Medical Residency

Mabel Powers in Lapham’s Quarterly:

Along, long time ago, some Indians were running along a trail that led to an Indian settlement. As they ran, a rabbit jumped from the bushes and sat before them.

The Indians stopped, for the rabbit still sat up before them and did not move from the trail. They shot their arrows at him, but the arrows came back unstained with blood.

A second time they drew their arrows. Now no rabbit was to be seen. Instead an old man stood on the trail. He seemed to be weak and sick.

The old man asked them for food and a place to rest. They would not listen but went on to the settlement.

Slowly the old man followed them, down the trail to the wigwam village. In front of each wigwam, he saw a skin placed on a pole. This he knew was the sign of the clan to which the dwellers in that wigwam belonged.

First he stopped at a wigwam where a wolfskin hung. He asked to enter, but they would not let him. They said, “We want no sick men here.”

On he went toward another wigwam. Here a turtle’s shell was hanging. But this family would not let him in.

He tried a wigwam where he saw a beaver skin. He was told to move on.

More here.