He was watching from behind the window the bustle from the neighbouring yard. His new neighbor was a doctor. He had just come to town with a cart full of suitcases of all kinds and also with many big and small wooden trunks which the people carried carefully. If at the beginning in the yard of the doctor entered one or two people per day after two weeks it was full of people. But nobody came to him.

He sat at his desk and started writing pressing so hard the nib of the pen that he broke it. Nervous, he changed it and then crumpled the sheet of paper and threw it down. He who was the most respected from the whole area, from whom all the rich people of the town asked for advice, for whom everyone struggled to have him as their guests now was not interesting anymore for anyone. He crumpled one more sheet of paper although it was blank.

The knocking at the door made him startle.

`Master, I brought what you asked me for. Is it good?`

A black rooster was struggling in the arms of his servant.

`Yes, the scholar said frowning. Did you bring the hen claws?`

`Twenty, the servant said bowing. Do I bury them where you told me, under the big oak?`

The scholar nodded his head.

Two days after that two soldiers came to the door of the doctor. They opened a long paper scoll and started reading it. While reading it the doctor`s face became paler and paler. The people around them started shouting.

`Bring us a shovel, the soldiers asked.

Followed by the doctor and the people, the soldiers went into the garden and digged at the root of the biggest oak. Immediately the body of the rooster and a lot of hen claws came out.

`Oh, the crowd shouted. This is magic. He is not a doctor, he is a wizard!`

The doctor was arrested and the next day he was taken to the court which was so crowded that they had to open all the doors and windows.

`Do you have anything to say in your defense ?` the judge asked him.

`I am innocent`, the doctor answered. I only healed the people as I had been taught in faculty.`

`But what about the claws and the rooster ? They were found buried in your yard.`

`The last rooster I saw was on my plate. Who would bury roosters instead of eating them?`

A few laughed but they were covered by the crowd who was shouting:

`The wizards do this. He is a wizard. You came to spell us. You lied us!`

The doctor looked around. Among the people who shouted there were some healed by him or whose pain he soothed at least and who had left from him thanking him with tears in their eyes

`Silence ! the judge shouted and opened a sheet of paper written nicely. We received this letter which sent us exactly to the place where the claws and the rooster were buried. You were seen burying them.`

`Who wrote these why didn`t he came up here to say aloud that it was me who did all these I am accused about?`

`There is no need to come. He is a person we trust very much. Now you will receive your punishment.`

The people started shouting:

`He should go out of our town. Out!`

The doctor asked to speak with the judge. He approached him and told him quietly:

`But if the person who sent you the letter is the one who buried under my tree the claws and rooster?`

The judge glared at him and told him:

`He is an honorable person. He wouldn`t lie.`

Then raising his voice he announced the sentence:

`In three days you must leave our town!`

The room was full of applauses and ovations

The doctor went to the door. A few from those he was passing by avoided looking at him.

On the third day in the morning the doctor went up in the cart full of luggage and wooden trunks. He had a heavy heart. He looked once more behind him and left. It was strange but in the yard of his neighbor there was an enexpectedly big crowd for that early hour.

The doctor continued his way frowning.

`God help me to forgive him!` he murmured.

The streets of the town were empty but he felt the eyes of the people from behind the curtains. He reached the exit from town when he heard a trot behind him. A hore rider was coming in a rush.

`Stop. My master askeds you to come to see him.`

The doctor pulled the reins of the horses stopping them.

`Yoru master?`

`Yes, your neighbor. He had an accident and nobody can stop his bleeding. If you don`t come he will die`

The doctor narrowed his eyes. He let his hands fall slowly on his knees.

`Are you coming?` the servant insisted.

The reins hit the horses gently and the cart resumed its way towards the exit from town. The servant remained for a while looking after it then returned in a gallop to the house of his master.

The doctor stopped the horses before the crucifix from the edge of the town. He got down from his cart and knelt before the cross>

`God I begged you to help me forgive him but it is too much to go back and save him. Why are you giving me this trial?`

The sun was rising slowly in the sky.

`Nobody can accuse me that I didn`t save him.`

The cart started its running with a jolt. The medicine bottles were heard hitting each other.

He was lying in his bed. His life was running out with every blood drop he was loosing. His last hope vanished when the servant he had sent after doctor returned alone. The crowd he wished so much to be around him was fussing around aimlessly in his room. He closed his eyes.

All of a sudden the door opened and somebody came close to his bed. A warm hand touched his forehead. He opened his eyes.

`Can you save me? He said with a fainting voice and a tear was rolling down on his cheek.

Veronica Iani


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