A powerful monarch summoned a holy father who was said to have healing powers to help him with the pains in his back.

‘God will help us,’ said the holy man. ‘But first let us understand the reasons for these pains. I would suggest that Your Majesty make your confession now, for confession forces a man to confront his problems and frees him from many feelings of guilt.’

Annoyed at being asked to think about his problems, the king said: ‘I don’t want to talk about such things; I need someone who can cure me without asking so many questions.’

The priest left and returned half an hour later with another man. ‘I believe that words can relieve pain and help me discover the correct path to a cure,’ he said.

‘Since you do not wish to talk, however, I cannot help you. But I have here just the man you need: my friend is a veterinary surgeon and is accustomed to not talking to his patients.’

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