Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
585. THE PATIENT AND HIS SYMPTOMS
Perry 170 (Chambry
The doctor asked his patient, 'How are you feeling?' The patient said,
'Woe is me! I'm shivering all over, which has me very worried.' The doctor
assured the patient that this was actually a good sign. The next time
the doctor asked the patient how he was doing, the man replied, 'I feel
awful: I'm suffering from a high fever which has me confined to bed.'
Again the doctor said that this was a positive symptom. Finally a member
of the man's family asked, 'How are you doing, my dear brother? I hope
you get well soon!' The man replied, 'I'm dying of positive symptoms!'
The fable shows when people want to console someone who is suffering,
they usually encourage him by saying things that are not true.
Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura
Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.
cover, with new ISBN, published in 2008; contents of book unchanged.