Monday, February 15, 2010

"The Doctor's Heroism." Villiers De L'Isle-Adam.

One-minute review: Famous doctor, for a fee, treats all cases of poor humanity in poor health. One morning he is seen by a wasted, emaciated carcass and is about to dismiss him when he thinks to ask if this skeletal human being is wealthy and is assured he is. The doctor tells the skin and bones to eat watercress for six months, a diet he has heard about and wants someone to try.

Six months later, a giant, healthy man charges into the doctor’s office. The emaciated man has been turned into a healthy giant by his diet of watercress. Amazed, the doctor shoots him dead, does an autopsy on him to see how his diet of watercress has produced this miracle of health.

Now the doctor is on trial for murder, but will be vindicated because he did it for the future of man. “…the exclusive love of the humanity of the future without any regard for the individual of the present is, in our own time, the only sole motive that ought to justify the acquittal under any circumstances, of the magnanimous extremists of science.”

75 Short Masterpieces: Stories from the World’s Literature. Ed. Roger B. Goodman. New York: Bantam Books. 1961. These summaries do not do justice to the vividness of the stories. RayS.

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