Few stories are as widely read and as universally cherished by children and adults alike as The Little Prince. An aviator whose plane is forced down in the Sahara Desert encounters a little prince from a small planet, Asteroid B-612, who relates his adventures in seeking the secret of what is important in life. The premise is simple and the story simply told, and yet Saint-Exupery creates a tale that is full of poignancy and hope. The Little Prince is full off parables about childhood, morality, friendship, love, hope and the magic in our lives that we are at risk of losing as we grow older.
In its glorification of childlike innocence, The Little Prince is also an indictment of the spiritual decay Saint-Exupery perceived in humanity. In 1943, just before he died in the World War, Saint-Exupery wrote, "For centuries, humanity has been descending an immense staircase whose top is hidden in the clouds and whose lowest steps are lost in a dark abyss. We could have ascended the staircase; instead we chose to descend it. Spiritual decay is terrible.......There is one problem and only one in the world: to revive in people some sense of spiritual meaning......" By celebrating a worldview unsullied by the drab restrictions of adulthood, the tale attempts to revive a sense of spirituality in the world.