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New Doctor in Town

The people of Meadowville were worried. Old Dr. Porter had just been rushed to a distant hospital. He had suffered a heart attack. Now the people of the town and the farms around it had no doctor.

For years Dr. Porter had been trying to get a partner to help him in his practice. But none of the young doctors wanted to come out to this out-of-the way town.

The town council did all they could to find a new doctor for Meadowville. They put ads in the medical magazines and wrote to medical schools. But for weeks there was no answer.

Then one Monday a man came to town. "I'm Dr. Marvell," he announced. "I hear you need a doctor. I can give you two days a week -- I've been covering several towns with the same problem."

The people of Meadowville were delighted. That very afternoon Dr. Marvell treated patients in Dr. Porter's office. Word got around town quickly, and soon the waiting room was filled.

Mrs. Mullins, who had had back trouble for years, hobbled into the office. Dr. Marvell had her lie down on the examining table. He took a tube of ointment out of his bag and rubbed some of it into her back. Mrs. Mullins thought she heard him mumbling something while he rubbed, but she couldn't make out any of the words. When she sat up, she was amazed. Her back pain was gone. In fact, she felt better than she had for years.

The next patient was an emergency case. Pete Rand, the carpenter, had been working on a new house and cut his hand. "I guess this'll take about ten stitches," he said.

"It is a pretty bad cut," said Dr. Marvell, "but I never use stitches. I have something that works much better." He took a tube of ointment out of his bag and rubbed some over the cut.

"What did you say, Doctor?" asked Pete.

"Oh, nothing," said Dr. Marvell. "How does your hand feel now?"

Pete looked down at his hand and gaped. The cut seemed to be healing, right before his eyes.

The next patient, Milly Benson, had a terrible cold. Her eyes were running, and she kept sneezing.

Dr. Marvell took a bottle of large green pills out of his bag. He handed one to Milly with a glass of water. "Just take this pill," he said, "and you'll feel a lot better."

And sure enough, she did. Within minutes after Milly took the pill, her cold was completely gone!

Patient after patient went into the office, came out smiling, and rushed home to tell friends and relatives about the wonderful new doctor. Everyone in Meadowville and the surrounding area who had an ache or a pain, a sprain or a sniffle, rushed down to the doctor's office to see Dr. Marvell before he left. It was after midnight when he finally closed the office.

The next morning, Dr. Marvell was gone. In the supermarket, in the barbershop, in the hardware store, people talked about him. Who was he? Where had he come from? How did he work those amazing cures? There was certainly something strange about him -- why did he wear that funny hat in the office? Would he really come back on Thursday?

Dr. Marvell had left the people of Meadowville in perfect health. But during the next two days, as always happens, people fell off ladders or cut themselves or came down with colds. By Thursday, when the new doctor returned, there were plenty of patients for him to treat. Again, he had just the right ointment or pill to make each one feel fine again.

The people of Meadowville soon got used to seeing Dr. Marvell on Monday or Thursday with whatever ailment was bothering them. Dr. Porter, recovering slowly from his heart attack at the Regional Hospital, was glad to hear that his town was in good hands.

But then, one Tuesday, Robby Bender at Bentgage Farm complained of a pain in his throat. It hurt so much when he tried to swallow that he couldn't drink any water.

His parents drove him to the hospital. "Was he bitten by any animal recently?" the doctor asked. At first Robby's parents said no. But then Robby admitted that one day, about a month before, he had gone for a walk in the woods when he was supposed to be doing his chores. "There was a raccoon. It was so tame, it walked right up to me. But when I tried to pet it, it bit me!"

The doctor was solemn. "I'm afraid your son has rabies. And it's too late to give him the vaccine. We'll do all we can, but I don't know if we can save him."

That night, and all the next day, the doctors at the hospital struggled to help Robby, but he kept getting worse. First thing Thursday morning, the boy's parents were waiting at the office for Dr. Marvell. As soon as he appeared, they rushed him down to the hospital. No one was quite sure afterward just what Dr. Marvell did, but within half an hour, Robby was sitting up in bed eating two portions of lunch.

After Dr. Marvell left Robby's room, he stopped by to see Dr. Porter. The old doctor was lying in his bed, looking pale and ill. "I'm glad to hear you're taking care of my patients," he said. "I had been thinking of retiring for some time, and now I don't think I'll ever get my strength back again."

"Oh, I wouldn't say that," said Dr. Marvell, giving Dr. Porter a friendly pat on the shoulder. Did he say something else? Dr. Porter wasn't sure. But somehow he suddenly felt stronger. The pain was gone, and he was full of energy.

The next Monday, Dr. Marvell did not appear in Meadowville. But Dr. Porter was back to open the office. The people of the town never did hear from Dr. Marvell again, and sometimes they missed him. But they had their good Dr. Porter. He might look like an old man on the outside. But inside, his heart was young and strong. And the way he felt, he'd be around for another fifty years at least!









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