Last month, I had occasion to go to a village when unfortunately I fell ill. My friend, with whom I was staying, called in an Hakim. He came in leisurely and took his seat on a cot near me. He asked me to relate the whole story of my illness, and when I had done, he laid his three fingers on my pulse. After a minute or two, he diagnosed my complaint as fever due to excessive heat, and in support of his statement, began to quote authority after authority, as if that was what I needed.
He then wrote out a long prescription of about twenty medicines, and gave elaborate directions as to how the first was to be mixed with the second, how the third was to be pounded and strained through a cloth, the fourth and the fifth to be boiled and cooled, and so on. The mixture was to be one glassful to be taken as one dose. He then gave a long dissertation on the properties of each medicine and extolled his prescription which the said never failed in curing such cases of fevers. He had no idea of temperature at all.
Nolens volens, I drank the decoction which he had prescribed till my belly was full, and inwardly. cursed the Hakim and his big doses. In the afternoon, he turned up again with the shabby worm-eaten book in his hand, which he said he had inherited from his teacher, and which was a treasure-house of prescriptions for all sorts of real and imaginary ills human flesh is heir to. He tried to satisfy me by reading from that book that my complaint had been well got in hand, and that I should not despair.
I wondered how people could entrust their lives to such a man, and he was believed to be a very clever physician in the neighborhood. In appearance, he looked quite innocent. Nature helps him in his business. Death and cure, it is his sound principle which he is never tired of preaching are both in the hands of God. He is only an instrument, and when anything goes wrong, he will console the people by saying that no one can withstand the decrees of Fate.