To part 3
The lively well which seems to have come from a village of a fairy tale is in stark contrast with the Sahara Desert. They pull water up from the magical well. The pulley is singing and the sun flickers in the trembling water in the bucket – a well of light, a source of hope arising from faith. “I am thirsty for this water” says the Little Prince and he is to drink first. After the pilot also quenches his thirst, the protagonist reminds him of his promise to draw a muzzle for his sheep to keep it from eating the rose. The picture is finished – incompletely, as it turns out later – and the pilot senses that the Little Prince has secret plans. He learns that the anniversary of the protagonist’s arrival on Earth is approaching, which is a perfect opportunity for him to return to his rose on his asteroid over the desert. He will set off on his journey near the well, so he spends the night there.
The next day the pilot sees the Little Prince sitting on top of the old stone wall (the division between hope and love) near the well talking to a venomous serpent – whom he met upon arriving on Earth. His return home is only possible with the ambiguous help of the snake. It is a terrible ordeal: he has to die (or “I shall look as if I were suffering. I shall look a little as if I were dying”) from venomous snake bite. The pilot cannot stop the Little Prince’s plan. He is also preparing to go home as he succeeded in repairing the plane’s engine (synchronicity).
The doctrines of the esoteric tradition have long proclaimed the science of the “golden death” and of “dying to life” when an individual leaves behind, kills his earthly self and parts with his mundane burdens and chains. “I cannot carry this body with me. It is too heavy” says the Little Prince. The physical death is only an analogy for the “death” of our earthliness, but the two can coincide. Here the story of the Little Prince matches the Gospels’ descriptions of the Mystery of Golgotha. The texts provide a horrific description of the crucifixion and the blood-drenched dread leading up to it. One has to descend deep down to make the magnificent resurrection as complete and cathartic as possible.
The last words of the Little Prince stress his responsibility towards his rose. Then the sun-colored snake – with a flash of yellow – provides his healing venom for the tiny man seeking to leave Earth behind and go home. Since for the Little Prince, due to his innocence and purity, the snakebite is a loving kiss (after Mikhail Naimy). The serpent plays a similar role to Judas (and as the name indicates, Judaism) with his kiss in the Mystery of Golgotha. Without it the mystical resurrection could not be completed.
The Little Prince does not only go home to his asteroid, but enters the realm of Love.
Years after the events the pilot accounts from home that: “But I know that he did go back to his planet, because I did not find his body at daybreak. It was not such a heavy body…”
When darkness (fear, doubt, bleakness) vanishes and the sun shines over a New Day in the desert – the death row of life – the miracle of the Gospels is repeated: the body of the resurrected disappears from Earth. Once from a cave, now from the desert at night. This is a sign of transfiguration, of “dying to life.”
The sheep drawn for the Little Prince has an enigmatic role in the tale. When the protagonist meets the pilot at dawn, he wakes him up with this request: “If you please ‒ draw me a sheep!” The astonishing request coming at an unexpected place and time from a surprising creature is a wake-up call for the sleeping man. It jolts him out of his dream, his thoughts, his “favorite” problems and gives him a new perspective.
The sheep “locked in” or hiding in a box is the Little Prince himself – thus it is no surprise that this is the drawing he likes – as the sheep is the earliest and most prominent symbol of Jesus Christ (God’s lamb). As the tame, guileless animal is offered in sacrifice in the faith of the Old Testament, so is Jesus Christ offered in the miracle of resurrection. The Little Prince also makes sacrifices for his rose, which is hidden inside him as the metaphor of the sheep in the box. This magical flower locked in his body is the heart of the rose and the rose of the heart – The Rose.
But why is the Little Prince worried that the sheep will eat his rose upon returning home? Another fear – doubt – joins this one, coming from the pilot in the epilog of the tale. He realizes that he forgot to add the leather strap to the muzzle he drew for the sheep, thus it is useless (the lack of attention and awareness). If the Little Prince forgets to shut his rose under the glass globe, the sheep can eat it in a second. The sheep is also a twofold symbol in this sense: it is a tame animal, but its teeth pose a threat to edible plants, even to those with thorns. While wandering in the desert the Little Prince – as a “lamb” – was afraid that he might quarrel again with his rose, which is why he asked for the drawing as a protective shield. He could not have known what his self-sacrifice will result in – what changes the phase of Love will bring. Upon returning from the desert the pilot did not pass the phase of Faith, which means he sometimes falls back into disbelief. He sometimes thinks about the issue of the muzzle with optimism, sometimes with despair. He asks the question, which is critical for many, based on his state of mind:
Look up at the sky. Ask yourselves: is it yes or no? Has the sheep eaten the flower? And you will see how everything changes…
And thus the unfinished story of the Little Prince leaves us looking up at the sky and into ourselves, never leaving us and compelling us to ponder over it. In this sense it is similar to the closing formulae of folktales which urge the readers or listeners to utilize the message of the story in their lives – internally, not externally.
There is a logical deficiency in the tale regarding the danger of the muzzle’s uselessness. Even if it was functioning, it would still depend on the Little Prince’s awareness to put it on the sheep at night. If he forgets, the sheep can eat the rose. If the Little Prince realizes that the muzzle is of no use, it will also depend on his awareness whether he forgets to shut his rose in the glass globe or not. Either way, his awareness is crucial. Even more so because he, in fact, is the sheep.
As he is the rose as well.
Image: Éva Budaházy
One must believe in revelation,
as one who does not know and does not have experiences,
first has to believe in order to know and experience. (…)
Where there is no reaction,
action inevitably stops. (…)
But the more faith we have, the more revelations come,
or truths, hidden in the dark,
now unfold, and can only flourish by our trust.
– Karl von Eckartshausen