Saint-Exupéry’s Argentina

On 16 November 2009, we told you about Bruno d’Agay’s journey around South America in search of documents and first-hand accounts of the exploits of Saint-Exupéry and l’Aéropostale. Well, Bruno arrived safely and is now in Argentina – in Concordia, to be precise. In the chapter entitled Oasis in his book Wind, Sand and Stars, Saint-Exupéry writes of a heavy landing in which one of the wheels on his landing gear was damaged.


As he was attempting to repair his aircraft, he met the Fuchs family. While he was waiting for the repairs to be completed, he accepted an invitation to be their guest at the family castle of San Carlos in Entre Rios province. It proved to be a vast, somewhat dilapidated building but the furniture was always impeccably cleaned and polished, an aspect that delighted Saint-Exupéry the moment he stepped into the castle.



Saint-Exupéry found his hosts to be rather unusual, too: the Fuchs family tamed wild animals! They had an iguana, a monkey, a mongoose and even… a fox – all tame. During his stay at the castle, the author was impressed by the two young daughters of the house, who led very different lives from those of most little girls in the 1930s.  With serious faces, the two children watched him to gauge his reaction as they announced that there were vipers living under the dining room floor.



I, in my turn, watched these young girls without seeming to.  Their refinement, their silent laughter behind the untroubled faces. And I admired that sense of royalty they gave off.