Good Morning My FRiends,
Throat the following message may bring a smile and a warmth to your
hearts. Have a great day.
Many Americans are familiar with The Little Prince, a wonderful
by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. This is a whimsical and fabulous book and
works as a children's story as well as a thought-provoking adult fable.
Far fewer are aware of Saint-Exupery's other writings, novels and short
Saint-Exupery was a fighter pilot who fought against the Nazis
was killed in action. Before World War II, he fought in the Spanish
War against the fascists. He wrote a fascinating story based on that
experience entitled The Smile (Le Sourire). It is this story which I'd
like to share with you now. It isn't clear whether or not he meant this
be autobiographical or fiction. I choose to believe it to be the
He said that he was captured by the enemy and thrown into a jail
cell. He was sure that from the contemptuous looks and rough treatment
received from his jailers he would be executed the next day. From here,
I'll tell the story as I remember it in my own words.
"I was sure that I was to be killed. I became terribly nervous
distraught. I fumbled in my pockets to see if there were any cigarettes
which had escaped their search. I found one and because of my shaking
hands, I could barely get it to my lips. But I had no matches, they had
"I looked through the bars at my jailer. He did not make eye
with me. After all, one does not make eye contact with a thing, a
I called out to him 'Have you got a light, por favor?' He looked at me,
shrugged and came over to light my cigarette.
"As he came close and lit the match, his eyes inadvertently
with mine. At that moment, I smiled. I don't know why I did that.
it was nervousness, perhaps it was because, when you get very close,
to another, it is very hard not to smile. In any case, I smiled. In
instant, it was as though a spark jumped across the gap between our two
hearts, our two human souls. I know he didn't want to, but my smile
through the bars and generated a smile on his lips, too. He lit my
cigarette but stayed near, looking at me directly in the eyes and
continuing to smile.
"I kept smiling at him, now aware of him as a person and not just
jailer. And his looking at me seemed to have a new dimension, too. 'Do
have kids?' he asked.
" 'Yes, here, here.' I took out my wallet and nervously fumbled
the pictures of my family. He, too, took out the pictures of his ninos
began to talk about his plans and hopes for them. My eyes filled with
tears. I said that I feared that I'd never see my family again, never
the chance to see them grow up. Tears came to his eyes, too.
"Suddenly, without another word, he unlocked my cell and silently
led me out. Out of the jail, quietly and by back routes, out of the
There, at the edge of town, he released me. And without another word,
turned back toward the town.
"My life was saved by a smile."
Yes, the smile - the unaffected, unplanned natural connection
between people. I tell this story in my work because I'd like people to
consider that underneath all the layers we construct to protect
our dignity, our titles, our degrees, our status and our need to be
in certain ways - underneath all that, remains the authentic, essential
self. I'm not afraid to call it the soul. I really believe that if that
part of you and that part of me could recognize each other, we wouldn't
enemies. We couldn't have hate or envy or fear. I sadly conclude that
those other layers, which we so carefully construct through our lives,
distance and insulate us from truly contacting others. Saint-Exupery's
story speaks of that magic moment when two souls recognize each other.
I've had just a few moments like that. Falling in love is one
example. And looking at a baby. Why do we smile when we see a baby?
Perhaps it's because we see someone without all the defensive layers,
someone whose smile for us we know to be fully genuine and without
And that baby-soul inside us smiles wistfully in recognition.
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