Exporting mental illness

An impoverished doctor in an Alpine valley of hearty people, lures a naive country boy into his examining room, shows him frightening anatomical charts of the mysteries within, and awakens fears about hiccups and hair loss, acne and gas pains. According to this old French fable, the boy leaves clutching a bottle of medicine and carrying alarming stories to pass along. After a few months the fears have spread, the aches and pains of daily labor have become symptoms of serious illness, the clinic is overrun, a hospital is under construction, and medicine has become a necessity.

 

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