“Do you visit the place?”
“No. That’s too complicated. But the explorer has to give me proof. For example, if the discovery is a large mountain, the explorer has to bring large stones from it.”
The geographer suddenly smiled. “But you come from far away! You’re an explorer! You must describe your planet for me!”
And the geographer opened his big book and prepared his pencil. I write explorers’ words first in pencil. Ink is used only after there is a proof of their words.
“Well?” said the geographer.
“Oh, where I live,” said the little prince,” it’s not very interesting. It’s very small. I have three volcanoes. Two volcanoes are active, and one volcano isn’t active. But you never know.”
“You never know,” said the geographer.
“I also have a flower.”
“We don’t record flowers,” said the geographer.
“Why not? The flower is the most beautiful thing on my planet!”
“Because flowers don’t live very long. In geography we have very exact books. They are almost always true. A mountain usually doesn’t change its position. An ocean usually doesn’t lose its water. We write about things which are here for a long time.”
“But volcanoes which aren’t active can be active again,” said the little prince.
“If volcanoes are active or not, it is the same for us,” said the geographer. “What matters to us is the mountain. That doesn’t change. Your flower is different. It can disappear soon.”
“My flower can disappear soon?”
“My flower can disappear soon,” thought the little prince, “and she has only four thorns to defend herself against the world! And I left her alone!”
That was the first time when he regretted leaving his planet. But he took his courage again. “What is an interesting place to visit?” he asked.
“The planet Earth,” the geographer answered. “It has a good reputation.”
And the little prince continued on his way. He was still thinking about his flower.