“And what do you do with those stars?”
“What do I do with them?”
“Nothing. I own them.”
“You own the stars?”
“But I already saw a king who…”
“Kings don’t own. They control. It’s very different.”
“And why is it good to own stars?”
“When I own stars, I am rich.”
“And why is it good to be rich?”
“When I’m rich, then I can buy more stars, if somebody discovers them.”
“But how can you own the stars?”
“It’s simple. Who owns them?” asked the businessman who was already quite angry.
“I don’t know. Nobody.”
“Then I own them because I was the first person to think of it.”
“Of course. When you find a diamond, it’s yours. When you discover an island, it’s yours. When you have a new idea, you patent it and it’s yours. Now I own the stars because I was the first who thought of it.”
“That’s true,” said the little prince. “And what do you do with them?”
“I look at them. I count them and count them again,” said the businessman. “It’s difficult. But I’m a serious man!
The little prince wanted to know more.
“If I own a scarf, I can put it around my neck and take it with me. If I own a flower, I can pick it and take it with me. But you can’t pick the stars!”
“No, but I can keep them in the bank.”
“How can you do that?”
“It’s easy. I write the number of my stars on a little paper. And then I put the paper to the bank.”
“And that’s all?”
“That’s enough,” said the businessman.
“It’s funny,” thought the little prince. “But it’s not very serious.”
The little prince had very different ideas about serious things.
“I own a flower,” he continued. “I water her every day. I own three volcanoes. I clean them every week. I even clean the volcano which isn’t active. You never know. It’s useful to my volcanoes, and it’s useful to my flower that I own them. But you’re not useful to the stars.
The businessman opened his mouth but couldn’t find anything to say.
And the little prince left.
“The adults are very interesting,” he said to himself when he continued on his journey.