-two, or even a hundred, or even two hundred times on the same day, without ever having to move his chair.

At that moment he remembered his little planet which he left, and he felt a little sad. That’s why he took his courage and asked the king for a favour, “I’d like to see a sunset. Do me a favour, please. Order the sun to set.”

When the little prince asked for a sunset, the king replied, “If I ordered a general to fly from one flower to another like a butterfly, or to write a tragedy, or to change into a sea bird, and if the general didn’t do it, whose fault would it be? The general’s or mine?”

“Your fault,” said the little prince quite firmly.

“Exactly, we must ask from others what others can do,” the king continued. “The control is first based on reason. If you order your people to jump into the sea, they will start a revolution. I have the right to control because my orders are reasonable.”

“And my sunset?” reminded the little prince, who never forgot a question once he asked it.

“You will have your sunset. I will order it. But according to my rules, I will wait until the conditions are right.”

“When will it be?” asked the little prince.

“Well! Well!” replied the king, and before saying anything he took a large calendar. “Well! It will be this evening at about twenty minutes to eight. And you’ll see that everything happens as I order.

The little prince yawned. He was sad that the conditions weren’t right for his sunset. Then he started to be a little bored.

“I have nothing more to do here,” he said to the king. “I’m gonna continue on my journey.”

“Don’t leave,” said the king, “I’ll make you my minister!”

“Minister of what?”

“Minister of justice.”

“But there is no one here to judge.”

“You never know,” said the king. “I haven’t explored the whole kingdom yet. I am very old. I am soon tired when I walk.”

“Oh, but I have already seen your kingdom,” said the little prince. He looked once more around the whole planet. “There’s nobody else on the planet.”

“Then you will judge yourself,” replied the king, “That’s the most difficult. It’s much more difficult to judge yourself than to judge others. If you manage to judge yourself well, it’s because you are really a wise man.

“But I can judge myself anywhere,” said the little prince. “I don’t need to live here.”

“Well! Well!” said the king. “I believe that somewhere on my planet there is an old mouse. I hear him at night. You can judge that old mouse. You can send him to prison from time to time. And his life will depend on your justice. But you will let him go from prison after some time because he is the only one we have.”

“I don’t like to send anyone to prison. And now I think I am going.”

“No,” said the king.

But the little prince have already completed his preparations. He didn’t want to make the old king sad. So he said, “If you wish to control others, you should give me a reasonable order. For example, you could order me to be gone by the end of this minute. It seems to me that the conditions are right.”

The king didn’t reply and the little prince hesitated at first. Then, with a sigh, he started to leave.

“I make you my ambassador,” the king quickly shouted after him. His control was really great.

“Adults are very strange,” the little prince said to himself as he continued on his journey.