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The Doctor


     There once lived a brilliant, young man, who lived in a small town, in a lush hamlet, in the midst of rugged mountains. He had grown up in a family, with a hard-working mother and father and six siblings, three sisters and three brothers. His father was a carpenter, who was known for solid construction and the graceful beauty of the furniture he made. His mother was a caring wife and mother, who sewed clothing for her family and organized a large garden to feed her family. The children were encouraged to study hard in school and help their parents with carpentry, gardening and sewing.
     Joshua was the third child, but second-eldest boy. From a young age, he had a keen interest in living beings, both human and animal, and always had a compassionate heart towards the sick or wounded. From an early age, he learned to tend his parents’ wounded or sick chickens and goats and often came upon wounded wild animals, which he nursed, until many regained their health. He became an experienced “mid-wife” in delivering newborn goats.
     As he matured, he excelled in his studies and eventually won a scholarship to a famous and elite university, far from his home in the mountains. It was a great privilege and honor to be accepted in the school. His family, though very proud of his accomplishments, sent him off somewhat reluctantly and full of fear. They very much missed his cheerful, helpful spirit and his gift for healing and compassion.
     Almost immediately, Joshua was right at home in the new university. As in his hometown, nestled 2000 miles away, amidst mountains, he soon won the friendship and respect of his professors and fellow students. He was known, not only for brilliance and excellent scholarship, but for his sense of humor, humility, compassion and healing touch. Several years went by, and he graduated with honors and became a doctor. He had been much concerned with a particular disease, which had been growing in its prevalence and usually fatal result. He did research in this disease, popularly known as “misfit”, which could potentially infect any part of the body. It was not a contagious disease, but it was not known what caused this disease. However, “misfit” was always incurable and would eventually end in death.
     Joshua did not content himself only with research in this disease “misfit”, but he opened a clinic to treat patients with the disease. He and his team began to have some slight success in reducing the suffering and lengthening the lives of victims of this disease.
     Twice every year, Joshua returned for a week to visit his family in the town of Mountain Ash. He loved to spend time with his parents and siblings and their families, as they married and started their own families. He listened to their stories and recounted about his research into the disease “misfit” and his work in the clinic. The family listened with wonder and skepticism. They could not imagine life in the great metropolis of Hope. They had heard of the disease “misfit” and were terrified. No one in Mountain Ash had ever contracted this disease and they did not want to know about it. The people of Mountain Ash were a bit superstitious about it, and did not allow any person with “misfit” to even visit their town.
     Eventually Joshua’s family became so upset about his work, that they forbade him to visit, fearing that even though he did not himself have the disease, that the clinical work among “misfit” patients might somehow cause them to get the disease from him.
Joshua was distraught at his family’s decision, but immersed himself even more in his work. The clinic became more successful in cures for different forms of misfit and in extending life and limiting suffering. Joshua’s youngest brother, Sam, had a great admiration and love for his brother and secretly kept in touch with him. Sam let him know of family news and followed Joshua’s career.
     One day, Sam called Joshua with some shattering news. Their sister, Larkinga, had suddenly become afflicted with misfit. From the description of her symptoms, Joshua knew that his clinic could easily treat it. However, without this treatment, the disease would be fatal. He advised Sam to give encouragement subtly to his family to be open to coming to his clinic. He would have liked to treat his sister, Larkinga, in her home town of Mountain Ash, but, alas, the treatment would not work except in the metropolis of Hope. It would take years to build such a clinic in Mountain Ash.
     Joshua left immediately and traveled uninvited to his hometown. Although they now permitted him to enter, he was treated with distrust and anger. Some members of his family actually blamed him for his sister’s illness and others accused him of a lack of concern and having abandoned his family. Joshua stayed in Sam’s home for a week and Sam had to bar his doors and hide Joshua, for fear of a nightly attack by angry townsmen.
     In the day, Joshua and Sam would visit his sister, Larkinga and plead with her to go with Joshua for treatment in Hope. She always listened quietly and then said she could not go, it was too far, too expensive and she could not survive the journey. Her family always agreed and she and they did not believe the clinic could help her. Her case was incurable and hopeless, she said, and she refused to go.
     On the last day, her family would not allow Joshua to enter their home and called the police. They obtained a restraining order from the court, barring him from their town. They drove him to the town gate and made him leave, alone, on the long, deserted mountain highway. Joshua was broken-hearted, as he trudged down the road. However, brother Sam came to his rescue and picked him up with his truck and drove him to the nearest train, 100 miles away.
     Joshua returned to the Metropolis of Hope and threw his energy into research about misfit and caring for his patients. In every patient, he saw his beloved sister, Larkinga. Most of his patients were recovering, to live normal, healthy lives and the fame of his clinic was slowly spreading. Requests came for founding new clinics. Then Joshua received word that his beloved sister had died. Heart-broken, he immersed himself more in his medical practice, seeing in each patient, Larkinga. When Sam had informed him of the news, Joshua had moaned, “How is it that I can bring my healing to the multitudes of people, who come for help, but my own family would not allow me to help???” Sam did not have any answer. He came to visit Joshua and the two cried together. Sam decided to stay with Joshua and help him with his work. Their sister, Faith, deeply regretted the death of Larkinga and took over Sam’s role, to keep both Joshua and Sam informed of the family news.