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Chapter 24
- the narrator and the little prince, thirsty, hunt for a well in the desert      
It was now the eighth day since I had had my accident in the desert, and I had listened to the story of the merchant as I was drinking the last drop of my water supply.
"Ah," I said to the little prince, "these memories of yours are very charming; but I have not yet succeeded in repairing my plane; I have nothing more to drink; and I, too, should be very happy if I could walk at my leisure toward a spring of fresh water!"
"My friend the fox--" the little prince said to me.
"My dear little man, this is no longer a matter that has anything to do with the fox!"
"Why not?"
"Because I am about to die of thirst..."
He did not follow my reasoning, and he answered me:
"It is a good thing to have had a friend, even if one is about to die. I, for instance, am very glad to have had a fox as a friend..."
"He has no way of guessing the danger," I said to myself. "He has never been either hungry or thirsty. A little sunshine is all he needs..."
But he looked at me steadily, and replied to my thought:
"I am thirsty, too. Let us look for a well..."
I made a gesture of weariness. It is absurd to look for a well, at random, in the immensity of the desert. But nevertheless we started walking.
When we had trudged along for several hours, in silence, the darkness fell, and the stars began to come out. Thirst had made me a little feverish, and I looked at them as if I were in a dream. The little prince's last words came reeling back into my memory:
"Then you are thirsty, too?" I demanded.
But he did not reply to my question. He merely said to me:
"Water may also be good for the heart..."
I did not understand this answer, but I said nothing. I knew very well that it was impossible to cross-examine him.
He was tired. He sat down. I sat down beside him. And, after a little silence, he spoke again:
"The stars are beautiful, because of a flower that cannot be seen."
I replied, "Yes, that is so." And, without saying anything more, I looked across the ridges of sand that were stretched out before us in the moonlight.
"The desert is beautiful," the little prince added.
And that was true. I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams...
"What makes the desert beautiful," said the little prince, "is that somewhere it hides a well..."
I was astonished by a sudden understanding of that mysterious radiation of the sands. When I was a little boy I lived in an old house, and legend told us that a treasure was buried there. To be sure, no one had ever known how to find it; perhaps no one had ever even looked for it. But it cast an enchantment over that house. My home was hiding a secret in the depths of its heart...
"Yes," I said to the little prince. "The house, the stars, the desert-- what gives them their beauty is something that is invisible!"
"I am glad," he said, "that you agree with my fox."
As the little prince dropped off to sleep, I took him in my arms and set out walking once more. I felt deeply moved, and stirred. It seemed to me that I was carrying a very fragile treasure. It seemed to me, even, that there was nothing more fragile on all Earth. In the moonlight I looked at his pale forehead, his closed eyes, his locks of hair that trembled in the wind, and I said to myself: "What I see here is nothing but a shell. What is most important is invisible..."
As his lips opened slightly with the suspicious of a half-smile, I said to myself, again: "What moves me so deeply, about this little prince who is sleeping here, is his loyalty to a flower-- the image of a rose that shines through his whole being like the flame of a lamp, even when he is asleep..." And I felt him to be more fragile still. I felt the need of protecting him, as if he himself were a flame that might be extinguished by a little puff of wind...
And, as I walked on so, I found the well, at daybreak.

    这是我在沙漠上出了事故的第八天。我听着有关这个商人的故事,喝完了我所备用的最后一滴水。   
    “啊!”我对小王子说,“你回忆的这些故事真美。可是,我还没有修好我的飞机。我没有喝的了,假如我能悠哉游哉地走到水泉边去,我一定也会很高兴的!”   
    小王子对我说:“我的朋友狐狸…”   
    “我的小家伙,现在还说什么狐狸!”   
    “为什么?”   
    “因为这就要渴死人了。”   
    他不理解我的思路,他回答我道:   
    “即使快要死了,有过一个朋友也好么!我就为我有过一个狐狸朋友而感到很高兴…”   
    “他不顾危险。”我自己思量着,“他从来不知道饥渴。只要有点阳光,他就满足了…”   
    他看着我,答复着我的思想:   
    “我也渴了…我们去找一口井吧…”   
    我显出厌烦的样子:在茫茫的大沙漠上盲目地去找水井,真荒唐。然而我们还是开始去寻找了。   
    当我们默默地走了好几个小时以后,天黑了下来,星星开始发出光亮。由于渴我有点发烧,我看着这些星星,象是在做梦一样。小王子的话在我的脑海中跳来跳去。   
    “你也渴吗?”我问他。   
    他却不回答我的问题,只是对我说:   
    “水对心也是有益处的…”   
    我不懂他的话是什么意思,可我也不做声…我知道不应该去问他。   
    他累了,他坐下来。我在他身旁坐下。沉默了一会,他又说道:   
    “星星是很美的,因为有一朵人们看不到的花…”   
    我回答道:“当然。”而我默默地看着月光下沙漠的褶皱。   
    “沙漠是美的。”他又说道。   
    确实如此。我一直很喜欢沙漠。坐在一个沙丘上,什么也看不见、听不见。但是,却有一种说不出的东西在默默地放着光芒…   
    “使沙漠更加美丽的,就是在某个角落里,藏着一口井…”   
    我很惊讶,突然明白了为什么沙漠放着光芒。当我还是一个小孩子的时候,我住在一座古老的房子里,而且传说,这个房子里埋藏着一个宝贝。当然,从来没有任何人能发现这个宝贝,可能,甚至也没有人去寻找过。但是,这个宝贝使整个房子着了魔似的。我家的房子在它的心灵深处隐藏着一个秘密…   
    我对小王子说道:“是的,无论是房子,星星,或是沙漠,使它们美丽的东西是看不见的!”   
    “我真高兴,你和我的狐狸的看法一样。”小王子说。   
    小王子睡觉了,我就把他抱在怀里,又重新上路了。我很激动。就好象抱着一个脆弱的宝贝。就好象在地球上没有比这更脆弱的了。我借着月光看着这惨白的面额,这双紧闭的眼睛,这随风飘动的绺绺头发,这时我对自己说道:“我所看到的仅仅是外表。最重要的是看不见的…”   
    由于看到他稍稍张开的嘴唇露出一丝微笑,我又自言自语地说:“在这个熟睡了的小王子身上,使我非常感动的,是他对他那朵花的忠诚,是在他心中闪烁的那朵玫瑰花的形象。这朵玫瑰花,即使在小王子睡着了的时候,也象一盏灯的火焰一样在他身上闪耀着光辉…”这时,我就感觉到他更加脆弱。应该保护灯焰:一阵风就可能把它吹灭…   
    于是,就这样走着,我在黎明时发现了水井。


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