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Book Title: Histoires naturelles - Nos frères farouches|
The author of the book: Jules Renard
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Reader ratings: 6.9
Date of issue: June 1st 1984
ISBN 13: 9782070375752
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 456 KB
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A FAMILY OF TREES
I’VE JUST CROSSED A SUNBURNT plain and here they are.
They’re not growing beside the road; it’s too noisy. They’re living in uncultivated fields, by a spring, known only to the birds.
In the distance, they look impenetrable. As I come nearer, their trunks move apart.
They welcome me, warily. I may rest and cool down but I can sense that they’re watching me closely and cautiously.
It’s a family, the elders in the middle, surrounded by the youngsters whose first leaves have just been born, more or less everywhere, but not one of them has opened up yet.
These trees take a long time dying and they keep the dead ones standing until they fall down like dust.
They gently stroke one another’s branches, to make certain they’re still there, like blind people. If the wind runs out of breath trying to uproot them, they wave their arms about. But they never quarrel. When they murmur, it’s only to show their agreement.
I feel that they must be my real family. It won’t take long for me to forget my other one. These trees will gradually adopt me, and in order to deserve it, I’m learning the things I’ll need to know.
I already know how to watch the passing clouds.
I also know how to keep still.
And I’ve almost learned how to stop talking.
YOU CAN SEE ONE THERE, lying down, stretched out like a lovely noodle.
AT THAT TIME OF YEAR when people catch colds, the snail draws in his beanpole of a neck and stays at home, bubbling like a snotty nose.
BORN OUT OF A STONE, he’s living under a stone. He’s building a tomb there.
I often visit him, and each time I lift the stone up, I’m afraid of seeing him—and afraid he may not be there.
He is there, hiding in this dry, clean, narrow den which he owns and fills, completely; he’s as swollen as a miser’s purse.
If rain forces him to leave it, he comes towards me. A few lumpy jumps and there he is, watching me through his blowsy eyes.
People are unfair: they insult him by treating him as a leper. I squat down beside him and move my human face close to his.
Then I’ll swallow any disgust I still feel and I’ll stroke you, you toad!
You have to swallow many more insults in your lifetime that make you sick.
But yesterday, I was tactless. He was oozing and fermenting, his warts had all burst.
“You poor chap!” I said. “I don’t want to hurt your feelings but, heavens above, aren’t you hideous!”
He opened his toothless, childish mouth and replied, with a slight English accent, “And what about yourself?”
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Read information about the authorPierre-Jules Renard or Jules Renard (February 22, 1864- May 22, 1910) was a French author and member of the Académie Goncourt, most famous for the works Poil de Carotte (Carrot hair) (1894) and Les Histoires Naturelles (Natural Histories) (1896). Among his other works are Le Plaisir de rompre (The Pleasure of Breaking) (1898) and Huit jours à la campagne (Eight Days in the Countryside) (1906).
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