Chapters 8-9 Summary
Over time, the pilot learns all about the little prince and his flower. She is unlike any other flower that exists on the little prince’s planet, where most of the plants are quite simple and quick to bloom. When the special flower first grew, she did not show her petals for a long time. The little prince watched her carefully and wondered if she might be a new kind of baobab. As the days passed, she stopped growing and started to bloom, but she was far too vain to open up quickly. She spent a long time choosing her colors and unfolding her petals. When she finally showed herself, she was complex and gorgeous. The little prince could hardly believe she existed.
The little flower was quite demanding, and for a long time the little prince did everything she wanted. She showed him her thorns and said they could ward off a tiger. She demanded a screen and a glass so she would be protected from wind. Rather than thank him when he did what she wanted, she criticized all his attempts to satisfy her. This made him very sad.
Now, the little prince confides, he understands that he should not have allowed his flower to make him sad. He explains:
You must never listen to flowers. You must look at them and smell them. Mine perfumed my planet, but I didn’t know how to enjoy that.
The little prince says he should have appreciated his flower more and ignored her contradictory nature. Flowers are silly and difficult, but he should have loved her in spite of all that. Instead, he decided to leave.
Before leaving, the little prince tended the two active volcanoes on his planet, raking them so that they would not erupt too abruptly and burn everything up. Naturally, Earth’s volcanoes are too big to rake, so they cause huge problems, but the little volcanoes on the little prince’s planet are quite useful; they are good for cooking breakfast. When he finished with the active volcanoes, the little prince raked the inactive one—just in case—and pulled up the last baobab sprouts.
Finally, the little prince went to his flower to say good-bye. She refused to answer at first, but then she burst out that she loved him and wanted him to stay. She apologized for being silly. This just confused the little prince, who did not understand enough about life to know that she meant what she was saying. When he did not answer, the flower grew angry again and told him to go quickly and make the parting short. At the time, he did not realize why she was pushing him away: she did not want him to see her cry.