Colombe in English

Mijn zus, Elisabeth Khan, vertaalt Colombe naar het Engels. Blijkbaar heeft ze er plezier in want ze schreef er een artikel over op Medium.

Hier is een fragment uit het eerste deel, waarin Michel aan het woord is.

My first full day on the mountain I found the river. I bathed, washed my clothes and the scrap of blanket I’d found in the shack. There was a spot in the river where I could lie on my back, just below the surface of the water. The sun warmed my stomach and my legs. The water rinsed and combed my hair. It was too long and tangled. I should have had it cut, but neither my brothers nor my father had been in the mood for that lately. And I couldn’t afford to go to the baker-barber, I’d assumed. I had no idea how much it cost. I didn’t have the guts to do it. After rinsing and untangling my hair, I tied it together with a string and sat in the sun until everything was dry. I felt my face, my nose still hurt, but it seemed less swollen. The sheep were having a jolly good time, gorging on clover and white mint. And wild garlic, something the shepherd had taught me to eat, both the leaves and the flowers. He said it was good for the heart and it would make me strong. In any case it made me confident that there might be other edible things to be found.

On the way back I met a man. He was pushing a wheelbarrow with two empty buckets on it. He nodded at me, but didn’t say a word. I returned to my shelter with my heart pounding. I’d been seen; I’d better find a place to stay now.

That evening I searched the surrounding area until dark. The next morning, I took the sheep to the ruins of a house that had once been built against the slope. I walked around it, rummaging among the stones of a collapsed wall and finding some shards and a rusty pan. It wasn’t much. But I liked the location of the house. Like the shack, it was a place that overlooked the surrounding slopes and the other houses.

I saw the two men approach who had apparently noticed me. They asked what business I had there.

“Breeding sheep,” I said. I pointed to the ewes. They nodded.

“Gotta watch out for the wolves,” said the elder of the two. They walked around the house like I had done, inspecting the crumbling walls. Then they started to pick up stones and loosely build a low wall around the perimeter of the ruin.

 “We’ll be back tomorrow,” said the oldest when twilight fell. “It won’t be raining for the next few days, but for safety’s sake we’d better make you a roof as soon as possible.”

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