There is a fairy tale about a nightingale and a thorn by Oscar Wilde that I read at too tender an age.
A boy wants to give a girl a red rose, there is none available, the nightingale presses his heart against a thorn and sings until he dies to turn a rose red. the boy gives the girl the rose, she throws it away, the nightingale has sung his song and died for nothing.
It's pretty short. The first time i read this, I cried for like two hours afterward. I had the same reaction to The LIttle Prince. I was a high strung kid maybe. I hadn't figured out yet the things that make you cry are important. they are keys to doors inside you.
I have re-read this fairy tale a couple times. I still feel like I read it peeping through my fingers, like a horror movie. I am still at too tender an age, I guess.
I think what this fairy tale is about-- stay with me here-- is the creative life. You have an ideal, you pour all your physical energy and personality and highest effort into it, all your finite time. And there's quite literally no point. the final object is, nine times out of ten, discarded and meaningless and the ideal that motivated you just a fantasy.
the gesture itself, the sacrifice of your life to the ideal, is beautiful. but it's also deeply, deeply tragic. you want to save the nightingale but you wouldn't be crying for him if he didn't have that noble impulse. but is it even noble, to sing with your heart against a thorn.