Second volume of "L'EAU DES COLLINES" ("THE WATER OF THE HILLS").
Paris, Éditions de Provence, 1963.
Ten years after the sad story of Jean de Florette, Ugolin has made his fortune thanks to his carnation growing, and Manon has become a wild and pretty young woman who looks after her goats on the hills. Ugolin falls madly in love with her whereas she hates him. Manon discovers by accident that everyone in the village was aware of the existence of the spring blocked by Le Papet and Ugolin after her uncle's death. Therefore, she wants to avenge her father on the entire village. But the schoolmaster's love for her will eventually lead her on the way to forgiveness. Ugolin, when he understands Manon shall never love him, dies.
- It happened five or six years ago.
- See! Le Papet shouted, He doesn't even know the date!
- It was something like two weeks after Pique-Bouffigue's death. I had gone up to the Romarins to hunt partridges...
The spring wasn't flowing any more...
- Which means that it was already blocked! Le Papet said.
- Not entirely... There was a small puddle in the undergrowth, on the edge of the field, and partridges would come there to drink since the farm was empty... Then, on a morning, at the crack of dawn, I climbed up the attic...
- There were two tiny windows, right under the gutter:
Pique-Bouffigue had made them to shoot thrushes... Then, I sat down on an old chair and who did I see coming? Those two, with tools!
Le Papet sniggered:
"He fell asleep on his chair and that's how his dream began."
But Eliacian was going on: "I thought they were just going to pass by, but not at all! They stopped on the opposite hillside, twenty five meters away from the house. They looked everywhere around them, Le Papet went up on the small ridge to hide and Ugolin started to dig up with a small spade. I said to myself: "they are setting some rabbit traps and they are afraid the gendarmes might come."
- Well, said Le Papet, for once you thought reasonably... Indeed, we often set rabbit traps. Don't you?"
He turned towards Mr. Belloiseau.
"You need to dig a hole, don't you, to set a rabbit trap! That's what he saw, the fool... Ok, let's go Galinette."
He headed towards the door, but Ugolin did not follow.
- As he kept on digging, I thought that perhaps they had bought that small property and were now looking for the spring... And I was furious, because I had wasted a whole morning... I wouldn't dare to go out because I had no right to be there, to have opened that window... To remain patient, I ate the bread and cheese I had brought with me... And that one was still digging, and Le Papet was still watching... And all of a sudden, the foot of my chair creaked...
- And that is what woke you up, said Le Papet, and you saw that nobody was there.
- And I saw that you were scared, and I heard Ugolin tell you:
"It's not a ghost, it's rats! They're as big as rabbits!" And he resumed digging up and, all of a sudden, water pushed him out of the hole... Then you prepared mortar and a piece of round wood, and you blocked it and you put earth back over it, then you left and the partridges never came...
That is what I saw and now I am telling it...