The following is a reader take by Half MD.
Archaeologists this week have discovered an ancient Indian enclave in what is now rural Mississippi. Called the Click Creek Indians — this particular organization seems to have been wiped out many hundreds of years ago, but left behind a vast library with which scientists were able to piece together their final history. This tribe was well advanced and used a written language etched into leather and papyrus to keep track of the days’ events.
This society believed in the transportation of currency and used animal skins and shells to purchase goods and services. To have wealth meant to accumulate animal body parts. At the highest rungs of the economic ladder people would display their body parts within their homes. This practice of exhibiting animal parts was so popular that it continues to this day amongst the modern inhabitants of Mississippi.
Within this location there lived a witch doctor by the name of Kisni who had spent many years studying the ancient arts of herbalism and spiritual healing. By crushing together mushrooms he could cure gangrene. His meditations could relieve headaches. And his various potions could alleviate all manner of GI upset. He was the best in the region and his skill commanded a hefty fee.
One day a local farmer by the name of Stimu visited the witch doctor in hopes of finding a cure for his sore throat. Kisni agreed to take the case, examined the man’s neck, and said that he could heal it at the costs of three shells. Stimu recoiled in anger and stated that he shouldn’t have to pay the fee. “Witchcraft is a right that everyone deserves! You are just being greedy with something that’s so important.” He then stormed out of the hut and gathered his neighbors.
He convinced them that knowledge about herbs and potions should be freely available to everyone and that the people who supply the mushrooms and plants were in a conspiracy to drive up prices. Together they sought out the nation’s warlord to force the witch doctor to treat the inhabitants for free. The warlord listened to stories of people who have been turned away by the witch doctor. He heard of a child who was forced to live with a splinter in his hand because his parents could not provide a raccoon’s tale. He heard of a man who almost died of heat exhaustion because he could not afford a cooling elixir. The warlord grabbed his fighting stick and shouted, “I’ll force the witch doctor to give away his witchcraft for free. If he doesn’t, I’ll whoop him.”
Together they banded and preceded to the witch doctor’s hut. The warlord ordered Kisni to provide free care to everyone, regardless of ability to pay. The doctor replied, “I spent so many thousands of shells and skins trying to earn my education. I simply cannot give away witchcraft for free. I’ll be forced to leave this region if you continue with your demands.”
When it finally became apparent that the witch doctor would not be able to live under the warlord’s demands, he packed his things up and fled to live with a nearby tribe. Eventually the Click Creek Indians succumbed to infection. Without the witch doctor’s presence to heal them, they all died from disease. All that’s left of them are their leather and papyrus writings.
Half MD is a medical student that blogs at Half MD.com.