Joan of Arc, having liberated France from English occupation in the 15th century, has become a symbol of ultra-nationalism expressed by the French National Front Party. The Little Prince, written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, is a poetic tale, in which a pilot stranded in the desert meets a young prince fallen to Earth from a tiny asteroid. Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron were both interviewed separately on French television and were each asked if they could see qualities in their opponent. Macron replied that he saw Le Pen as having perseverance. When asked the same question, Marine Le Pen replied that she “saw nothing” in her opponent.
“Draw me a country,” ordered the little prince. Joan of Arc took out a pencil and her note book, and started drawing the outline of a hexagon.
“That’s not a country, that’s a hexagon,” exclaimed the little prince. Joan of Arc held his little hand that was pointing at her note book, and explained that she was, in fact, drawing the outline of France.
“It represents all of France, the four corners of the hexagon,” she said.
The little prince knew that France was shaped like a hexagon. He knew a lot of things, and these things included geography and geometry. He looked up at Joan of Arc with a sense of disbelief that only a prince’s face, even a little one, was capable of showing.
“One can legitimately wonder how one can employ the expression “the four corners of the hexagon”, whereas we are dealing with a country whose representative figure, the hexagon, has not four corners, but six.”
Joan of Arc, caught by surprise, stopped drawing and looked at the little prince straight in the eyes. She knew that he was right, but was too stubborn and conceited to admit that what she was drawing might, indeed, not make sense. “Look,” she said drily, “this is my country, and if I say that I can visit the four corners of the hexagon, then so shall it be.”
The little prince was startled by Joan of Arc’s reaction, and a silver tear was slowly making its way down his left cheek. He was only a little prince, from a faraway planet, where everything was consensual and arguments were unheard of. He had never been talked to like this before, and here he was, sitting in front of what he perceived as a monster dressed in blue, white and red ribbons, whose piercing eyes reflected the coldness of her heart and the sharpness of her soul.
“Look,” Joan of Arc continued, “this is the country of my people and no one else. I’m even going to fence in its borders to make it safe.” She frantically drew a multitude of crosses all around the outline of the hexagon, each cross larger than the one before, but smaller than the one that followed. When she had finished, the drawing resembled more a deformed hedgehog than the original country of France that it was supposed to represent.
“Well, “ retorted the little prince, “that’s not a country at all. Where I come from, we would call it a prison. You see, back home, I have a garden with no fence, and when I look at the horizon from the bottom of my bottomless garden, I can see the sun rising on one side, and the moon setting on the other.”
Joan of Arc did not believe him. As far as she was concerned, you could gaze at the sun or the moon, but not at the same time. What was this nonsense of being able to see both parts of a same world simultaneously, she thought. The little prince had to be stopped. He could not be allowed to fill the minds of those sitting within the boundaries of her drawing, with such nonsense. She had managed to feed these people with fear of anything and everything beyond her note book, and hatred for princes who lived on elite planets high in the sky.
“You, little prince, are not worthy of owning the drawing. The drawing belongs to the people, and they to me. So go whence you came, or I shall chastise you.” Joan of Arc’s eyes sparkled with anger, her ribbons blowing in the wind of her fury. “I feel nothing for you, I see no qualities in your soul. You shall be banished from this drawing, for ever. You and your friends.”
The little prince knew a lot of things, like geography and geometry. He did not understand how Joan of Arc could think in this manner. She could not sense qualities present in the soul, despite irreconcilable visions of what a simple drawing in a note book should look like.
“I do not like you,” he said, getting ready to leave, “and I shall fight, not you, but your visions. You have qualities such as perseverance, but your vision of the drawing is blurred by your misconceptions of life itself. I will fight to defend my vision that corresponds not only to my planet, but to the whole universe.”
The drawing in the note book, that the little prince had asked for, stayed on the table long after he and Joan of Arc had left the room. The people of the drawing will hear the diametrically opposing visions of Joan of Arc and the little prince, one last time, before deciding. They must decide if the hexagon really does have four corners, and what the crosses represent for them. More importantly, they must choose the very nature of the note book that contains the hexagon.