Book 2 of 24 of A Year of Books. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Read: January 2018.
Everyday, our beagle, Sky would start barking at 5:00am for my dad to take him out to pee. On the weekends, my dad leaves him out in the lanai/garden after his walk. After an hour or two, additional rounds of barking ensues. And he will keep doing this until any of us wakes up and gives him attention. (Usually that person is me.) So you would understand why I refuse to go out late nights these days… We are all forced to be morning persons on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Not that I’m complaining.
Last Sunday, dad realized that Sky’s incessant barking isn’t necessarily a call to take him out for a walk or pee or to exercise (beagles are one of the most energetic dogs and it’s important that they get the right amount of activity). Every time he’d take him out the gate, he’d just sit down and refuse to move. But when dad leaves him in the garden he’d start making a lot of noise again. So… it seems he just wants us to be in his company.
“My life is very monotonous,” the fox said… And, in consequence, I am a little bored. But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat…” The fox gazed at the little prince, for a long time. “Please — tame me!” he said.
For many reasons, Sky isn’t allowed inside the house. As a result, we have adjusted to do most of our weekend activities in the lanai – breakfast, lunch, reading, working… Last Sunday, I even ended up laying down a cushion on the floor so Sky and I can have our afternoon nap together.
Beyond the themes around growing up and “matters of consequence”, the relationship between The Little Prince and the fox is dear to me. Though perhaps applicable to all relationships, it reminds me a lot of our pets at home:
“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…”
We adopted Sky when he was one. And like every dog you take from their first home, he was – I assume – confused, and maybe even a little bit scared. But now, we have tamed him. To be honest, he has tamed us too… And as a result we are now “unique in all the world”.