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Gurglings of a Putrid Stream

Thoughts on books and other assorted topics.

See also:  http://goppf.wikidot.com/swstart

My name:  Brian Martin


I have to admit that I never read Aesop's Fables as a kid, though of course I picked up a handful of them over the years. It's only now, when I am reading the book to my youngest son, that I'm approaching them systematically.

Recently, we read "The Quack Frog." And here it is if, like me, you've never read it before or have forgotten it.


Once upon a time a Frog came forth from his home in the marshes and proclaimed to all the world that he was a learned physician, skilled in drugs and able to cure all diseases. Among the crowd was a Fox, who called out, "You a doctor! Why, how can you set up to heal others when you cannot even cure your own lame legs and blotched and wrinkled skin?"


The moral of this one (not all of them have morals, I've discovered) is "Physician, heal thyself."

The whole thing -- title and fable -- suggest an epidemic of quacks 2600 years ago. And not just con men, but seriously messed up con men, who exhibited many of the diseases they claimed to be able to cure.

But I wonder if maybe it's a Theodoric of York kind of thing, and what it's really saying is, Doctor, how about you try your cures on yourself before meting them out to us.  One of the scariest books I've ever read is one about medicine in America from the 17th to the 19th centuries.


The great Theodoric: