Chapter 10 Summary
The narrative shifts away from the scene in the Sahara and the conversations with the pilot. It flashes back to the prince’s journey through the asteroid belt after he leaves his home planet.
The little prince decides to visit several planets because it is something to do; besides, he wants to learn. On the first planet he visits, he meets a king. The king sits on a huge throne wearing a beautiful fur cape. When the little prince arrives, the king shouts, “Ah, here’s the subject!” This surprises the little prince, who wonders how the king could know what he is. The prince does not yet know that a subject is a person under a king’s command and that this particular king considers himself in command over everyone he ever meets—which is normally nobody at all.
The prince and the king have a hard time communicating. First the prince yawns, and the king orders him to stop. The prince explains that he is tired, so the king changes his mind and orders the prince to yawn. This makes the prince too nervous to yawn, so the king relents and orders the prince to yawn only when he feels like it and not otherwise.
This sort of conversation is typical for the king, who wants to rule absolutely over everything but also wants to be kind and sensible about his commands. He realizes that he cannot order anyone to do the impossible because the order would not be obeyed. Because of this, he constantly commands things to happen only when he knows they are about to happen or when they have already happened.
The little prince asks for permission to sit down and is promptly ordered to do so. After settling himself on the ground, the prince asks what the king rules, and the king explains that he rules over the entire universe. The prince feels that this would be exhausting and frightening, although he imagines that he would see many more sunsets if...
(The entire section is 519 words.)