The following day, the pilot returns from fixing his plane to see the little prince sitting on the wall of a ruin beside the well. The prince is discussing plans for that evening with someone who cannot be seen, and the topic of poison is mentioned. The prince asks his unseen companion to leave so the prince can get off the wall, and when the narrator looks down, he sees a snake. It is the same snake who greeted the prince when he first arrived on Earth. The narrator draws his gun, but the snake escapes, and the narrator is left to take care of the prince, who is pale and frightened. The prince congratulates the pilot on having fixed his plane, and when the narrator asks the prince how he knows about his plane, the prince says only that he will be going on a much longer, more difficult journey.
The prince says he will be even more afraid that night and tries to console the narrator by pointing to the stars and saying they will all have a special, unique meaning for the narrator now that he knows someone who lives among them. Then the prince becomes serious again and asks the pilot not to accompany him that night. The prince cautions that it will look as if he is dying. Also, he does not trust the snake to stop at just one bite and is worried that the snake would bite the pilot as well.
That night the little prince sneaks off by himself, but the narrator catches up and refuses to abandon him. The prince assures the narrator that he will be fine, that his dead body will just be an empty shell too heavy for the prince to take to the heavens with him. The narrator is not convinced, and even the prince grows less certain of his reasoning and finally breaks down in tears. Growing more frightened, the little prince explains that his rose needs him, and then falls silent. The snake strikes at the prince’s ankle, and he falls so gently that he does not make a sound.
Look up at the sky. Ask yourself, “Has the sheep eaten the flower or not?” And you’ll see how everything changes. And no grown-up will ever understand how such a thing could be so important!
Six years later, the narrator reflects on the fate of his friend. He knows the prince made it back to his planet because the morning after the snake bit the prince, he could not find the prince’s body. The narrator’s friends are glad to have him back again, and when he looks at the stars, he hears the sounds of many tiny bells.
The narrator worries, however, since he forgot to draw a strap on the sheep’s muzzle, which means it may eat the rose. He sometimes reassures himself that the prince would never let such a thing happen, but then he thinks that accidents can happen, and the sound of bells turns into the sound of tears. He admits that his emotions are a puzzle, as they certainly are for all of us who also loved the little prince. All the same, when he looks up at the sky, the question of whether the sheep has eaten the rose or not has changed the way he sees everything. He remarks, rather incredulously, that a grown-up will never understand this concern.
In a short epilogue, the narrator shows the same illustration of the desert landscape he showed in his final chapter, only he leaves out the prince. He calls his final picture the saddest and loveliest landscape in the world. He asks us to keep an eye out for this landscape if we are ever in the Sahara and to linger under the stars for a while if we do see it. The narrator asks us to lessen his sadness by sending immediate word if we happen to meet the little prince.
For us, as for the narrator, the story of the little prince ends in mystery. We are left to figure out whether the prince has managed to save his rose. At times, the narrator is sure that the prince’s life on his planet is a happy one. Other times, the narrator hears only the sound of tears. The only thing that is certain is that one of the prince’s first questions, about whether the sheep will eat his rose, has emerged in the end as the most important question of all.
The narrator does not downplay the deep pain he felt because of his friendship with the little prince. Although the narrator mentions that he has other friends, the departure of this one has taken as much from him as it has given him. The story has no qualms about the fact that losing a loved one is painful, and its ending offers no consolation that the narrator’s wounds will heal. On one level, these final chapters are an allegory about dealing with the death of a loved one.
In spite of all this sadness, however, the story staunchly insists that relationships are worth the trouble. The fox and the narrator may both lose the little prince, but their world is enhanced nevertheless—wheat fields and night skies come alive. To emphasize this positive aspect of lost relationships, the narrator describes his desolate final drawing of the barren landscape where the prince fell as both the saddest and the loveliest place in the world. The Little Prince, though it deals with serious and even upsetting issues, emphasizes the idea that good can be derived from sad events. The little prince learns that his rose must die, but this knowledge fires his love for her. The relationship between the narrator and the prince reaches new levels of intensity only after the prince makes it clear that he will depart.