The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Childhood is a time that brings us a lot of nostalgia, isn’t it? Discover how this children’s book can make you reflect on life and follow new directions.

Add to Favorites
Add to read
Mark as read

If we could define the book “The Little Prince”, written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, in one word, that word would be nostalgia.

And there is no more nostalgic time than our childhood. It’s impossible not to remember the virtues and innocence of children. We think of how these little people, who barely started their life’s journey, usually see the world with different eyes, with a much more enthusiastic vision.

Over the years, we lose many of these virtues and hope, we change our thinking, and, most of the time, that promising and colorful world of a child becomes the gray and hopeless world of an adult.

That’s where The Little Prince comes in. In this summary, we intend to show how a children’s fable addresses adult themes, making us reflect on how the thoughts we had as a child can be rescued today and help us follow new and encouraging directions.

So, let’s revisit this classic?

The book “The Little Prince”

Published in 1943, originally as “Le Petit Prince” (in French), “The Little Prince” is a timeless book, with teachings and reflections for all ages.

Translated into several languages and turned into a movie, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s work captivates people around the world by telling the story of a pilot who crashed his plane in the middle of the Sahara desert.

There, he meets the Little Prince, who tells him about his incredible journey, building lessons for the rest of his life.

Who was Antoine de Saint-Exupéry?

Born in Lyon, France, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1945) was a writer, painter, and pilot, three characteristics which, curiously, are reflected in the book The Little Prince.

For most of his life, the author was an airplane pilot, performing civilian and military flights. However, due to World War II, Saint-Exupéry fled to the United States, where he published some books. After some people saw his skill as a draftsman, they asked him to write a book for children.

And that’s how this children’s fable arose, with a story and message that continue to perpetuate to this day.

Why should I read “The Little Prince”?

The book “The Little Prince” is an inspiring story for all ages that will make you remember your childhood, bringing good memories and reflections about life.

That’s why we recommend this book to everyone. May you have new visions and learn from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s fable!

What can I learn from “The Little Prince”?

The book brings, throughout its 27 chapters and 91 pages, the following ideas:

Download the “The Little Prince” Book Summary in PDF for free

Do you have no time to read now? Then download the free PDF and read wherever and whenever you want:

[Book Summary] The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

From Childhood to the Desert

The book tells the story of a pilot (referred as “Pilot” in this summary, as in the book there is no mention of the pilot’s name, although all the evidence points to him being, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry himself), that since childhood had the desire to be a draftsman.

His first and most important drawing was:

Drawing made by the pilot - Book The Little Prince (page 7)

Source: Book "The Little Prince" (page 7)

After drawing it, he showed it to adults and asked what they thought it was, and he always got the same answer: “It's a hat”.

What people didn't realize, however, was that a child’s imagination has no limits and that when drawing, the author’s view was different. It wasn’t a hat, but an elephant swallowed by a boa constrictor. And for everyone to understand, he had to do a second drawing for people to understand:

Drawing made by the pilot - Book The Little Prince (page 8)

Source: Book "The Little Prince" (page 8)

However, his arts were always disdained, and his dream was discouraged, as, according to the adults, drawing would not bring a future, and he was told to focus on geography, history, mathematics, among others.

So, following these recommendations, that dreamy child became an airplane pilot, traveled the world, understood geography, and turned into an adult.

But he always walked with his drawing of the boa constrictor to ask people about what they thought the drawing was and, thus, find out if they thought like him, so that he could finally have an interesting conversation with someone.

One day, the pilot’s plane had a problem and crashed in the middle of the Sahara desert. With supplies for just eight days, he was trying to repair the plane. It was then that he heard a voice and everything changed. The voice said: “Draw me a sheep!”.

The Pilot turned and saw a figure. He had just met the Little Prince.

The Little Prince drawing - Book The Little Prince (page 11)

Source: Book "The Little Prince" (page 11)

Meeting the Little Prince

In doubt whether that boy was real or not, the Pilot tried to fulfill his strange request to draw a sheep and, after several attempts, managed to satisfy him. That’s how he got to know that little boy and understand where he came from.

By asking several questions and answering none, the Little Prince came from a small planet or, as we call it, an asteroid known as B-612.

The author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry narrates that this asteroid was discovered in 1909 by a Turkish astronomer, who had no credibility in its discovery simply because of the clothes he wore. But in 1920, the astronomer re-presented his discovery, this time in typical European clothing, and was recognized.

On this little planet, where the Little Prince was amazed to watch the sunset, he had a rose as his only companion. It was born suddenly and was very vain.

So, it demanded the best care to live well from the Prince and told him stories in which he didn’t fully believe.

One day, the boy decided to leave. He cleaned up the small planet, pulled out the bad plants that were being born, took care of the rose, and said goodbye.

Despite the difficulty of the farewell, the Little Prince took advantage of a flock of wild birds and set off on his journey.

Understanding his Journey

During his adventure, the Prince went through different planets seeking to know more places and have more knowledge.

Now, let’s the characters he met in each of these experiences told by the author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in his book “The Little Prince”:

The King

The first planet visited by the boy was inhabited by a single person, a king who, upon seeing the Little Prince, insisted on giving orders and stressed that they had to be followed always.

This king believed in reigning over all things, all places, and all stars, being a universal monarch. Thus, the Prince decides to test his power and asks the king to order the sun to set.

The king then explains to the boy that despite being an absolute king, his orders must be sensible. As quoted from the book:

"One must require from each one the duty which each one can perform. Accepted authority rests first of all on reason."

The Vain Man

The second planet was inhabited by a very vain man who lived only so that other people could admire and praise him. Even though he was the only person on that planet, his goal was to stand out for his beauty, intelligence, and wealth.

The Little Prince then asked: “I admire you. But what is there in that to interest you so much?”. And he moved on to the next planet.

The Drunk Man

On the third planet was a drunk man who, when asked by the boy about why he drinks, replies that he drinks only so that he can forget the shame of drinking.

And so, the Little Prince became more and more intrigued by how weird the grown-ups were.

The Businessman

Moving on to the next planet, the boy found a businessman. This man, who didn’t even raise his head to receive the prince, was focused only on counting the number of stars around him.

As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry tells in the book, upon receiving the boy’s question about why he counted the stars, the businessman replied that it was only to know the size of his possession and that owning the stars made him rich, even if he didn’t use them.

Realizing that the grown-ups were becoming stranger, The Little Prince remembers the things that surround him and how much he values them: the rose, the volcanoes, his little planet. And so, he follows his journey.

The Lamplighter

The fifth planet was very small and its only inhabitant was a lamplighter. His function was simple. At dusk, he should light the lamp, and, at dawn, he should put out it, because those were the orders.

There was only one problem: on this planet, the days took only a minute, which made the lamplighter exhausted from his constant work.

The Little Prince suggested that he walked around the planet, so he could always be on the side of the day and could rest.

However, the man’s desire was only to sleep, and that would make him not comply with the regulation. So, he continued his routine and the Prince left for the next planet.

The Geographer

The sixth planet was much larger than the others, but it was also habited by only one person, a geographer. This was a studious man who mapped the planets.

However, the boy realized that he didn’t even know if the planet itself had oceans and mountains. When questioning this, he had the following answer, as quoted from the book “The Little Prince”:

“But I am not an explorer. I haven't a single explorer on my planet.”

As a geographer, the man sat at his desk, waiting for the explorers to come and tell him about the territories to be mapped.

The Little Prince then asks for a suggestion on which planet to visit. The geographer suggests a large planet that, for him, had a good reputation: the Earth. The boy then goes on to the next stage of his journey.

Coming to Earth

Upon reaching Earth, the Little Prince realized that this planet was nothing like the others. It was a much larger planet, and there were many kings, drunk men, businessmen, geographers, vain men, and lamplighters.

However, he saw no one and his first contact was with a snake.

As narrated by author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in his book, “The Little Prince”, the snake explained to the boy that in the desert where he was, there was no one.

The snake also told the boy that it had the power to take people “farther than a ship” and that its touch could return everyone to the land they came from.

And the Prince, knowing this information, followed his journey. He crossed the desert and climbed mountains looking for men until he found a road and a garden full of roses.

Talking with them, he realized that his flower, which he thought was unique and of extreme value, was just an ordinary rose and that there were thousands like it.

Sad for his discovery, and wandering the planet, he met the fox. And it was in the conversation with the fox that the boy could have his greatest learning.

He understood the importance of captivating people. By doing so, this person becomes unique to you.

Before taming the fox, the Little Prince was nothing but an ordinary boy to it. But after, they created bonds, and these bonds transform relationships. By captivating and being captivated, we come to know things and people better.

The Little Prince tamed the fox and they had fun together, but one day, it was time to go, and the fox left a final lesson, as quoted:

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Thus, the prince understood that his rose was not any rose, because he had tamed her and had been tamed by her, which made her special and unique to him and, consequently, made him responsible for her. So, he continued his journey.

On his trip, the Little Prince met a railway switchman, who guided trains full of people who didn’t know what they wanted, and a salesman, who sold pills that made people never feel thirsty again, saving the time of the grown-ups.

Thus, eight days had passed when the Pilot was in the desert when the Little Prince finished telling his story of how he got there. And as the water was gone, they set out in search of a well.

After a long walk, they found water and were able to hydrate themselves. And it was at this moment that the Pilot discovered that it was time for the Prince to leave.

Back Home

The Little Prince had been wandering the Earth for a year and understood that it was time to return to his planet, to his flower.

He meets the snake again, who explains that its poison can take him home without feeling pain.

The boy tells the Pilot that he should leave, that it would be a difficult time because they had cultivated a beautiful friendship. As the fox said, both had been tamed. He says that he will leave, his body will remain, but he will not suffer.

And so it was. The Little Prince returned to his home after the bite of the snake, to take care of his flower, but left with the Pilot the certainty that whenever he looked at the stars, he would hear the boy’s sweet laugh.

As the author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry tells, the Pilot repaired his plane and also returned home. No one ever believed in his story of how he met the Little Prince.

But he knows that, many miles away, he is there taking care of his flower and cleaning up the bad plants of his planet, remembering the friends he tamed on his journey.

Books about self-knowledge

In the book “Discover Your True North”, the author Bill George advises us to follow our Internal Moral Compass, that is, who you are and your most sacred values: the vital markers you use to navigate through life.

According to the author Lynda Gratton in her book, “The 100-Year Life”, family, friends, health, and learning are the intangible ingredients, but necessary for a rich and rewarding life.

Finally, according to Tony Robbins, in his book “Unshakeable”, you need to donate: donate your money, attention, and time. Making contributions is what brings meaning to the lives of many people.

How can I apply the ideas from “The Little Prince”?

“The Little Prince” is not a simple book. The reflections made by the author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry are profound and make us think about several things.

While reading, we can learn many lessons:

  • The book itself is a great reflection on how we put our child’s thoughts aside and start thinking in a simple and hopeless way. The story brings us to the figure of the Little Prince, a symbol of hope. He doesn’t understand the contradictions of adult thoughts and symbolizes the child that we all still have within us;
  • The Turkish astronomer presents a reflection on judging people by appearances, just as the design of the boa constrictor and the elephant shows that “the essential is invisible to the eyes”;
  • The fox shows the importance of captivating, that is, creating bonds, and the responsibility we have for it, both in personal and professional life;
  • The king symbolizes the desire for power, but brings the teaching of being reasonable and that each one can only give what is within their capabilities;
  • The vain man shows that we should not depend on the praise of others and we should believe in our own abilities;
  • The drunk man alerts us to the vices we may face;
  • The businessman is so busy counting stars that he doesn’t enjoy what they can offer. They serve only as numbers for your possessions;
  • The lamplighter doesn’t question the orders so that he can improve his work, but remains dissatisfied;
  • The geographer represents the people who don’t run after their goals, as he is just waiting for the explorers to arrive with new information and, thus, is unable to make maps;
  • The railway switchman and the salesman make a reflection about adults always looking for more time, but not having a goal to follow;
  • And the pilot represents people who understand that it is never too late to pursue their dreams.

It is worth emphasizing that “The Little Prince” is a book open for interpretation, so some characters may have different meanings according to your interpretation.

But, the most important thing is that we can reflect on these meanings and use them in our lives, both personally and professionally.

Rate the book summary of “The Little Prince”

We hope you had a nice time reading this summary of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s work. Leave your opinion in the comments, your feedback is very important to us!

Also, you can purchase the book by clicking on the image below:

The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry