The Little Prince


Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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The Little Prince: Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

The little prince asks whether sheep eat baobabs, and the pilot replies that even a whole herd of elephants could not eat a single baobab. The little prince laughs at this image and points out that baobabs are quite small before they have a chance to grow into trees as big as castles. The pilot agrees and inquires as to why the little prince wants his sheep to eat baobab trees. The little prince says, "Oh, come, come!" as if the answer is obvious.
The little prince makes a wise point when he says that even giant baobab trees begin as small shrubs—just as big problems all come from a smaller root source. When he says, "Oh, come, come!" without any further explanation the little prince is also inviting the narrator to explore with his mind—to consider why a baobab tree might be dangerous on a small planet like the little prince's.
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The pilot realizes that baobab trees pose a great danger on the little prince's tiny planet. Although they resemble rosebushes when they are little, baobab trees can eventually destroy a small planet with its roots, making it imperative to pull up baobabs when they are still young. The little prince likens pulling baobab shoots to a morning routine for the planet.
The baobab trees resemble bad habits and problems that appear small and harmless at first, but that can quickly spiral out of hand. It's important to watch them closely and observe their true nature to determine whether they must be pulled.
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The pilot discusses his drawing of the baobab trees, which he displays in the book, explaining that they are the most magnificent drawings in the book because he was moved by urgent necessity. He warns everyone to beware of baobabs because they can destroy a small planet if neglected.
The narrator claims that the baobab drawings are the best in the book because they are essential and teach an important lesson about the tendency of bad habits and small problems to grow into bigger issues. It's important to take care of them early.
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