My (too short) vacation this year did not have any literary connection. So imagine my surprise when I met this little man:
The first night, then, I went to sleep on the sand, a thousand miles from any human habitation. I was more isolated than a shipwrecked sailor on a raft in the middle of the ocean. Thus you can imagine my amazement, at sunrise, when I was awakened by an odd little voice. It said:
“If you please– draw me a sheep!”
“Draw me a sheep!”
I jumped to my feet, completely thunderstruck. I blinked my eyes hard. I looked carefully all around me. And I saw a most extraordinary small person, who stood there examining me with great seriousness.
Let me back this story by saying that husband and I, while we don’t have “our song”, we do have “our book”, and it’s Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince. A couple of weeks ago, we were vacationing in Madeira and we were lucky enough to see our book transformed into wall and door art. All the important details were there. The fox:
“To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world…”
The fifth planet was very strange. It was the smallest of all. There was just enough room on it for a street lamp and a lamplighter. The little prince was not able to reach any explanation of the use of a street lamp and a lamplighter, somewhere in the heavens, on a planet which had no people, and not one house. But he said to himself, nevertheless: “When he lights his street lamp, it is as if he brought one more star to life, or one flower. When he puts out his lamp, he sends the flower, or the star, to sleep. That is a beautiful occupation. And since it is beautiful, it is truly useful.”
The sheep, the baobab, and the snake:
“Oh! I understand you very well,” said the little prince. “But why do you always speak in riddles?”
“I solve them all,” said the snake.
And they were both silent.
And more still:
The painting was part of an art project transforming walls and doors in historical Funchal into art pieces. You can find more about the project The arT of oPEn doORs here and more pictures of this painting by Francisco J. V. Fernandes and Maria Luisa Freitas Spinola (to be seen at the following address: Travessa do Pimenta, 7) here.
Quotes taken from this online version of The Little Prince (translator not stated).