Some encounters come at painful times but lead eventually to a happiness that is also an unprecedented spiritual enrichment. Meet Marylène Le Bihan, a woman whose life was changed by Saint-Exupéry and the Little Prince, and who never ceases to pass on her passion to all those she meets.
Before talking about what Marylène does, it is important to know her history. In 1990, she lost her two year-old son, Morgan. The following day, a priest and family friend said Mass for the little boy and read from Chapter 26 of « The Little Prince », the passage where the Little Prince tells his aviator friend how he will find him after his death: « I shall look as if I were dead and it will not be true, » he says. Instead, he will be living on one of the stars and laughing on his star. When the aviator looks up at the sky, for him it will be as if all the stars are laughing and so he will find his little friend once again.
Sometime later, the same priest played Marylène the recording of Gérard Philipe reading aloud Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s tale. Marylène listened to it several times, renewed her acquaintance with a text studied briefly in school and finally came to perceive its beauty and meaning.
Someone gave her a biography of Saint-Exupéry as a gift, and that was it. A passion was born!
As she read the biography and the works of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Marylène discovered « a man with a great heart, and real values ». She visited the places he had known and met some of his descendants. In 1996, Howard Scherry, a famous American lecturer and expert on Saint-Exupéry, encouraged her to give talks on Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and his work. She talks about the adventure of l’Aéropostale, about Saint-Exupéry’s friends and, above all, about « The Little Prince », about the meanings and values of the book. Marylène remembers one six-month period working with a kindergarten class: « Young as they were, the children said things that were perfectly in tune with the candour of a book whose message they were easily able to understand ». Many of the audiences she speaks to are children. Some, as they reach their teens, remember her and thank her for having taught them about friendship. « At moments like that, » confides Marylène, « I tell myself I have succeeded in what I set out to do. »
A friend and guide
« The Little Prince » changed Marylène’s life. Thanks to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, she learned a new way of looking at others, a way of seeing past appearances to arrive at « what is invisible to the eye ». She has learned to make more of her encounters, to understand the world through the part of her soul that is still a child’s.
The Little Prince helped her to overcome her grief and to offer the same opportunity to others who, perhaps, also need to understand that « it is only with one’s heart that one can see clearly ».