Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Little Prince
-Good morning, said the little prince.
-Good morning, said the railway switchman.
-What do you do here? the little prince asked.
-I sort out travelers, in bundles of a thousand , said the switchman. -I send off the trains that carry them: now to the right, now to the left.
And a brilliantly lighted express train shook the switchman's cabin as it rushed by with a roar like thunder.
-They are in a great hurry, said the little prince. -What are they looking for?
-Not even the locomotive engineer knows that, said the switchman.
And a second brilliantly lighted express thundered by, in the opposite direction.
-Are they coming back already? demanded the little prince.
-These are not the same ones, said the switchman. -It is an exchange.
-Were they not satisfied where they were? asked the little prince.
-No one is ever satisfied where he is, said the switchman.
And they heard the roaring thunder of a third brilliantly lighted express.
-Are they pursuing the first travelers? demanded the little prince.
-They are pursuing nothing at all, said the switchman. -They are asleep in there, or if they are not asleep they are yawning. Only the children are flattening their noses against the windowpanes.
-Only the children know what they are looking for, said the little prince. -They waste their time over a rag doll and it becomes very important to them; and if anybody takes it away from them, they cry . . .
-They are lucky, the switchman said.