Chapter 24 Summary
Back at the site of the plane crash, the pilot finishes listening to the little prince’s story about the salesman. By now eight days have passed since he crashed his plane, and he is out of water. After he drinks the last of it, he says that the little prince’s memories are nice but not nice enough to fix a broken plane. Now he does not want to hear any more about people or foxes. He has no water left, and he is going to die.
The little prince insists that friends are important “even if you’re going to die.” The pilot decides that the prince simply does not understand how dire the situation is. Moments later, the prince suggests that they find a well. The pilot thinks this is a ridiculous idea. What chance could anyone have of finding a well just by looking in the empty Sahara? Still, there is nothing to do but try, so the pilot and the prince begin to walk.
After several hours, night falls, and the pilot looks up at the stars. He thinks they look especially bright and beautiful, probably because he is sick with thirst. The two friends sit in the sand and look up at the sky together. “The stars are beautiful because of a flower you don’t see,” the little prince says.
The desert, too, is very beautiful. It is silent and barren, but the pilot thinks it has a special quality like music. The little prince says the desert’s beauty comes from the fact that, within it, there is a well somewhere.
The pilot realizes this is true. Any place is beautiful if it hides a mysterious treasure. He thinks back on a house he lived in as a little child. Once he heard someone claim that a treasure was buried inside it. Nobody ever found any sign of that treasure, but the story “cast a spell” on the place. It seemed to have a valuable secret deep within. He says to the little prince, “Whether it’s a house or the stars or the desert, what makes them beautiful is invisible.” This makes the little prince happy because the fox said much the same thing.
The little prince goes to sleep in the sand, and the pilot picks him up and carries him through the desert. While walking, the pilot thinks the boy is beautiful. What makes him beautiful is an invisible quality—his love for a flower that lives on a faraway planet. The pilot walks until dawn. When the sun rises, he finds the well.