The Old Woman and the Physician

An old woman, who had become blind, called in a physician and promised him, before witnesses, that if he would restore her eyesight she would give him a most handsome reward. But, said she, if he did not cure her and her malady remained, he should receive nothing. The agreement being concluded, the physician tampered from time to time with the old lady's eyes and, meanwhile, bit by bit, carried off her goods.

At length after a time he set about the task in earnest and cured her and thereupon asked for the stipulated fee. But the old woman, on recovering her sight, saw none of her goods left in the house. When, therefore, the physician importuned her in vain for payment and she continually put him off with excuses, he summoned her at last before the judges.

Being now called upon for her defense, she said, "What this man says is true enough; I promised to give him his fee if my sight were restored and nothing if my eyes continued bad. Now then he says that I am cured, but I say just the contrary; for when my malady first came on, I could see all sorts of furniture and goods in my house; but now, when he says he has restored my sight, I cannot see one jot of either."

He who plays a trick must be prepared to take a joke.