By Léo Azambuja
A long time ago, an aviator lost in the sand dunes of the Sahara Desert found a young blonde boy who had royal blood.
The boy, a prince in some other planet, told the aviator how he learned the meaning of the word “tame.” See, when the boy fell on Earth, he came across a fox, a very pretty one.
The fox was bored with his life; all he did was run from hunters and after chickens. Still, the fox refused to play with the boy. The fox said the boy was nothing to him, he was just like a hundred thousand other boys.
“But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life,” the fox told the boy. “I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow.”
The boy was moved, and though he said he wanted to tame the fox, he decline it saying he had “friends to discover, and a great many things to understand.”
The fox, a clever fellow, knew a little bit more about friendship than the boy, or most humans for that matter.
“One only understands the things that one tames,” said the fox. “Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me …”
And so the boy learned to tame the fox, and they cared for each other a great deal. Later, the boy had to leave Earth. As they said goodbye to each other, the fox gave the boy a little bit of wisdom.
“Goodbye,” said the fox. “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
The boy, the Little Prince indeed, was leaving to see the rose he had kept in his planet, a rose he had tamed and loved.
As the fox wisely put it, as they parted ways, “You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.”
So next time you consider yourself lonely, imagine the difference adopting — or taming — a dog or a cat would make in your life. They will know you better than anyone else, and you will become responsible for each other for the rest of your lives. They will truly be best friend you could ever have.
- This account is an open interpretation of a portion of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s book The Little Prince, originally published in 1943.