If some one loves a flower of which just one example exists among all the millions and millions of stars, that’s enough to make him happy when he looks at the stars. He tells himself, “My flower’s up there somewhere. . . .” But if the sheep eats the flower, then for him it’s as if, suddenly, all the stars went out. And that isn’t important?

The little prince makes this indignant exclamation in Chapter 7 in response to the narrator’s statement that the prince’s rose is not a “serious matter.” The prince’s retort exposes what he thinks are grown-ups’ limited priorities. The prince points out how silly it is that the narrator frets over routine, material matters when deeper questions about relationships and the universe are so much more important.

At first, the prince’s ideas seem a bit lofty and perhaps callous—after all, what could be more important than the pilot fixing his engine so that he can survive? Yet by the end of the novel, the narrator comes to understand the truth of the little prince’s statement. When, after the little prince has returned home, the narrator looks up at the sky and wonders whether the sheep has eaten the flower, he realizes that the answer to that question changes the way he sees the entire sky. In the end, the prince’s innocent, personal perspective on the universe proves to be more serious than the jaded perspective of adults.