The Fourth Story

The Physician


The people of Vàldovar are exceptionally healthy. They seldom fall ill, and, even when they do, it is usually with no more than a brief cold in the head, or a slight upset of the tummy caused by eating too much (which is easy to do, because the food in Vàldovar, though simple, is really delicious).
      Many reasons have been given for the remarkable way in which the Valdovarians avoid illnesses of all kinds.
The menfolk drink the rich, red wine, made from the black grapes that grow on the lower slopes of the Western Mountains, and many claim that it is this that keeps them in such good health.
      The womenfolk in summer gather in the Sky-petals from which they make a delicate perfume. The aroma that arises from the flowers is well known to have a powerful effect in keeping illness at bay.
      The boys and girls and the young men and women spend many hours walking in the meadows, beside the gentle streams...