In 1943, which author and pilot wrote The Little Prince?
And the answer: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
Born into a French aristocratic family in 1900, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry developed a love of flying as a child. In adulthood, he flew planes for a mail carrier between France and North Africa. He also wrote stories about pilots, including the best-selling book The Little Prince.
Some 75 years after its inception, The Little Prince remains a well-loved philosophical probe into love, friendship, isolation, and fear. Today, it's one of the most translated books in history, with translations in over 345 languages. More than anything else, The Little Prince is a reminder, and a recognition, of the wonders of a childlike brain.
The story begins with a crash in the Sahara Desert. This crash was a personal experience for Saint-Exupéry, as he experienced the very event during his time as a pilot. In fact, much of the story is drawn from Saint-Exupéry's personal experience and consequential ruminations on life. However, he didn't write the story to tell readers about his life. Rather, Saint-Exupéry created The Little Prince to remind readers what they'd lost. His own brush with death reminded him what was truly important – the forgotten lessons of his childhood. So, beside a crashed plane in the Sahara Desert, the narrator comes face to face with a golden haired little boy, about to share his incredible story: the Little Prince.
Before landing on Earth, the Little Prince lived on his own planet, Asteroid B-612. It was a tiny place to live, even for someone as small as the Prince. Each day, he tended to his rose – once a little sprout, the flower bloomed under his care and the two fell in love. However, the Prince was driven away by the vanity of the flower – unknowingly, he was driven away by her own attempt to love. One day, the Prince catches a ride on a flock of geese, and runs away.
The ensuing story follows the Little Prince as he flies from planet to planet, asteroid to asteroid, seeking company and understanding. In the end, The Little Prince is the perfect children's story for adults. Not only does it exist as a parody of so much of the reality we are told to accept as we grow up, it asks us to use a tool so many of us forget we have: our imagination. Listen to a narration of the timeless story below.