Opening Saint Exupery’s Box by Caleb Stegall

Opening Saint Exupery’s Box

Caleb Stegall on Cloning & the Knowledge of Man

Antoine de Saint Exupery’s The Little Prince is one of the twentieth century’s best-loved stories. It is a fable about the secret of happiness. The Little Prince begins when a fictional Saint Exupery crashes his airplane into the Sahara Desert and encounters a most unlikely interplanetary visitor—a boy, the Little Prince. The boy is a traveler from a tiny planet no bigger than a house where he has lived alone with his fabulous possessions. But pride in those possessions has driven the Little Prince on his stellar journey and landed him in the middle of the Sahara.

The boy immediately, but politely, demands of Saint Exupery, “If you please, draw me a sheep.” Saint Exupery, taken a bit aback, begins to draw—to great cries of disapproval from the Little Prince. Saint Exupery’s sheep simply does not capture the essence of sheepness. Finally, in frustration, Saint Exupery draws a square box and explains to the Little Prince that the sheep lives inside the box.

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Caleb Stegall is a lawyer and writer in Perry, Kansas. His forthcoming book on the history of prairie populism and the future of American regionalism is due out from ISI Books in 2009. He and his wife Ann have five boys and attend Grace Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Lawrence, Kansas, where Stegall serves as a ruling elder.

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