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The Arabian Nights Entertainments

The Story of the Greek King and the
Physician Douban
In the country of Zouman, in Persia, there lived a Greek king. This king was a
leper, and all his doctors had been unable to cure him, when a very clever
physician came to his court.
He was very learned in all languages, and knew a great deal about herbs and
medicines.
As soon as he was told of the king's illness he put on his best robe and
presented himself before the king. "Sire," said he, "I know that no physician has
been able to cure your majesty, but if you will follow my instructions, I will
promise to cure you without any medicines or outward application."
The king listened to this proposal.
"If you are clever enough to do this," he said, "I promise to make you and your
descendants rich for ever."
The physician went to his house and made a polo club, the handle of which he
hollowed out, and put in it the drug he wished to use. Then he made a ball, and
with these things he went the next day to the king.
He told him that he wished him to play at polo. Accordingly the king mounted his
horse and went into the place where he played. There the physician approached
him with the bat he had made, saying, "Take this, sire, and strike the ball till you
feel your hand and whole body in a glow. When the remedy that is in the handle
of the club is warmed by your hand it will penetrate throughout your body. The
you must return to your palace, bathe, and go to sleep, and when you awake to-
morrow morning you will be cured."
The king took the club and urged his horse after the ball which he had thrown. He
struck it, and then it was hit back by the courtiers who were playing with him.
 
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