S is for Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: His Writing And Legacy

Antoine is best known for his fable The Little Prince. Many people have also been inspired by his other books, such as Flight to Arras, Night Flight and Wind, Sand and Stars.

Here are some extracts from the latter book. In it he ponders on the possibilities within each human being. He writes:

Wind, Sand and Stars

I sat down face to face with one couple. Between the man and the woman a child had hollowed himself out a place and fallen asleep.

He turned in his slumber, and in the dim lamplight I saw his face. What an adorable face!

I bent over the smooth brow, over those mildly pouting lips, and I said to myself: This is a musician’s face.

This is the child Mozart. This is a life full of beautiful promise. Little princes in legends are not different from this.

Protected, sheltered, cultivated, what could not this child become.

When by mutation a new rose is born in a garden, all the gardeners rejoice. They isolate the rose, tend it, foster it.

But there is no gardener for men. This little Mozart will be shaped like the rest by the common stamping machine … This little Mozart is condemned.

What torments me tonight is the gardener’s point of view … It is the sight, a little bit in all these men, of Mozart murdered.

Antoine found his freedom in the skies. It gave him another point of view. Returning to earth, he wrote books about flying and about life. Here are some other quotes that people may find familiar.

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.

I have no right to say or do anything that diminishes a man in his own eyes. What matters is not what I think of him but what he thinks of himself. Hurting a man in his dignity is a crime.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

Tell me who admires and loves you, and I will tell you who you are.

Night, when words fade and things come alive. When the destructive analysis of day is done, and all that is truly important becomes whole and sound again. 

What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step.

Antoine Page 

The Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation 

The spirit of Antoine’s has been carried forward by the Foundation that bears his name. Here are some extracts from its web site.


The Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation, under the aegis of the Foundation de France, was created by the heirs of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. 

Faced with our changing society, we believe it is necessary to show young people the need to support each other, have a sense of responsibility to one another, and to engage as committed citizens. 

We want to give them practical support by helping them build their own future and encourage them to take an active part in society.

We believe that any help given to the youth of today is also a service to mankind in general in all its cultural diversity.

The work of the Foundation is based on the humanist values of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – universally shared across the planet.

Airman's Odyssey

Our founding values

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry inspires with his words and actions. They are relevant to all generations, particularly to the youth of today who are tomorrow’s citizens.

His exemplary values can be seen in his writing and his endeavors: responsibility, hard work, unity, willingness to share and the respect for others.

Humanism constitutes the foundation of his thoughts: man must be at the centre of our focus.

Commitment towards others, through the duties of each, gives a meaning to human existence. 

These values offer guidelines for future adults on their journey to becoming responsible members of society. 

Our Worldwide Action Network

The Saint-Exupéry international network regroups hundreds of active members, many of whom are volunteers.

They are often connected to the world of education, business and economics.

They have gathered year after year around the emblematic figure of “St-Ex” and his humanist beliefs.

For the most part, they have developed specific concrete projects either through the creation of local charities or working with public institutions.

This network spans nearly 30 countries across all continents.


Charitable Activities

The Foundation’s aim over the long-term is to stimulate, finance and promote local initiatives in favor of youth in difficulty, in France and all over the world.

It concerns practical projects which help the young understand the need to give their lives meaning, to develop a belief in themselves and their future.

These projects are put into practice in a number of different ways: training, apprenticeship, culture, art, sport, tourism, nature…

Help the young to feel a sense of responsibility for others and their environment; try to avoid exclusion and marginalization. 

Instill a sense of purpose, teach them to be active and responsible for their actions. 

Teach them to live together, to be part of a shared project and to be a part of their community.

Give them the capacity to find fulfillment through their work.

Give them access to culture through reading and writing. 

Here is an article about the Foundation.


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