The Paradox of Taming the Fox
One little book illustrates some of the human conditions or states of being that characterized the variety of human perspectives and way of life. Anton de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince is not a little child’s book but a mirror of life that gives us pause for reflection to reexamine ourselves in light of the hurried pacing of contemporary society. The book also explores the human heart’s need for friendship and companionship that lightens the burden of existence. One particular instance in the book that captivates many of the readers would surely be the taming of the fox. Although the fox appeared as a wild mammal, it represented some of us. It represented our longing to be “tamed” by another to at least dispel even temporarily the loneliness of a monotonous life.
The fox in the story made acquaintance with the prince who at that time he was looking for men. The fox was leading a life of routine which included hiding from men and catching chickens. The prince asked the fox to play with him. The fox explained that he could not do so since he was not yet tamed by the prince. When asked what “tame” is, he responded that “It is an act too often neglected,” said the fox. It means to establish ties”. He added, “Just that,” said the fox. “To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world…” the fox taught the little prince to tame him. It was so that the Little Prince tamed him. When the time of parting came, the fox had to cry for he had become so attached to the Little Prince. Despite the short period of friendship fox explained to the Little Prince that it was all worth it.
Each of us has experienced loneliness, monotony and boredom at the same time. In most instances, the proximity and friendship of another helps lighten the day. Friendship that is severed because of distance or separation- not due to a bitter quarrel-may make us yearn for it. As the fox is reminded of the Little Prince by the color of the wheat fields, we are lightened up by friends and memories of friendship which above all is valuable.