en-fr  The 100-year old.
Le centenaire.

Par Godfried Bomans.

Traduit du néerlandais.

— Est-ce que votre père est à la maison ? demandai-je au vieil homme qui ouvrit la porte. Il hocha la tête, me laissant dans une pièce où se trouvait un homme encore plus âgé qui était déjà presque mort. J'arrachai précipitamment un cornet acoustique du mur et lui criai à l'oreille : — Félicitations !

— Vous vous trompez, dit le vieil homme d'une voix sourde, mon père est en haut.

Je courus dans l'escalier parce que je compris que c'était maintenant une question de secondes. Il y avait le centenaire suspendu aux cordes: il était occupé à faire un nid d'oiseau.

Je rampai presque jusqu'à son oreille et criais : félicitations ! Le jubilaire secoua la tête, fit une double roulade et sauta par terre. — Je ne suis pas sourd, dit-il en mettant son manteau, je suis juste vieux. Qu'est-ce qui se passe ?

— Vous n'avez pas eu cent ans ? ! criai-je. — Mon homme, ne crie pas comme ça, dit le vieux, en tirant les anneaux, je le sais bien. Ce soir, le maire vient avec une lampe crépusculaire et une enveloppe avec du contenu. Je me fiche de cette lampe crépusculaire, mais cette enveloppe m'intéresse. Qu'est-ce qu'ils mettent habituellement dedans ? Je ne savais pas. — Pourquoi êtes vous venu réellement ? demanda le petit homme à contrecœur, que m'apportez-vous ?

— Je suis venu demander quelque chose, dis-je, tout d'abord, comment êtes vous devenu si vieux ?

— C'est arrivé tout seul, déclara-t-il en riant, chaque année vous prenez un an de plus, c'est dans l'ordre des choses. Quand j'ai eu soixante-dix ans, j'avais soixante-dix ans et quand j'ai eu quatre-vingts ans, j'avais quatre-vingts ans. Et ainsi de suite jusqu'à mes cent ans. — Avez-vous fait quelque chose de spécial pour cela ?

— Non, je n'ai rien fait de spécial, c'est arrivé comme ça. C'est le côté amusant de la chose.

— Saviez-vous que vous les atteindriez ?

— Pas au début, mais plus tard j'ai commencé à le réaliser. Lorsque j'ai eu quatre-vingt-dix ans, j'ai commencé à consulter les rubriques nécrologiques dans les journaux ; je me suis lié d'amitié avec le gardien de la maison de retraite et j'ai pu suivre de près la situation. Continue, pensais-je, les dents serrées. Et oui, je les ai atteints

— À quoi l'attribuez-vous ?

— C'est une question de patience. La persévérance porte ses fruits, celui qui rit le dernier, rit le plus, tout est bien qui finit bien, il faut regarder dans cette direction.

— Quand avez-vous commencé à en prendre conscience ?

— Impossible de le dire avec précision. Lorsque j'ai eu soixante-dix ans, j'étais toujours un petit homme insignifiant, mon heure n'était pas encore venue. Mon quatre-vingtième anniversaire fut un sale moment : personne ne comprenait pourquoi je ne mourais pas, et ... je ne voulais rien révéler. Mais par la suite, lentement, j'ai commencé à avancer. À mon quatre-vingt dixième, les gens ont commencé à me montrer du doigt, et à mon quatre-vingt quinzième, les problèmes étaient derrière moi.

— Avez-vous de la concurrence ?

— Il y a quelques nonagénaires vivant en ville, mais je garde un œil sur eux. Lorsque l'un d'eux a son anniversaire, je lui envoie une carte, avec mon âge dessus. Ils finiront par abandonner.

— Vous aimez votre travail ?

— Oh oui. La chose la plus sympa dans notre boulot, c'est qu'une fois que vous avez pris une année, ils ne peuvent plus vous rattraper, même si les autres travaillent d'arrache-pied. Chaque année, des gens vieillissent, je gagne un an de plus aussi, et ils ne peuvent pas rattraper leur retard. Cela les achève en temps voulu.

— Mais avez-vous le même sentiment à propos de ceux qui sont plus âgées que vous ?

— Absolument. Mais il n'y en a que trois. Je ne peux pas les rattraper ; mais je peux attendre. Et en attendant, je garde un œil sur eux. La veuve Boltjens à Schiedam a 102 ans. Bon. Mais hier, elle a commencé à tousser. Ensuite, vous avez le vieux Zouave Serremans de Bolsward. Un dur à cuire. Mais il vit côté nord, à un coin de rue. Ensuite, il y a Van Loggem de Venlo avec cette jambe en bois. Il a une longueur d'avance car cette autre jambe, il n'a plus besoin de s'en préoccuper. Mais depuis la semaine dernière il a besoin de lunettes pour les petits caractères, et les lunettes, nous les centenaires savons entre nous, c'est le début de la fin.

— Que ferez-vous quand vous aurez atteint le sommet ?

— Alors je partirai. Je n'ai aucun intérêt à gâcher le marché, les jeunes doivent aussi avoir une chance.

De : Godfried Bomans, Kopstukken ('De 100-jarige' - "The 100-year old") – (Personnalités - Le centenaire).
Traduit du néerlandais.
unit 1
The 100-year old.
1 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 2
By Godfried Bomans.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 3
Translated from Dutch.
1 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 4
"Is father home?
2 Translations, 7 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 5
", I asked the old man, who opened the door.
3 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 6
He nodded, and led me into a room where there was a still older man, who was almost dead.
1 Translations, 7 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 7
In a hurry, I ripped an ear trumpet of the wall and shouted in his ear: "Congratulations!"
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 8
"You're mistaken," said the old man with a muffled voice, "Dad is upstairs."
2 Translations, 7 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 9
"I flew up the stairs, because I understood that it was now a matter of seconds.
2 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 10
There was the hundred-year-old hanging from the ropes: he was busy making a bird nest.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 11
I almost crawled in his ear and yelled: "Congratulations!"
3 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 12
The jubilarian shook his head, made a double somersault and jumped to the ground.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 13
"I'm not deaf," he said, putting on his coat, "I'm just old.
2 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 14
What's going on?"
2 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 15
"Didn't you turn a hundred years old?!"
2 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 16
I screamed.
2 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 17
"Man, do not shout like that," said the geezer, pulling up the rings, "I am well aware of it.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 18
Tonight the mayor comes with a twilight lamp and an envelope with content.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 19
I don't care for that twilight lamp, but that envelope interests me.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 20
What do they usually put in there?"
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 21
I did not know.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 22
"What did you actually come for?"
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 23
asked the little man grudgingly, "are you offering something?"
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 24
"I'm coming to ask something," I said, "first of all, how did you grow so old?"
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 26
When I was seventy, I was seventy, and when I turned eighty, I was eighty.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 27
And so it continued till one hundred.” "Do you do anything for it?
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 28
"No, I don't do anything for it, it happens by itself.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 29
That's the fun of this kind of work."
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 30
"Did you know that you would get there?
3 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 31
"At first not, but later I began to realize it.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 33
Persevere, I thought, teeth clenched.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 34
And yes, I got there."
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 35
"To what do you attribute it.?"
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 36
"It's a matter of patience.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 38
"When did you actually started to become aware of it?"
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 39
"That cannot be said precisely.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 40
When I turned seventy, I was still an insignificant little man, my time had yet to come.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 42
But then, slowly, I started to come forward.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 43
At my ninetieth, people began to point me out, and by my ninety-fifth, the troubles were behind me."
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 44
"Do you have competition?"
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 45
"There are a few ninety-year olds living in the city, but I keep a close eye on them.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 46
As one of them has a birthday, I send him a card, with my age on it.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 47
They'll give up, eventually."
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 48
"Do you enjoy your work?"
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 49
"Oh yes.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 51
Every year someone ages, I'll gain one as well, and so they cannot catch up.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 52
That breaks them in due course."
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 53
"But you have the same feeling about those that are ahead of you?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 54
"Sure.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 55
But there are only three.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 56
I cannot catch them; but I can wait.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 57
And in the meantime, I keep an eye on them.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 58
The widow Boltjens in Schiedam is 102.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 59
Good.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 60
But yesterday she started to cough.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 61
Then you have former Zouave Serremans from Bolsward.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 62
A tough cookie.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 63
But he lives on the north side, on a corner.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 64
Then there is Van Loggem from Venlo with that wooden leg.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 65
He has a head start because that other leg, he doesn't have to pay any more attention to.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 67
"What will you do when you have reached the top?"
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 68
"Then I'll quit.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 69
I have no interest in spoiling the market, the young people must also have a chance."
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 70
From: Godfried Bomans, Kopstukken ('De 100-jarige' - "The 100-year old").
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 71
Translated from the Dutch.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
pamblard • 3695  commented on  unit 47  5 months, 3 weeks ago
Gabrielle • 13975  commented on  unit 60  5 months, 4 weeks ago
markvanroode • 6594  translated  unit 59  5 months, 4 weeks ago
markvanroode • 6594  commented on  unit 7  5 months, 4 weeks ago
markvanroode • 6594  commented on  unit 5  5 months, 4 weeks ago
Gabrielle • 13975  commented on  unit 47  5 months, 4 weeks ago
Gabrielle • 13975  commented on  unit 45  5 months, 4 weeks ago
pamblard • 3695  translated  unit 49  5 months, 4 weeks ago
Gabrielle • 13975  commented on  unit 34  5 months, 4 weeks ago
Gabrielle • 13975  commented on  unit 13  5 months, 4 weeks ago

The 100-year old.

By Godfried Bomans.

Translated from Dutch.

"Is father home?", I asked the old man, who opened the door. He nodded, and led me into a room where there was a still older man, who was almost dead. In a hurry, I ripped an ear trumpet of the wall and shouted in his ear: "Congratulations!"

"You're mistaken," said the old man with a muffled voice, "Dad is upstairs."

"I flew up the stairs, because I understood that it was now a matter of seconds. There was the hundred-year-old hanging from the ropes: he was busy making a bird nest.

I almost crawled in his ear and yelled: "Congratulations!" The jubilarian shook his head, made a double somersault and jumped to the ground. "I'm not deaf," he said, putting on his coat, "I'm just old. What's going on?"

"Didn't you turn a hundred years old?!" I screamed. "Man, do not shout like that," said the geezer, pulling up the rings, "I am well aware of it. Tonight the mayor comes with a twilight lamp and an envelope with content. I don't care for that twilight lamp, but that envelope interests me. What do they usually put in there?" I did not know. "What did you actually come for?" asked the little man grudgingly, "are you offering something?"

"I'm coming to ask something," I said, "first of all, how did you grow so old?"

"It happened by itself," replied the jubilant, "Every year, you turn a year older, that is in the nature of things." When I was seventy, I was seventy, and when I turned eighty, I was eighty. And so it continued till one hundred.”

"Do you do anything for it?

"No, I don't do anything for it, it happens by itself. That's the fun of this kind of work."

"Did you know that you would get there?

"At first not, but later I began to realize it. "When I turned ninety, I began to check the obituaries in the newspapers; I struck up a friendship with the porter of the old men's
home, and so I could monitor the situation from up close. Persevere, I thought, teeth clenched. And yes, I got there."

"To what do you attribute it.?"

"It's a matter of patience. Persistence pays off, he who laughs last, laughs best, all's well that ends well, you need to look in that direction."

"When did you actually started to become aware of it?"

"That cannot be said precisely. When I turned seventy, I was still an insignificant little man, my time had yet to come. My eightieth birthday was actually a low point: nobody understood why I did not die, and - I did not want to reveal anything. But then, slowly, I started to come forward. At my ninetieth, people began to point me out, and by my ninety-fifth, the troubles were behind me."

"Do you have competition?"

"There are a few ninety-year olds living in the city, but I keep a close eye on them. As one of them has a birthday, I send him a card, with my age on it. They'll give up, eventually."

"Do you enjoy your work?"

"Oh yes. The nice thing about our job is, that once you are a year ahead, they are no longer able to catch up, even though the others work like hell. Every year someone ages, I'll gain one as well, and so they cannot catch up. That breaks them in due course."

"But you have the same feeling about those that are ahead of you?"

"Sure. But there are only three. I cannot catch them; but I can wait. And in the meantime, I keep an eye on them. The widow Boltjens in Schiedam is 102. Good. But yesterday she started to cough. Then you have former Zouave Serremans from Bolsward. A tough cookie. But he lives on the north side, on a corner. Then there is Van Loggem from Venlo with that wooden leg. He has a head start because that other leg, he doesn't have to pay any more attention to. But since last week he needs glasses for the small print, and glasses, we one hundred-year olds know between us, is the beginning of the end."

"What will you do when you have reached the top?"

"Then I'll quit. I have no interest in spoiling the market, the young people must also have a chance."

From: Godfried Bomans, Kopstukken ('De 100-jarige' - "The 100-year old").
Translated from the Dutch.