CHAPTER 21 – TRAINS

“Good morning,” said the little prince.

“Good morning,” said the railway switchman.

“What do you do here?” the little prince asked.

“I sort out the travellers,” said the switchman. “I sort out the trains that carry them. I send some to the right, some to the left.

And a brightly lit express train shook the switchman’s cabin as it passed by at high speed.

“They are in a great hurry,” said the little prince. “What are they looking for?”

“Not even the locomotive engineer knows that,” said the switchman.

And a second brightly lit express train passed by, in the opposite direction.

“Are they coming back already?” asked the little prince.

“They’re not the same,” said the switchman. “These are different people. They’re coming back.”

“They weren’t satisfied where they were?”

“People are never satisfied where they are,” said the switchman.

 

And a third brightly lit express train passed by.

“Are they chasing the first travellers?” asked the little prince.

“They aren’t chasing anything,” said the switchman. “They’re sleeping or they’re yawning. Only the children are pressing their noses against the windows.”

“Only the children know what they are looking for,” said the little prince. “They spend their time playing with toys, and they become very important to them. And if anybody takes the toys away from them, they cry.”

“They’re lucky,” the switchman said.

The little prince continued on his journey.

“Good morning,” said the little prince when he met a businessman.

“Good morning,” said the businessman. He was a businessman who sold pills that helped you when you were thirsty. If you swallowed one pill a week, you wouldn’t feel any need to drink.

“Why are you selling these pills?” asked the little prince.

“Because they save a lot of time,” said the businessman. “Experts have calculated that these pills can save fifty-three minutes a week.”

“And what do you do with those fifty-three minutes?”

“Whatever you like.”

“If I had fifty-three minutes to spend as I liked,” the little prince said to himself, “I’d walk very slowly toward a fountain.”


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