The Petit Prince, Part Deux

by Andrew Kessinger on October 24, 2009

Le Petit Prince - Jean Sarkozy

France’s most beloved children’s story, Le Petit Prince, leapt to life this week in what is surely a case of life imitating art.

“Once upon a time,” begins the familiar tale, “was a little prince who lived on a planet scarcely any bigger than himself.” Unsatisfied with such a limited existence, he set out on a journey to expand his possibilities.

The prince begins his quest, innocently enough, in consultation with a king:

“Sire — over what do you rule?”

“Over everything,” said the king, with magnificent simplicity.

“I should like to see a sunset [then]… Order the sun to set,” the prince asked.

“You shall have your sunset. I shall command it. But, according to my science of government, I shall wait until conditions are favorable.”

“When will that be?” inquired the little prince.

“Hum! Hum!” replied the king. “That will be about — about — that will be this evening about twenty minutes to eight. And you will see how well I am obeyed!”

The little prince yawned. He was regretting his lost sunset. And then, too, he was already beginning to be a little bored.

“I have nothing more to do here,” he said to the king. “So I shall set out on my way again.”

“Do not go,” said the king. “Do not go. I will make you a Minister!”

If the storyline sounds familiar, you are not alone. The latest developments in France suggest the same script, different cast. Today’s prince reincarnate turns out to be Jean Sarkozy, the twenty-three-year-old who abandoned his studies for the allure of politic promise.

The move seemed to pay off last year when, in a last minute shuffling of candidates, he managed to gain a political foothold in one of France’s richest districts. But Jean, like our inquisitive prince, became quickly dissatisfied.

His awaited ‘sunset’ was the powerful presidency of EPAD, the administration of one of Europe’s largest, multi-million dollar business districts.

The king seems to have commanded nothing less. Sarkozy père is, after all, the country’s president and  conveniently president of EPAD before that. The petit prince, following in his father’s footsteps, was well on his way to similar political ascendancy.

That is, until the public outcry of nepotism proved too loud to ignore. Amid growing protests and an unrest that threatened his family’s nascent dynasty, the prince withdrew his nomination, rewriting what was supposed to be a fairy-tale ending.

Like the original Antoine de Saint-Exupéry storyline, our protagonist has wisely made one last trip: planet Earth. Welcome to the real world, again!

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