CHAPTER 4 – ASTEROID
I have serious reason to believe that the planet from which the little prince came is Asteroid B-612.
This asteroid was seen only once through the telescope. That was by a Turkish astronomer, in 1909.
He made a great demonstration of his discovery at the International Astronomical Congress. But nobody believed him because he was wearing Turkish clothes. Adults are like that.
Fortunately for the reputation of Asteroid B-612, a Turkish leader made a law, under penalty of death, that people should dress like Europeans. The astronomer made his demonstration for the second time in 1920.
He was wearing a very elegant suit. And this time everybody accepted his news.
I am telling you these details about Asteroid B-612 and I am telling you its number because adults like numbers. When you tell them that you have a new friend, they never ask you questions about important things. They never ask you, “What does his voice sound like? What games does he prefer? Does he collect butterflies?” They ask, “How old is he? How many brothers does he have? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?” Only from these numbers they think that they have learnt anything about him.
If you say to the adults, “I saw a beautiful house made of red brick, with beautiful flowers in the windows and birds on the roof,” they can’t imagine the house. You have to say to them, “I saw a house that cost one hundred thousand dollars.” Then they would say, “That’s a pretty house.”
So if you say to the adults, “The proof that the little prince existed is that he was cute, that he laughed, and that he wanted a sheep. If you want a sheep, it’s proof that you exist,” it won’t help them. They will shake their heads, and treat you like a child. But if you tell them, “The planet he came from is Asteroid B-612,” then they will be convinced. And they won’t ask you any questions.
They’re like that. We mustn’t blame them. Children should be very patient towards adults.
But, of course, we who understand life, we don’t care about numbers. We like to tell a story like a fairy tale. We like to say, “Once upon a time there was a little prince who lived on a planet hardly bigger than himself, and who needed a friend.” For those who understand life, it would sound much truer.