I Don’t Want What I Want

Elfi'sPeterBecause he is Little Prince he may have anything he wants.

He loved birds. So a garden sanctuary for birds was built for him. It was a concert hall of netting to allow the many birds free flight through the lush foliage. He had singing birds and colored birds and talking birds and little birds and big ones too. They had been gathered from over the whole earth ball by the emissaries of his father’s viziers. Little Prince had wanted it. So it was done.

Of all the birds that he had in his garden cage he liked Rare Bird the best. And Rare Bird loved Little Prince. Rare Bird liked to be in the cage because all of his relatives were gone. There were no other birds like him anywhere. In all the world he had only Little Prince.

One day there was an awful screaming and commotion from a distant corner of the cage. Little Prince ran to see what caused it. He found his favorite cat, Ingenuous, howling angrily. Having just caught her, the servant was carrying her off by her tail. She hung yowling helplessly. Little Prince was shocked. He loved animals. His cat was being abused.

“Release Ingenuous immediately” commanded Little Prince.

Hearing what his master wanted the servant let the cat go without hesitation. Away bounded Ingenuous disappearing instantly within the garden of the cage. Little Prince was happy to have rescued his cat. He smiled to himself and turned next to search for his special friend Rare Bird.

He searched for a long time and could not find him. At last he found one of Rare Bird’s feathers. And then another. And finally he discovered where Rare Bird was. The cat Ingenuous had eaten him after getting free from the servant. Ingenuous now lay before Little Prince contentedly licking his paws amid Rare Bird’s remaining feathers.

Little Prince was heartbroken. He cried for a long time. He no longer had his friend Rare Bird with him. And now he hated Ingenuous the cat. He called his servant to catch and remove the cat. When the servant came Little Prince scolded him for letting the cat eat the bird.

“But, Master,” said the servant, “you wanted me to let the cat go. And what you want is what I am to do.”

Little Prince became confused and then ashamed. He wailed, “I don’t want what I want.”

Thus he came to understand the meaning of his kind aunt’s words. That good woman, the Lady Sagacious, had often said, “Not getting what you want may be a very great gift.”

    the end