Hello, Benjamin from Brothers Campfire here! Gather ’round and I will spin you a tale…
I never really noticed when, but the hernia went away on its own.
This made work much easier, but there was a lot of catching up to do to keep up with the other boys.
It seemed I had to work twice as hard, failing more often than not.
For instance, I laid out dozens of snares in the forest and due to more experience, other boys had better results.
On one such day, I was returning home with a single muskrat, a pittance of fur and meat when I ran into a traveling chirurgeon. We gossiped about everything and I told him about my church experience with the hernia.
Very upset, he told me that was impossible and the Preacher Man story preposterous.
“I’ve sewn up hernias for farmers, sailors, and soldiers. They never get better on their own. I don’t care who you pray to.”
Knowing my dad would frown on disrespect, I said, “Thank you.”
Whew boy, that was a mistake if I ever made one. The man became defensive all of a sudden and I heard the longest monologue ever.
For brevity, it sounded a lot like this;
“Young man, you aren’t hearing what I’m saying. I have been in the medical field for 23 years, and I’ve worked everywhere from La Longi to Pimerden, Carsiolia, Boga Woga, and even Northwich. My father was a chirurgeon, and his father was as well, and many generations before that. My surname, Gryll, is synonymous with medicine.”
He spoke so fast and definitively, I thought he would pass out or have a spiritual experience about himself. I smiled in amusement at his conviction and I am most certain it encouraged him. The longer he went on the more frenzied he got.
“Let me tell you, at my office in La Longi, I have medical journals way back to the first successful hernia procedure. Each and every time, a hernia needed to be sewn tightly by a practiced hand.”
“Have you ever performed surgery, young man?”
I had a bit of an authority problem those days, but dutifully said,
“Well, let me tell you son, it isn’t easy.”
Reaching into his satchel, he pulled out a fine looking dagger, making me a little uneasy.
“I want to drive home that the Preacher didn’t heal you through prayer.”
He pondered thoughtfully, and handed me the blade, and after looking it over respectfully, I handed it back.
“Son, this blade has been passed on for generations from far back. It is supposedly made of Vijayapuram steel for a general named Chandra and gifted to a soldier named Ishaan who then passed it on to our great ancestor Ashton Gryll, a pioneer in medicine.”
“There are lots of stories about our family, but they are lies. In fact, I traveled to Vijayapura and researched the story in person and was disappointed because there is no historical record of Chandra or Ishaan.”
“Like this blade, throw away the fables, son!”
Onward the practitioner rambled.
Many other words did the good chirurgeon speak, and I listened the best I could being so young and all, but there are only so many words a young man can soak up in one sitting. Though grown, he reminded me of the Heron boys to the Northwest.
They were great talkers when sitting about.
With that, the traveling chirurgeon stood up and flung the blade far into the woods.
Finally, I told the man I must be going, lest the muskrat I trapped grow too stiff to skin.
Bidding farewell, I trotted down the trail as fast as I could go, then hurriedly, I half circled back, making as little noise as possible and found that knife.
Fable or not, a knife was a knife and any iron tools were valued in our neck of the woods.