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A Country Doctor

I was very embarrassed: an urgent journey was imminent; a seriously ill man was waiting for me in a village ten miles away; heavy snowstorm filled thewide space between me and him; I had a car, light, with large wheels, just as it is for our country roads; Packed in the fur, the instrument case in my hand, I was already in the yard, ready to go; but the horse was missing, the horse. My own horse had perished last night as a result of the overexertion of that freezing winter; my maid was now running around the village to borrow a horse; but it was hopeless, I knew itand more and more covered in snow, becoming more and more immobile, I stood there pointless. At the gate the girl appeared, alone, waving the lantern; of course, who is lending his horse for such a trip now? I crossed the courtyard once more; I couldn't find a way; absent-mindedly, tormented, I bumped my foot against the brittle door of the pigsty, which had been unused for years. It opened and opened and closed on its hinges. Warmth and smell like horses came out.A dim stable lantern swayed on a rope inside. A man huddled in the low shed showed his open, blue-eyed face. "Shall I tense up?" He asked, crawling out on all fours. I didn't know what to say and only leaned down to see what was still in the stable. The maid stood next to me. "You don't know what kind of things you have in store in your own house," it said, and we both laughed. "Hollah, brother, hollah, sister!"cried the groom, and two horses, mighty animals with strong flanks, pushed each other, their legs close to their bodies, their well-formed heads lowering like camels, only through the force of the turns of their bodies out of the doorway, which they completely filled. But immediately they stood upright, long-legged, with bodies steaming out thickly. "Help him," I said, and the willing girl hurried to pass the wagon's dishes to the servant. But no sooner was it with him than he embraced itServant and slaps his face against hers. It screams and takes refuge in me; Two rows of teeth are impressed in red in the girl's cheek. "You beast," I shout furiously, "do you want the whip?" But remember right away that it is a stranger; that I don't know where he's from, and that he willingly helps me out where everyone else fails. As if he knew of my thoughts, he doesn't take my threat offense, but only turns once, always busy with the horses,after me. "Get in," he then says, and indeed: everything is ready. I've never driven with such a beautiful team, I can tell, and I'm happily getting on. "But I'll drive, you don't know the way," I say. "Certainly," he says, "I'm not going with you at all, I'm staying with Rosa." "No," cries Rosa, and runs into the house with the right anticipation of the inevitability of her fate; I hear the clink of the door chain that she puts in front of me; I hear the lock jump in; I see how they are, moreover, in theIn the hallway and chasing on through the rooms, all lights go out in order to be undetectable. “You're going with me,” I say to the servant, “or I'll give up the trip, urgent as it is. It doesn't occur to me to give you the girl as a purchase price for the trip. ”“ Cheer up! ”He says; clap your hands; the carriage is swept away like wood in the current; I can still hear the door of my house bursting and splintering under the onslaught of the servant, then my eyes are goneand ears are filled with a rush that is equally urgent to all the senses. But even that only for a moment, because, as if the courtyard of my patient was opening directly in front of my courtyard gate, I am already there; the horses stand quietly; the snowfall has stopped; Moonlight all around; the sick man's parents hurry out of the house; his sister behind them; I am almost lifted out of the car; I take nothing from the confused speeches; there is hardly any air in the sickroombreathable; the neglected stove smokes; I'll push open the window; but first I want to see the sick man. Skinny, without a fever, not cold, not warm, with empty eyes, without a shirt the boy lifts himself up under the duvet, hangs on my neck, whispers in my ear: "Doctor, let me die." I look around; nobody heard it; the parents lean forward in silence and await my judgment; the nurse brought a chair for my handbag. I open theBag and search among my instruments; the boy keeps groping for me out of bed to remind me of his request; I take a pair of tweezers, examine them in the candlelight, and put them down again. "Yes," I think blasphemously, "in such cases the gods help, send the missing horse, add a second one for the sake of haste, donate the groom to excess -" Only then does pink occur to me again; what do i do, how do i save them, how do i drag them under this oneGroom ten miles from her, uncontrollable horses in front of my wagon? Those horses that have somehow loosened their oars; I don't know how to open the windows from the outside; each stick their head through a window and, undeterred by the outcry of the family, look at the sick man. "I'll be going back straight away," I think, as if the horses were asking me to travel, but I allow the sister, who thinks me to be numb by the heat, to goFur from me. A glass of rum is given to me, the old man pats me on the shoulder, the devotion of his treasure justifies this confidentiality. I shake my head; in the narrow circle of thought of the old man I would feel sick; only for this reason I refuse to drink. The mother stands by the bed and lures me there; I follow and, while a horse neighs loudly against the ceiling, I put my head on the chest of the boy who shudders under my wet beard. It confirms what I know:the boy is healthy, with a little poor blood circulation, soaked in coffee by his caring mother, but healthy and can best be driven out of bed with one push. I am not a do-gooder and I leave him alone. I am employed by the district and do my duty to the limit, to the point where it is almost too much. Badly paid, I am generous and helpful to the poor. I still have to take care of Rosa, then the boy may be right, and so am I.wanna die. What am I doing here in this endless winter! My horse died and there is no one in the village to lend me his. I have to pull my team out of the pigsty; if it weren't for horses, I would have to drive with sows. That's the way it is. And I nod to the family. They don't know about it, and if they did they wouldn't believe it. Writing recipes is easy, but otherwise communicating with people is difficult. Well, this is where my visit ends, man once again made an unnecessary effort, I'm used to it, the whole district tortures me with the help of my night bell, but this time I also had to give in to Rosa, this beautiful girl who lived in my house for years, hardly noticed by me - this one The sacrifice is too big, and I have to sort it out with quibbles in my head to avoid going after this family, who with the best of intentions Rosa can't give me back.But when I close my handbag and wave for my fur, the family stands together, the father sniffing the rum glass in his hand, the mother, probably disappointed in me - yes, what do the people expect? - Biting my lips tearfully and waving a heavily bloody towel to my sister, I am somehow ready to admit under certain circumstances that the boy may be sick after all. I go to him, he smiles at me as if bringingI give him the very strongest soup - oh, now both horses are neighing; the noise is supposed to make the examination easier, if ordered higher up - and now I think: yes, the boy is sick. A palm-sized wound has opened on his right side, in the hip area. Pink, in many shades, dark in the depths, lightening towards the edges, delicate-grained, with unevenly collecting blood, open like a mine in the open air. So from a distance. Nearbythere is still an aggravation. Who can watch this without whistling softly? Worms, equal in strength and length to my little finger, rosy of their own and also splattered with blood, twisted inside the wound, with white heads, with many legs, to the light. Poor boy, there is no help to you. I found your great wound; on this flower in your side you perish. The family is happy, they see me at work; the sistersays it to the mother, the mother to the father, the father to several guests who come in through the moonlight of the open door, balancing on tiptoe, with outstretched arms. "Will you save me?" Whispers the boy, sobbing, blinded by the life in his wound. That's the way people are in my area. Always asking the doctor to do the impossible. They have lost the old faith; the pastor sits at home and tears off the chasuble, one at a timeto change; but the doctor should do everything with his delicate surgical hand. Well, as you like: I did not offer myself; if you consume me for holy purposes, I let that happen to me too; what better do I want, old country doctor, robbed of my maid! And they come, the family and the village elders, and undress me; a school choir led by the teacher stands in front of the house and sings an extremely simple melody to the text:

“Undress him and he will heal,and if he does not heal, kill him!'It's just a doctor,' It's just a doctor. "

Then I am undressed and, with my fingers in my beard, I look calmly at people with my head bowed. I am quite composed and superior to everyone, and I will stay that way, even though it doesn't help me, because now they take my head and feet and carry me to bed. By the wall, on the side of the wound, they lay me. Then everyone goesfrom the room; the door is closed; the singing ceases; Clouds appear before the moon; The bedding is warm around me; The horses' heads sway like shadows in the window holes. “You know,” I hear, saying in my ear, “I trust you very little. You're just shaken off somewhere, you can't get on your own two feet. Instead of helping you narrow my deathbed. I loved to scratch your eyes out. "" Right, "I say," it's a shame. sobut I am a doctor. What should I do? Believe me, it won't be easy for me either. "" Should I be satisfied with that excuse? Oh, I have to. I always have to be content. I was born with a beautiful wound; that was all of my equipment. "" Young friend, "I say," your fault is: you have no overview. I, who have been to all the hospital rooms far and wide, tell you: your wound is not that bad. At an acute angle with two blows of theHoe created. Many offer their side and hardly hear the hoe in the forest, let alone that it comes closer to them. "" Is it really so or are you fooling me? "" It really is, take the word of honor of a medical officer with you. 'And he took it and fell silent. But now it was time to think about saving me. The horses still stood faithfully in their places. The clothes, fur and bag were quickly gathered together; I didn't want to get dressedstop; if the horses hurried, as on the drive here, I sort of jumped out of this bed into mine. A horse obediently withdrew from the window; I threw the bale in the car; the fur flew too far, only one sleeve held on to a hook. Good enough. I got on the horse. The straps dragging loosely, one horse barely connected to the other, the wagon wandering behind, the fur last in the snow. "Cheer up!" I said, but it wasn’t easy; slowlike old men we wandered through the snow desert; For a long time the new but erroneous song of the children rang out behind us:

"Rejoice, you patients,the doctor has put you in bed!"

I never come home like this; my flourishing practice is lost; a successor steals from me, but to no avail because he cannot replace me; The disgusting groom rages in my house; Rosa is his victim; I don't wanna make it up Naked, the frost of this most unfortunate ageexposed, with earthly chariots, unearthly horses, old man I drive around. My fur is hanging on the back of the car, but I can't reach it, and none of the agile rabble of the patients lifts their fingers. Cheated! Cheated! Once the night bell has gone wrong, it can never be repaired.