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Stories from the Verse
Verse Three, Chapter One
Chapter 54: Kondor 18
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"Doctor!" Kondor blurted out. Friar Tuck had frozen in the doorway when he saw the soldier in the room. "I'm so glad you're here. This man has brought his very sick daughter, and I would like your opinion as to whether there is anything we should be doing for her which has not occurred to me."
The good friar was quick on the uptake, and moved directly to the examination table. Kondor continued.
"She has a high fever, swollen glands, and digestive complications leading to dehydration. We have started her on the antibiotic, given her some root, and, as you can see, taken steps to cool her. We are planning to keep her here while she takes her medication. Have I forgotten anything?"
"Soup," the friar said. "Chicken soup, if we can get it."
"Of course! What was I thinking. Yes, nurse, she should have plenty of liquids, including soup, the pure water from the new still--and let's try something a bit different. I'd like to make tea for her by boiling some root. It will be bitter, but it will probably be more effective, and will also help restore her body fluids. If it works as I expect, we shall add that to our supplies in the future. Excellent, doctor; I'm glad I asked."
"I am glad I could help."
"Now we have another problem; it's not a medical problem, but these people have traveled from Nottingham with their daughter, and they wish to remain close at hand. But we have no place for them to stay here, and I know no place nearby where they could stay."
"That is a problem," the friar agreed. "But I think there might be an answer. There's a small community living in the woods about two hours from here if you know the shortcut. I believe we could find someone there willing to give some space for travelers on such a sad errand, and they could travel back and forth by daylight. Ann, you are from that village, are you not? Perhaps you could travel with us to show the way and make the arrangements. Were you returning home today?"
"I was not, sir."
"But she could," Kondor suggested. "Take a few days off, Ann, and take some food to your family. I can manage without you for a short time."
So it was agreed, and in about an hour Ann and Friar Tuck took the soldier and his wife out of the area.
By the time Tuck returned, the girl had been settled in the ward. Tuck went directly to Kondor.
"What are you thinking, inviting a soldier of the shire reeve in here?"
"I don't much see the difference whether he stands in the doorway or comes inside."
"You know what I mean. The shire reeve has his men combing the forest for us, and they are not planning on offering us commendations."
"This place is not a secret; it was bound to be discovered eventually. The man brought his sick daughter to us. Perhaps if we cure her, he will be disposed to keep our secret. If I turned him away at the door, he would know where I am and have no reason to treat me kindly. But I am here to treat the sick, and I do not choose to be any man's enemy unless they choose to be mine."
Tuck huffed. "You are right, of course. But I really do not like it."
"Did you find them a place to stay?"
"Yes. It is only a barn, but it is covered and dry, and there is straw inside so it should be comfortable. It should be enough for one of those ruffians the shire reeve employs for his troops. The owner says they can stay there for a couple of weeks, as long as he can still do his work."
"They will be here tomorrow, I think, and the next day. After about three days of walking back and forth, they will probably not come for two days, and then they will insist that we let them take the child, who will appear largely recovered. We've seen it before. Hopefully I will be able to convince them that she must stay longer and take more medicine so she won't get sick again right away."
It happened much as Kondor predicted, but he prevailed, recognizing that the mother was quite concerned for the health of her child. On the tenth day, after giving the child a dose of the medicine and a cooked breakfast, he let her leave with them.
"They didn't give us anything," Tuck observed.
"No; but perhaps they will show their gratitude another way."
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with five other sequential chapters of the novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #37: Character Diversity. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter.
As to the old stories that have long been here: