PERSIAN FOLKTALE – THE PHYSICIAN AND HIS SON

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A physician was in the habit of taking his son along with him when visiting the sick. 

One day he set out, accompanied by his son, to attend one of his patients. He felt the man’s pulse and said: 

‘The patient has eaten pomegranates’. ‘Yes, that is quite true,’ said the relatives, ‘we gave him some yesterday’. 

‘And he has also eaten some curdled milk,’ the physician continued. ‘Yes, he had some of that as well’.

On the way home, the son asked his father how he knew that the patient had been eating curdled milk and pomegranates. 

‘Nothing could be simpler’, said the physician, ‘I saw a few pomegranate peels in a corner and I noticed traces of curdled milk in a man’s moustache. 

I know that when there is a sick person in the house, and the others eat, they usually give some of the food to the patient’.

Next day the physician’s son went to visit the sick. He felt the patient’s pulse and said: 

‘The patient has eaten donkey meat’. ‘No’, said the people, ‘he certainly has not’. 

The young man went home to his father and told him what had happened. His father asked: 

‘What gave you the idea that the patient had been eating donkey meat?’ 

‘Well, when I entered I saw a donkey saddle lying on the floor but no donkey, and I was sure that the people in the house had eaten the donkey and given some of it to the patient.’

SOURCE: ARTHUR CHRISTENSEN: Contes persanes en langue populaire (Copenhagan 1918), No. 24.