Thursday, June 26, 2008

sad and ironic state for literature...

I read this and it was just so sad!

A German fighter ace has just learned that one of his 28 wartime 'kills' was his favourite author.

Messerschmidt pilot Horst Rippert, 88, said he would have held his fire if he had known the man flying the Lightning fighter was renowned French novelist Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

The fliers clashed in the skies over southern France in July 1944.

"He was below me," said Rippert. "I saw his markings, manoeuvred myself behind him and shot him down.

"If I had known it was Saint-Exupery, I would never have shot him down. I loved his books.

"I knew he was a French pilot, but he was probably my favourite author at the time."

Saint-Exupery published eight books before his death, including The Little Prince, which has been translated into more than 50 languages.

Rippert gunned down 28 Allied planes during the war and found out about Saint-Exupery only from a historian who is writing the author's biography.

"I am shocked and sorry," the ex-Luftwaffe pilot said yesterday. "Who knows what other great books he would have gone on to write?"

While I have to admit that I have read only snippets of "The Little Prince," this story resides in my mind as one of those universal tales that do not die with time. For a children's book, it was mature in terms of the themes in the story, where it provided so many philosophical observations that try to dissect human nature that children's stories these days just seem dumbed down.

It is tragic that one of the author's fans shot him down, but sometimes the human world works in mystical ways. Would Saint-Exupery have found humor in this story? I think he would have smiled at the irony.

Source & Source

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow - what a weird turn of events.