One good thing about reading a book, aside of course, from making you asleep, is that your mind starts to work. You start to imagine like you’re one of the characters, and can relate to each scene in the plot. You create picturesque place from inks on papers. You begin to formulate theories and twists with your mind as you flip through the pages. You hypothesize about the denouement and utter “Sabi na nga ba” with the last leaf of the book. And sometimes, you have this What if’s running through your head. It’s like the Last Song Syndrome in music. With books, i call this brainworms. And yes, i just made up that word.
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery was my first book in South Korea. I bought it for 10,000 won (expensive noh?) which is equivalent to 500 pesos at Shin Shigae Mall. I was able to finish it in just one night which was my all-time record for reading a book in shortest time.( An average time for me to finish a book is two weeks.)
And as expected, I’ve got this Prince-hang- over and was attacked by these brainworms. Here’s an attempt for a decent book review.
I absolutely love the book. It has a very funny start on how grown-ups complicate things. Haha. And little by little, page by page, nuggets of wisdom are like baobabs sprouting, waiting to be eaten away by the sheep.
I was touched by the prince’s innocence and burning love for his rose. C’mon, who would never feel that with this poetic, romantic statement.
“….since she’s the one i’ve watered. since she’s the one i put under glass. since she’s the one i sheltered behind a screen. since she’s the one for whom i killed the caterpillars (except the two or three for butterflies). since she’s the one i listened to when she complained, or when she boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing at all. since she’s my rose.”
I just asked myself “bat nga ba ganun?” even if we love something or somebody, we sometimes feel that it wasn’t enough. Confusion, doubt and paranoia eclipse our hearts that we tend to make painful decisions. He should’nt leave his rose. She has only four ridiculous thorns to defend herself against the world.
And speaking of thorns, i now realize that the rose was a palpable metaphor of men and women who think that power, wealth and fame are the thorns. Or what they thought as sources of their strength, only to find out that these weapons are inutile if they had not “created ties”. Real strength is the love we’ve given and received from somebody. And that would certainly make us stand against vehement wind and cruel heat. Creating ties mean taming a rose. Nurturing a relationship.
And those cluster of asteriods refers to the persons we have in our society. We can easily spot a king who wants to reign in everything, a perfect politician. A vain man who wants attention and fame, a celebrity or just a soul beside you. And a hopeless drunkard. And a lamplighter who’s a blind follower of orders, and a self-centered businessman, or a geographer who’s afraid of exploration. Sino ka sa kanila?
If you can’t find the exact character of your self, maybe it’s because, hindi natin napapansin that, these asteriods are interchangeably orbiting in our own system. These are attitudes that we possess. Sometimes, we act as if we are kings and queens to those we feel inferior or less fortunate. We have this self-serving goals and boast all the feathers we have in our caps. There are points in our lives that we are lamplighters following the orders of our parents, teachers and bosses. And times when we feel hopeless over things and problems bombarding us. And there are moments when we are afraid of taking risks, of exploring the world beyond our zones. The lesson is, Responsibility. Decisions in our lives lie on our own hands. And the image that we have is the result of our actions, our future with these decisions.
Another interesting piece of this enchanting fable is the friendship the prince had with the wise fox. Truly, this pretty creature had so much wisdom beneath his fur. How i wish, we could all be fox-like in our attitude towards love and relationship. The fox risked crying and getting hurt since he knew that the prince won’t be staying for a long time. What mattered to him was the memories he’d have and definitely had the reason to smile whenever he sees wheat fields. We have REALLY forgotten this truth that goes beyond boundaries. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes. It’s the time we’ve spent with our loved ones. So what getting hurt? Memories last. As long as there is love.
De Saint-Exupery could have placed the fox in one of the planets in the story, but he chose not. Why did he make the fox wise and men absurd in the fable? I have this simple answer. Wisdom is rarely found. We are lucky if we have those kind of friends and luckier if we are fox enough to understand life.