Litost in Le Petit Prince

I was reading a post on Phillip Eby's blog recently which quoted a little of "Le Petit Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry ("The Little Prince" in English). It's been a long time since I read it (I studied it in French class at school), so I got hold of my old copy and have been re-reading it. It's really great - both funny and serious, and I've been enjoying exercising my atrophied French muscles a bit. If you haven't read it, I recommend you get it and have a read in either French or English. Wikipedia has got some more information on the novel here.

Anyway, I came across an interesting passage that seems to dove tail very well with my recent post on Litost. Here we go:

"Elle serait bien vexée, se dit-il, si elle voyait ça... elle tousserait énormément et ferait semblant de mourir pour échapper au ridicule. Et je serais bien obligé de faire semblant de la soigner, car, sinon, pour m'humilier moi aussi, elle se laisserait vraiment mourir..."

And here's my rough translation into English:

"She would be very vexed, he said to himself, if she could see that... she would cough violently and pretend to die to escape being laughed at. And I would be obliged to pretend to heal her, so that I could humiliate myself as well, otherwise, she would really let herself die."

PS - Found the full-text available online in English, French and some other languages!


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