Tuesday, June 5, 2007

DOCTORS, POETS AND WISE WOMEN

I just finished Mary Renault's novel The Praise Singer, the fictional autobiography of the Greek poet Simonides. The novel is in the form of Simonides looking back over his life from his twilight years. (if the dates in the history books are right he was in his middle seventies when he died) He recounts the illness and death of his teacher's apprentice and how he wondered at the time if the physician's treatments were any good.

"They have their rules, and they follow them. Whether it does you any good or not." He also recounts how the local physicians ask him occaisionally how he managed to reach his fairly advanced age. He says that usually gives them some reason or other and they go away satisfied. What he doesn't tell them is that at the first sign of illness he takes to his bed and "sends for the local wise woman." ;-)

2 comments:

tenyearnap said...

I love that! Sounds like a good book. --Cin

toonguykc said...

I'd modify that to "...the local wise woman carrying a case of beer."  But that's just me.

Russ