CHAPTER 27 – BELLS

“I’m not sure if I understand,” I say. “Your laugh is a present?”

“People look at stars, but the stars mean different things to different people. For those who travel, the stars are guides. For others they are nothing, only small lights in the sky. For those who are scientists, they are problems. For my businessman, they are important because they make him rich. But all these stars are silent stars. For you, it’ll be different. You will have stars like no one else. When you look at the sky at night, there will be one star I will live on. And because I will laugh on one of these stars, it’ll be for you as if all the stars are laughing. You will have stars that can laugh.” And he laughed again.

“And when your sadness is smaller, and believe me time makes all the sadness smaller, you’ll be glad you have known me. You will always be my friend. You’ll want to laugh with me.

And sometimes you’ll open your window just for the fun of it. And your friends will be surprised to see you laughing when you look up at the sky. Then you will say to them, ‘Yes, the stars always make me laugh!’ And they’ll think you’re crazy. It’s a little trick I’ll play on you.”

And he laughed again.

“It’ll be as if I have given you, instead of stars, a lot of little bells that know how to laugh.” And he laughed again.

Suddenly, the little prince became serious again, “Tonight, don’t stay with me.”

“I won’t leave you,” I said.

“Tonight, I’ll look as if I’m suffering. I’ll look a little as if I’m dying. It’ll look like that. Don’t come to see that. It’s not worth seeing it.”

“I won’t leave you.”

But he was worried. He said, “It’s also because of the snake. He mustn’t bite you. Snakes are bad sometimes. They can bite you just for fun.”

“I won’t leave you.”

Then he said, “It’s also true that snakes have no poison for the second bite.”

That night I didn’t see him leave. He got away from me without making a sound. When I caught up with him, he was walking fast with determination.

He only said to me, “Ah! You are here.” And he took me by the hand. But he was still worrying.

“It’s wrong that you came. You’ll suffer. I’ll look as if I’m dead, and that won’t be true.”

I was silent.

“You understand. It’s too far. I can’t carry this body with me. It’s too heavy.”

I was silent.

“But it’ll be like an old empty shell. There is nothing sad about old shells.”

I kept silent.

He was a little discouraged. But he made one more effort, “It’ll be very nice, you know, I’ll look at the stars too. All the stars will be wells with a rope and a bucket. All the stars will pour out fresh water for me to drink.”

I was silent.

“It’ll be so much fun! You will have five hundred million little bells, and I’ll have five hundred million fountains.”

And he was silent too because he was crying.