The doctor's satchel

In a particular village in India there was only one doctor, so naturally all those in the village held the doctor in great esteem. One day the doctor was called upon to visit a villager who was quite ill. In addition to fever and other ailments, the man had pains around the navel. He had been suffering for a long time.

When the doctor arrived at the man’s house, all the members of the family were surrounding the patient, very worried. The doctor saw that the illness might be serious and he ordered them all to leave the room. “Out, out!” he said. “You can’t stay in the room while I examine the patient. The case is serious.”

So the members of the family left the room and waited anxiously in the next room for news about the patient. After a few minutes, the doctor was heard unlocking the bedroom door and his head appeared through the doorway looking grave. He said, “Bring me a chisel.”

The son ran and got a chisel and delivered it to the doctor while the rest of the family wept. The doctor once again closed and locked the door.

Five minutes later, the doctor again broke the silence. He put his head through the doorway and this time demanded a hammer. “This case is more serious than I had thought,” he said. After being given the hammer, the doctor again closed and locked the door.

The son turned to the uncle and said, “O God, something is wrong with his ribs. Uncle, it’s so serious!” With that the whole family began weeping again.

Then the door opened and the doctor said, “Crowbar! Bring me a crowbar!” Upon receiving the crowbar, the doctor disappeared behind the locked door.

Quite some time passed and still there was no news from the doctor. The family became very uneasy and restless. The son said to the mother, “Mother, how is it that the doctor is not coming out? How is it that he is not asking for something? What if Father is dead? Why should the doctor be the only one to see Father when he is dying? We should also be with him. Father has not even written a will!”

Suddenly the boy went to the door and said, “We want to be able to see our father.” And with that he broke the door down.

Upon entering the room they all saw the doctor bending over his satchel, trying fervently to open the malfunctioning lock on it. He had not even begun to treat the patient. Looking up quite embarrassed, the doctor ran out of the house, leaving satchel and all.

The family called in another doctor from a neighbouring village to treat the man.