'Little Prince' fisherman claims moral damages

5th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

FREJUS, France, Jan 4 (AFP) - A French fisherman who found the bracelet of the author of the "Little Prince", Antoine de Saint-Exupery, who disappeared mysteriously six decades ago, took legal measures on Tuesday to claim EUR 13,000 in damages from the writer's family.

FREJUS, France, Jan 4 (AFP) - A French fisherman who found the bracelet of the author of the "Little Prince", Antoine de Saint-Exupery, who disappeared mysteriously six decades ago, took legal measures on Tuesday to claim EUR 13,000 in damages from the writer's family.

The court in the southeastern French city of Frejus, with whom the claim was lodged, said it would rule on the affair on March 15.

Saint Exupery, a veteran pilot as well as famous author, went missing on July 31, 1944, shortly after flying out of his base on the French island of Corsica in good weather to photograph parts of southern France in preparation for the Allied landing there.

In 1998 Jean-Claude Bianco brought to the surface a bracelet inscribed "Saint-Ex", and in 2004 the pieces of his Lockheed Lightening P38 aircraft, were found off the coast of the Mediterranean city of Marseille.

Bianco said he is claiming moral damages as his reputation was harmed by the fact that the writer's relatives did not believe he had really found the writer's bracelet, and that he had been considered a cheat and a liar.

He is also claiming money for days work he lost to go through administrative procedures and for legal costs, his lawyer said.

A lawyer for the author's family said it had been unable to confirm whether the bracelet belonged to Saint-Exupery, and had only been able to confirm its authenticity after the discovery of the plane.

The discovery of the aircraft had been a galvanising moment for France, which has long speculated as to the fate of Saint-Exupery, an aristocratic adventurer whose life and books turned him into one of the country's biggest heroes.

"The Little Prince" his edifying tale about an interstellar-travelling little boy who recounts his experiences to an aviator he meets in the Sahara Desert, brought him posthumous international fame.

The book first published in New York in English in 1943 and since translated into more than 100 languages, is one of the best selling titles on the planet, after the Bible and Das Kapital by Karl Marx.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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