Yearning for a longer tail, a donkey consults an eminent physician.
“I’m sorry,” the physician says. “I know of no remedy
for that problem.” He refers the donkey to a renowned medical center
in Italy for a second opinion.
Although this tale of a tail may bring to mind a persistent topic of
e-mail spam, it originated around 1180 CE. The physician in
the story is Galen, an iconic figure nearly 8 centuries after his death. The
donkey, Brunellus, proves an astute observer of foibles of students, monks,
and others he encounters in his futile search for a cure. The author, Nigel
Wireker, was himself a monk at Canterbury.
Lamberg L. Medical Books From the Cradle Delight in a Digital Age. JAMA. 2004;292(20):2455-2456. doi:10.1001/jama.292.20.2455