CHAPTER 14 – BUSINESSMAN
The little prince visited the fourth planet. There was a businessman on this planet. He was so busy that he didn’t even look at the little prince when the little prince arrived.
“Good morning,” said the little prince. “Your cigarette is finished.”
“Three and two make five. Five and seven make twelve. Twelve and three make fifteen. Hello. Fifteen and seven make twenty-two. Twenty-two and six make twenty-eight. I have no time to light it again.
Twenty-six and five make thirty-one. Wow! It’s five hundred and one million, six hundred and twenty-two thousand, seven hundred and thirty-one.”
“Five hundred million what?” asked the little prince.
“Eh? Are you still there? Five hundred and one million… I don’t remember. I have so much work to do! I am a serious man. I don’t want to lose my time with unimportant things. Two and five make seven…”
“Five hundred million what?” repeated the little prince who never in his life let go a question when he asked it.
The businessman looked at him, “For the fifty-four years I was disturbed only three times.
The first time it was twenty-two years ago, by a bird which fell on my desk. The bird made a terrible noise, and I made four mistakes in my calculation.
The second time, eleven years ago, I was disturbed by rheumatism. I don’t have enough exercise. I have no time for such unproductive activity. I’m a serious man.
The third time is now! Where was I? Five hundred and one million…”
The businessman understood that if he wanted to have peace, he had to answer this question.
“Millions of those little things which you sometimes see in the sky.”
“No, not flies.”
“Oh, no. The little golden things. Lazy people like them because they can dream when they look at them. But I am a serious man! I have no time to dream.”
“Yes, the stars.”
“And what do you do with five hundred million stars?”
“Five hundred and one million, six hundred and twenty-two thousand, seven hundred and thirty-one. I am a serious person. I need exact numbers.”