It took me a long time to learn where he came from. The little prince, who asked me so many questions, never seemed to hear the ones I asked him. It was from words dropped by chance that, little by little, everything was revealed to me.
The first time he saw my airplane, for instance (I shall not draw my airplane; that would be much too complicated for me), he asked me:
“What is that object?”
“That is not an object. It flies. It is an airplane. It is my airplane.”
And I was proud to have him learn that I could fly.
He cried out, then:
“What! You dropped down from the sky?”
“Yes,” I answered, modestly.
“Oh! That is funny!”
And the little prince broke into a lovely peal of laughter, which irritated me very much. I like my misfortunes to be taken seriously.
Then he added:
“So you, too, come from the sky! Which is your planet?”
At that moment I caught a gleam of light in the impenetrable mystery of his presence; and I demanded, abruptly:
“Do you come from another planet?”
But he did not reply. He tossed his head gently, without taking his eyes from my plane:
“It is true that on that you can’t have come from very far away…”
And he sank into a reverie, which lasted a long time. Then, taking my sheep out of his pocket, he buried himself in the contemplation of his treasure.
You can imagine how my curiosity was aroused by this half-confidence about the “other planets.” I made a great effort, therefore, to find out more on this subject.
“My little man, where do you come from? What is this ‘where I live,’ of which you speak? Where do you want to take your sheep?”
After a reflective silence he answered:
“The thing that is so good about the box you have given me is that at night he can use it as his house.”
“That is so. And if you are good I will give you a string, too, so that you can tie him during the day, and a post to tie him to.”
But the little prince seemed shocked by this offer:
“Tie him! What a queer idea!”
“But if you don’t tie him,” I said, “he will wander off somewhere, and get lost.”
My friend broke into another peal of laughter:
“But where do you think he would go?”
“Anywhere. Straight ahead of him.”
Then the little prince said, earnestly:
“That doesn’t matter. Where I live, everything is so small!”
And, with perhaps a hint of sadness, he added:
“Straight ahead of him, nobody can go very far…”
我费了好长时间才弄清楚他是从哪里来的。小王子向我提出了很多问题，可是，对我提出的问题，他好象压根没有听见似的。他无意中吐露的一些话逐渐使我搞清了他的来历。例如，当他第一次瞅见我的飞机时（我就不画出我的飞机了，因为这种图画对我来说太复杂），他问我道： “这是个啥玩艺？” “这不是‘玩艺儿’。它能飞。这是飞机。是我的飞机。” 我当时很骄傲地告诉他我能飞。于是他惊奇地说道： “怎么？你是从天上掉下来的？” “是的”。我谦逊地答道。 “啊？这真滑稽。” 此时小王子发出一阵清脆的笑声。这使我很不高兴。我要求别人严肃地对待我的不幸。然后，他又说道： “那么，你也是从天上来的了！你是哪个星球上的？” 即刻，对于他是从哪里来的这个秘密我隐约发现到了一点线索；于是，我就突然问道： “你是从另一个星球上来的吗？” 可是他不回答我的问题。他一面看着我的飞机，一面微微地点点头，接着说道： “可不是么，乘坐这玩艺儿，你不可能是从很远的地方来的…” 说到这里，他就长时间地陷入沉思之中。然后，从口袋里掏出了我画的小羊，看着他的宝贝入了神。 你们可以想见这种关于“别的星球”的若明若暗的话语使我心里多么好奇。因此我竭力地想知道其中更多的奥秘。 “你是从哪里来的，我的小家伙？你的家在什么地方？你要把我的小羊带到哪里去？” 他沉思了一会，然后回答我说： “好在有你给我的那只箱子，夜晚可以给小羊当房子用。” “那当然。如果你听话的话，我再给你画一根绳子，白天可以栓住它。再加上一根扦杆。” 我的建议看来有点使小王子反感。 “栓住它，多么奇怪的主意。” “如果你不栓住它，它就到处跑，那么它会跑丢的。” 我的这位朋友又笑出了声： “你想要它跑到哪里去呀？” “不管什么地方。它一直往前跑…” 这时，小王子郑重其事地说： “这没有什么关系，我那里很小很小。” 接着，他略带伤感地又补充了一句： “一直朝前走，也不会走出多远…”