CHAPTER 2 – SHEEP
The first night I fell asleep 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 rubbed my eyes. I looked around. And I saw a very unusual little man who was looking at me very seriously. This is the best picture which I later managed to make of him.
But my drawing, of course, is much less fascinating than the original model. It’s not my fault. I was discouraged 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 figure with my eyes full of surprise. Don’t forget that I was a thousand miles from any land with people. And yet this little man didn’t seem to be tired, hungry, thirsty or scared. He didn’t look like a child 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.”
The whole situation was very strange but I took a sheet of paper and a pen out of my pocket. But 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 replied, “It doesn’t matter. Draw me a sheep.”
“But I have never drawn a sheep. How can I draw one now?” I thought to myself. So I drew him one of two drawings which I was able to draw. It was a big snake from the outside. And I was shocked to hear the little man reply, “No, no, no! I don’t want an elephant inside a big snake. A big snake is a very dangerous creature, 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 drawing.
He looked at it carefully, then he said, “No. This sheep is already very ill. Make me another.”
So I made another drawing.
My friend smiled gently at me, “You have to see it too. This isn’t a sheep. It’s a ram. It has horns.”
So then I made another drawing.
But it was rejected too, just like the others.
“This one is too old. I want a sheep who will live a long time.”
Then, for lack of patience, because I was in a hurry to start repairing my engine, I quickly drew this drawing.
And I said, “That’s a box. The sheep you want is inside.”
I was very surprised to see the face of my young judge get lighter, “That’s exactly how I wanted it! Do you think the sheep will need a lot of grass?“
“Because where I live, everything is very small.”
„There will surely be enough grass for it. I gave you a very small sheep.“
He bent his head over the drawing, “Not so small. Look! The sheep has gone to sleep.”
And that is how I met the little prince.