An Old Man (Maupassant)

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An Old Man
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: An elderly man obsessed with longevity moved to a town known for its long-lived residents, closely monitoring their health and deaths, seeking reassurance that he could avoid dying of old age.

A little old man named Monsieur Daron, who was eighty-six years old, moved to a new town called Rondelis, which was known for its ferruginous waters and exceptional climate that seemed to prolong human life.

Monsieur Daron — elderly man, 86 years old; obsessed with longevity; cautious, fearful of death, self-centered.

He was very particular about his health and hygiene and wanted to ensure that the town was suitable for him to live in. He asked the local doctor to provide him with a list of all the inhabitants of the town who were more than eighty years old, along with their professions, habits, and any time one of them passed away.

The Doctor — doctor in charge of the springs; cooperative, observant, and professional.

Monsieur Daron was very interested in the lives of these elderly people and would discuss their health with the doctor, who visited him once a week. He saw them as an experimental field from which he could learn how to prolong his own life. Over time, several of the elderly people on the list passed away, and Monsieur Daron would always ask the doctor about the cause of their deaths. He would then use this information to adjust his own lifestyle and habits to avoid the same fate.

One day, the doctor informed Monsieur Daron that a man named Paul Timonet had passed away at the age of eighty-nine. When asked about the cause of death, the doctor admitted that he did not know, as there were no signs of any illness or organ failure.

I absolutely do not know. He died because he died, that's all.

Monsieur Daron was both perplexed and reassured by this news, as he believed that it meant the man had not died of old age.