Chapter 4

ThatwashowIhadlearnedasecondveryimportantthing,whichwas thattheplanethecamefromwashardlybiggerthanahouse!  

Thatcouldn’tsurprisememuch. IknewverywellthatexceptforthehugeplanetslikeEarth,Jupiter,Mars,andVenus, whichhavebeengivennames,therearehundredsofothersthataresometimessosmall thatit’sverydifficulttoseethemthroughatelescope. Whenanastronomerdiscoversoneofthem,hegivesitanumberinsteadofaname. Forinstance,hewouldcallit"Asteroid325."  

Ihaveseriousreasonstobelieve thattheplanetthelittleprincecamefromisAsteroidB-612.  

Thisasteroidhasbeensightedonlyoncebytelescope, in1909byaTurkishastronomer, whohadthenmadeaformaldemonstrationofhisdiscoveryatanInternationalAstronomicalCongress. Butnoonehadbelievedhimonaccountofthewayhewasdressed. Grown-upsarelikethat.  

FortunatelyforthereputationofAsteroidB-612, aTurkishdictatororderedhispeople,onpainofdeath,towearEuropeanclothes. Theastronomerrepeatedhisdemonstrationin1920,wearingaveryelegantsuit. Andthistimeeveryonebelievedhim.  

IfI’vetoldyouthesedetailsaboutAsteroidB-612andifI’vegivenyouitsnumber,itisonaccountofthegrown-ups. Grown-upslikenumbers. Whenyoutellthemaboutanewfriend, theyneveraskquestionsaboutwhatreallymatters. Theyneverask:"Whatdoeshisvoicesoundlike?"  

"Whatgamesdoeshelikebest?"  

"Doeshecollectbutterflies?" Theyask:"Howoldishe?" 

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