I soon learned to know this flower better. On the little prince’s planet the flowers had always been very simple. They had only one ring of petals; they took up no room at all; they were a trouble to nobody. One morning they would appear in the grass, and by night they would have faded peacefully away. But one day, from a seed blown from no one knew where, a new flower had come up; and the little prince had watched very closely over this small sprout which was not like any other small sprouts on his planet. It might, you see, have been a new kind of baobab.
The shrub4 soon stopped growing, and began to get ready to produce a flower. The little prince, who was present at the first appearance of a huge bud, felt at once that some sort of miraculous apparition must emerge from it. But the flower was not satisfied to complete the preparations for her beauty in the shelter of her green chamber. She chose her colours with the greatest care. She adjusted her petals one by one. She did not wish to go out into the world all rumpled, like the field poppies. It was only in the full radiance of her beauty that she wished to appear. Oh, yes! She was a coquettish creature! And her mysterious adornment9 lasted for days and days.
Then one morning, exactly at sunrise, she suddenly showed herself.
And, after working with all this painstaking precision, she yawned and said:
“Ah! I am scarcely awake. I beg that you will excuse me. My petals are still all disarranged…”
But the little prince could not restrain his admiration:
“Oh! How beautiful you are!”
“Am I not?” the flower responded, sweetly. “And I was born at the same moment as the sun…”
The little prince could guess easily enough that she was not any too modest– but how moving– and exciting– she was!
“I think it is time for breakfast,” she added an instant later. “If you would have the kindness to think of my needs–“
And the little prince, completely abashed, went to look for a sprinkling-can of fresh water. So, he tended the flower.
So, too, she began very quickly to torment him with her vanity– which was, if the truth be known, a little difficult to deal with. One day, for instance, when she was speaking of her four thorns, she said to the little prince:
“Let the tigers come with their claws!”
“There are no tigers on my planet,” the little prince objected. “And, anyway, tigers do not eat weeds.”
“I am not a weed,” the flower replied, sweetly.
“Please excuse me…”
“I am not at all afraid of tigers,” she went on, “but I have a horror of drafts. I suppose you wouldn’t have a screen for me?”
“A horror of drafts– that is bad luck, for a plant,” remarked the little prince, and added to himself, “This flower is a very complex creature…”
“At night I want you to put me under a glass globe. It is very cold where you live. In the place I came from–“
But she interrupted herself at that point. She had come in the form of a seed. She could not have known anything of any other worlds. Embarassed over having let herself be caught on the verge of such a nae untruth, she coughed two or three times, in order to put the little prince in the wrong.
“I was just going to look for it when you spoke to me…”
Then she forced her cough a little more so that he should suffer from remorse just the same.
So the little prince, in spite of all the good will that was inseparable from his love, had soon come to doubt her. He had taken seriously words which were without importance, and it made him very unhappy.
“I ought not to have listened to her,” he confided to me one day. “One never ought to listen to the flowers. One should simply look at them and breathe their fragrance. Mine perfumed all my planet. But I did not know how to take pleasure in all her grace. This tale of claws, which disturbed me so much, should only have filled my heart with tenderness and pity.”
And he continued his confidences:
“The fact is that I did not know how to understand anything! I ought to have judged by deeds and not by words. She cast her fragrance and her radiance over me. I ought never to have run away from her… I ought to have guessed all the affection that lay behind her poor little strategems. Flowers are so inconsistent! But I was too young to know how to love her…”
很快我就进一步了解了这朵花儿。在小王子的星球上，过去一直都生长着一些只有一层花瓣的很简单的花。这些花非常小，一点也不占地方，从来也不会去打搅任何人。她们早晨在草丛中开放，晚上就凋谢了。不知从哪里来了一颗种子，忽然一天这种子发了芽。小王子特别仔细地监视着这棵与众不同的小苗：这玩艺说不定是一种新的猴面包树。但是，这小苗不久就不再长了，而且开始孕育着一个花朵。看到在这棵苗上长出了一个很大很大的花蕾，小王子感觉到从这个花苞中一定会出现一个奇迹。然而这朵花藏在它那绿茵茵的房间中用了很长的时间来打扮自己。她精心选择着她将来的颜色，慢慢腾腾地妆饰着，一片片地搭配着她的花瓣，她不愿象虞美人那样一出世就满脸皱纹。她要让自己带着光艳夺目的丽姿来到世间。是的，她是非常爱俏的。她用好些好些日子天仙般地梳妆打扮。然后，在一天的早晨，恰好在太阳升起的时候，她开放了。 她已经精细地做了那么长的准备工作，却打着哈欠说道： “我刚刚睡醒，真对不起，瞧我的头发还是乱蓬蓬的…” 小王子这时再也控制不住自己的爱慕心情： “你是多么美丽啊！” 花儿悠然自得地说： “是吧，我是与太阳同时出生的…” 小王子看出了这花儿不太谦虚，可是她确实丽姿动人。 她随后又说道：“现在该是吃早点的时候了吧，请你也想着给我准备一点…” 小王子很有些不好意思，于是就拿着喷壶，打来了一壶清清的凉水，浇灌着花儿。 于是，就这样，这朵花儿就以她那有点敏感多疑的虚荣心折磨着小王子。例如，有一天，她向小王子讲起她身上长的四根刺： “老虎，让它张着爪子来吧！” 小王子顶了她一句：“在我这个星球上没有老虎，而且，老虎是不会吃草的”。 花儿轻声说道：“我并不是草。” “真对不起。” “我并不怕什么老虎，可我讨厌穿堂风。你没有屏风？” 小王子思忖着：“讨厌穿堂风…这对一株植物来说，真不走运，这朵花儿真不大好伺候…” “晚上您得把我保护好。你这地方太冷。在这里住得不好，我原来住的那个地方…” 但她没有说下去。她来的时候是粒种子。她哪里见过什么别的世界。她叫人发现她是在凑一个如此不太高明的谎话，她有点羞怒，咳嗽了两三声。她的这一招是要小王子处于有过失的地位，她说道： “屏风呢？” “我这就去拿。可你刚才说的是…” 于是花儿放开嗓门咳嗽了几声，依然要使小王子后悔自己的过失。 尽管小王子本来诚心诚意地喜欢这朵花，可是，这一来，却使他马上对她产生了怀疑。小王子对一些无关紧要的话看得太认真，结果使自己很苦恼。 有一天他告诉我说：“我不该听信她的话，绝不该听信那些花儿的话，看看花，闻闻它就得了。我的那朵花使我的星球芳香四溢，可我不会享受它。关于老虎爪子的事，本应该使我产生同情，却反而使我恼火…” 他还告诉我说： “我那时什么也不懂！我应该根据她的行为，而不是根据她的话来判断她。她使我的生活芬芳多彩，我真不该离开她跑出来。我本应该猜出在她那令人爱怜的花招后面所隐藏的温情。花是多么自相矛盾！我当时太年青，还不懂得爱她。”