The carbuncle

Once one of my relatives developed a big boil. We call it a carbuncle, and it is very painful. It was not bursting at all, so the doctor said that my relative needed an operation. But when it was time for the operation, he was frightened to death. Although he was suffering unbearable pain, my relative said that anything was better than having an operation.

We had a Muslim servant who considered himself a doctor. He had no degree in medicine, but he used all kinds of herbs and natural remedies. The servant went to my father and said that he would be able to cure our relative. My father said, "Nobody has faith in you. Do you really think that you will be able to cure him?"

The servant had such respect for my father. With folded hands he said, "How could I tell you lies?"

The servant took an eggplant and removed the pulp. Then inside he put all kinds of things — mustard oil, ginger and other herbs and spices from the kitchen. Then he said his own mantra and placed the eggplant not on top of the carbuncle but alongside it.

Then what happened? The carbuncle burst! It did not take even ten minutes.

My relatives wanted to give the servant some money. He said, "I can't take anything," but they kept insisting. Finally the servant said to my father, "I am always ridiculed and sometimes insulted. If you want to return my favour, please tell people who criticise me that I know a little about medicine. That will be enough of a reward."

My father was like the head of the village; he always got so much appreciation. He told everyone that the servant knew how to cure carbuncles and other ailments. From then on people took the servant seriously.