The Little Prince: Novel Summary :Section 26-27-Epilogue
Summary of Section XXVI
Next to the well is a ruin, and when the pilot returns the next evening, he overhears the little prince speaking to someone as he sits on a wall looking down. He says aloud that this is the right day, but it isn’t the exact place. He tells the someone that he will be there tonight; just follow his tracks. The little prince asks if the poison is good and fast and won’t make him suffer long. The pilot looks down at the foot of the wall and sees the snake, one of the kind that can kill a person in thirty seconds. He takes out his revolver, but the snake slips away. The little prince is pale, and the pilot makes him drink water. The boy’s heart is beating “like a dying bird’s” (p. 74). He says to the pilot he is glad he fixed his plane. The pilot is surprised he knows, for he had been coming to tell him that the repairs are complete. The little prince says he is leaving on this day too.
The pilot is holding the little prince but feels the boy in his arms is dropping into an abyss, and he cannot stop him. The little prince assures the pilot that he has the sheep and the muzzle. The pilot shudders to think he might never hear the little prince’s laugh again. This is the night the little prince’s star will be just above the place where he fell. The little prince begins speaking poetic comfort to the pilot telling him to look up at the stars at night. He gives a present to the pilot—he puts his laugh into the stars: “you’ll have stars like nobody else” (p. 77). The pilot will eventually be consoled and then he’ll be glad he knew the little prince, for they will always be friends.
He tells the pilot not to come that night because “It’ll look as if I’m suffering . . . dying” (p. 78). The pilot swears he won’t leave the little prince. The boy says even if it looks like he is dead, it is not true. His body is too heavy to take with him, and there is nothing sad about an old shell. He is weeping as the pilot puts him down. His last words are that he is responsible for his flower, and then there is a yellow flash close to his ankle, and he falls quietly to the sand.
Commentary on Section XXVI
The publishers did not like the idea of the little prince’s death in a children’s story, but Saint-Exupéry thought they could handle the facts of life. The inspiration for the little prince’s consolation about his body just being a shell supposedly came from the author’s own fourteen-year-old brother who died of a disease and said these brave words. The snake as the symbol of death is foreshadowed in the pilot’s drawing of the boa constrictor that swallows its prey whole. Death may appear frightening, but the little prince wants his friend to understand that death is not the reality. He is going back home to take care of his rose. The pilot should look up to remember the little prince’s star. He has given the gift of his laugh to make the stars special, as the little prince left the fox the color of his hair in the wheat.
Summary of Section XXVII
Now six years have passed, and the narrator is able to tell the story after his sadness has somewhat lessened. He knows the little prince got back to his planet because at daybreak he did not find his body. He also knows the little prince is all right because he can hear his laugh in the stars at night. He keeps wondering if the sheep ate the flower because he forgot to put on a leather strap for the muzzle in the drawing. When the pilot thinks of the sheep eating the flower, then the bells in the stars are changed to tears.
It is a mystery, but it matters terribly if the sheep has eaten the flower or not, and no grown-up will understand that.
Commentary on Section XXVII
The pilot has been changed by the relationship with the little prince. He sees life differently, and he cares whether or not he got back to his planet, and if the flower is all right. This would sound like nonsense to a grown-up but not to someone with imagination.
Summary of Epilogue
The pilot invites us to compare the drawing on this page with the drawing on the previous page. The previous drawing shows the prince falling on the desert after the snake has bitten him. His star is overhead. The drawing in the epilogue shows the empty desert and the star overhead, but no little prince. The narrator says, look at the landscape carefully, for if you travel to Africa and pass by here, wait under the star. If a child comes to you, you’ll know who it is. Send word to the author that he has come back.
Commentary on Epilogue
It makes quite an impact to see the two drawings together, making the finality of death hit home, with the absence of the loved one as emptiness. At the same time, the author gives hope that if we go to that spot the little prince might return: “If a child comes to you.” Saint-Exupéry challenges us to look for that magical child.