Roses and Stratagems

“She cast her fragrance and her radiance over me. I ought never to have run away from her… I ought to have guessed all the affection that lay behind her poor little stratagems. Flowers are so inconsistent! But I was too young to know how to love her…”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince


More from the botanical gardens adventures of the summer. Kew Gardens again! There is the most delightful rose garden. Covet!
Roses always remind me of the Little Prince. Flowers are so inconsistent!

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“For millions of years flowers have been producing thorns. For millions of years sheep have been eating them all the same. And it’s not serious, trying to understand why flowers go to such trouble to produce thorns that are good for nothing? It’s not important, the war between the sheep and the flowers? It’s no more serious and more important than the numbers that fat red gentleman is adding up? Suppose I happen to know a unique flower, one that exists nowhere in the world except on my planet, one that a little sheep can wipe out in a single bite one morning, just like that, without even realizing what he’d doing – that isn’t important? If someone loves a flower of which just one example exists among all the millions and millions of stars, that’s enough to make him happy when he looks at the stars. He tells himself ‘My flower’s up there somewhere…’ But if the sheep eats the flower, then for him it’s as if, suddenly, all the stars went out. And that isn’t important?”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

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“The little prince went away, to look again at the roses. “You’re not at all like my rose,” he said. “As yet you are nothing. No one has tamed you, and you have tamed no one. You’re like my fox when I first knew him. He was only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But I have made a friend, and now he’s unique in all the world.” And the roses were very much embarrassed. “You’re beautiful, but you’re empty,” he went on. “One could not die for you. To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you –the rose that belongs to me. But in herself alone she’s more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered; because it is she that I have put under the glass globe; because it is for her that I’ve killed the caterpillars (except the two or three we saved to become butterflies); because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is MY rose.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

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“Here, then, is a great mystery. For you who love the little prince, as for me, nothing in the universe can be the same if somewhere – we do not know where -a sheep we have never met has or has not eaten a rose.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

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