Happy Birthday, "Little Prince"!
On April 6, The Little Prince celebrates 70 years in print. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry first published The Little Prince in 1943, only a year before his Lockheed P-38 vanished over the Mediterranean. Born in Lyons, France, Saint-Exupéry wrote The Little Prince while living in the U.S. during a two-year, self-imposed exile from the Nazi occupation of his home country. A year after the book’s publication, the author disappeared over the Mediterranean while flying a reconnaissance mission for his French air squadron.
This enduring fable of love and loneliness has lost none of its power. The narrator is a downed pilot in the Sahara Desert, frantically trying to repair his wrecked plane. His efforts are interrupted one day by the apparition of a young boy (the little prince), who asks him to draw a sheep. "In the face of an overpowering mystery, you don't dare disobey," the narrator recalls. "Absurd as it seemed, a thousand miles from all inhabited regions and in danger of death, I took a scrap of paper and a pen out of my pocket." And so begins their dialogue, which stretches the narrator's imagination in all sorts of surprising, childlike directions.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s fable about the wise, humble boy from Asteroid B-612 who befriends the stranded pilot has touched the lives of multiple generations of readers worldwide, with more than 150 million copies in print, in 260 languages and dialects. There are graphic novel versions of the story, and a DVD opera version. There is even a Little Prince Facebook page,which has acquired more than 1.1 million fans since its July 2011 debut, a testament to The Little Prince’s enduring popularity.