It’s the time that you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important. (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)
I’m talking about the world’s most read book. St. Exupery’s “The Little Prince”. A book which sold over 200 million copies and was translated into more than 250 languages.
St. Exupery, who is a reserve military pilot, starts his book with an apology to children for dedicating his book to LÉON WERTH who is also a grown up. But then he corrects his dedication by ending the prologue with “À LÉON WERTH QUAND IL ÉTAIT PETIT GARÇON” (To Leon Werth when he was a little child).
St. Exupery’s plane breaks down in Sahara Desert. There he meets a “petit bonhomme”, namely “le petit prince”. Le petit prince comes from a very small planet or an asteroid with little volcanoes and his rose on it. He visits other planets who are inhabited by grown ups. He reveals in such a naive way how foolish grown ups can be.
The book contains many lessons that each one of us must take. In one part of the book the fox which the the little prince tames, gives a series of messages which in my humble opinion constitutes the heart of the book:
“On ne voit bien qu’avec le coeur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux” (One sees only through heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye)
“C’est le temps que tu as perdu pour ta rose qui fait ta rose si importante” (It’s the time you spend on your rose that makes your rose so important.)
With its deep messages it’s a book that also grown ups must read as well as children.
Turkey’s Struggle against the Little Prince
The book, however sparked a controversy in Turkey and was exposed to censor.
In chapter 4 St. Exupery mentions a turkish astronomer who discovered the little prince’s asteroid. But noone cares about his new discovery due to his dress. Around that time, the turkish dictator imposes death penalty on those who don’t dress up the western style. The astronomer shows up with his new outfit again, this time leading everyone to agree with him. This part of the book was removed for the aforementioned dictator was believed to be Atatürk. It was apparently mentioning the Hat Law which was introduced in 1925 and the law relating to the wearing of ‘Prohibited Garments in 1934. The reason why it triggered such big fuss was the fact that Atatürk, who is an adored leader in Turkey and is the founder of Repuclic of Turkey, was depicted as a dictator.
Antoine St. Exupery dies in a plane crash over the Mediterranean in 1944. Until the introduction of the Euro currency the writer’s portrait and the little prince appeared on 50-francs banknotes.