Books

The Little Alien Boy

The little prince, standing on his asteroid.
The little prince, standing on his asteroid.

An asteroid in the inner region of the asteroid belt is named Bésixdouze (French for B-612, and pronounced: be-sis-duz) in homage to the character of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s 1943 novella, “The Little Prince,” who lived on an asteroid named B-612, which was no bigger than a house.

In the story, B-612 was observed on a single night, in 1909, by a Turkish astronomer, but when he reported his discovery at an astronomical meeting, in 1920, no one would believe him because he wore a Turkish costume and a fez.

One day, the little prince set off from his world, and landed on ours. En route to Earth, he traveled to six other planets. His fifth destination was the smallest of them all. It was also the quirkiest.

Its only inhabitant is the lamplighter, whose task is to light the streetlamp, when day breaks, and to extinguish it, when darkness falls. But in a world, so tiny, where the Sun rises, and sets every 60 seconds, his job can feel like a punishment. No sooner than he’s lit the streetlamp, it’s time to put it out, again.

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