Chapter 1

Once when I was six years old I saw a magnificent picture in a book, called True Stories from Nature, about the
primeval forest forêt vierge
selva virgen
. It was a picture of a boa constrictor in the act of swallowing an animal. Here is a copy of the drawing.

In the book it said: "Boa constrictors swallow their
prey whole proie tout entière
presa entera
, without
chewing mâcher
it. After that they are not able to move, and they sleep
through pendant
the six months that they need for digestion."

I pondered deeply J'ai beaucoup réfléchi
Reflexioné mucho
, then, over the adventures of the jungle. And after some work with a colored pencil
I succeeded in j'ai réussi à
making my first drawing. My Drawing Number One. It looked like this:

I showed my
masterpiece chef d'œuvre
obra maestra
to the grown-ups, and asked them
whether si (condition)
si (condición)
the drawing frightened them. But they answered: "Frighten? Why should any one be frightened by a hat?"

My drawing was not a picture of a hat. It was a picture of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant. But
since puisque, comme
como, ya que
the grown-ups were not able to understand it, I made another drawing: I drew the inside of the boa constrictor, so that the grown-ups could see it clearly. They always need to have things explained. My Drawing Number Two looked like this:

The grown-ups' response, this time, was to advise me to
lay aside laisser de côté
abandonar, dejar de lado
my drawings of boa constrictors,
whether from que ce soit…. (ou…)
ya sea… (o…)
the inside or the outside, and devote myself
instead to plutôt à
mejor, más bien
geography, history, arithmetic and grammar. That is why, at the age of six, I gave up what might have been a magnificent career as a painter. I had been
disheartened découragé
desilusionado, desmotivado
by the
failure insuccès, échec
of my Drawing Number One and my Drawing Number Two. Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is
tiresome fatigant, épuisant
cansado, tedioso, agobiante
for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.
So then I chose another profession, and learned to pilot airplanes. I have flown a little over all parts of the world; and it is true that geography has been very useful to me.
At a glance du premier coup d'œil
al primer vistazo, a primera vista, de un vistazo
I can distinguish China from Arizona.
If one gets lost si l'on est égaré
si uno se pierde
in the night, such knowledge is valuable.

In the course of this life I have had a great many encounters with a great many people who have been concerned with
matters of consequence choses sérieuses, sujets d’importance
asuntos importantes, cosas serias
. I have lived a great
deal très bonne affaire, accord
trato, acuerdo
among grown-ups. I have seen them intimately,
close at hand de tout près
de muy cerca
. And that hasn't much improved my opinion of them.

Whenever quand, lorsque
I met one of them who seemed to me at all
clear-sighted lucide, perspicace, éclairé
lúcido, perspicaz, astuto
, I tried the experiment of showing him my Drawing Number One, which I have always kept. I would try to find out, so, if this was a person of true understanding. But, whoever it was, he, or she, would always say: "That is a hat." Then I would never talk to that person about boa constrictors, or primeval forests, or stars.
I would bring myself down to his level Je me mettais à sa portée
Me ponía a su altura
. I would talk to him about bridge, and golf, and politics, and
neckties cravates
. And the grown-up would be greatly pleased to have met such a sensible man. 

dedication           en anglais           chapter 2