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Dr Iannis had a very busy day ahead. He got up earlier because he had a lot of patients to visit. In the morning he called his nurse to check whether everything was all right and drove to the village. He removed a few teeth, took part in the surprisingly easy birth of little twin boys and after leaving Mrs. Simon’s house he went straight to Stamatis, an old man who was suffering from an earache.

After looking into the old man’s ear, the doctor cleaned up the inside of the ear using a cotton stick and alcohol. He knew that Stamatis hadn’t heard anything in that ear since childhood. Dr Iannis was very surprised when the cotton stick touched something hard, something that shouldn’t have been there. He took the old man to the window, where the light was better, and looked into the ear once again. He noticed something round inside. It was a little, green pea. Dr Iannis thought about the problem for some moments, then requested a light hammer.

The old man and his wife looked at each other thinking that the doctor must be crazy. “What does this have to do with my earache?” asked Stamatis. Wondering about what the doctor was intending to do, he brought the hammer, and the doctor carefully placed the cotton stick into Stamatis’s ear and raised the hammer. “Oh no! May God protect my husband!” cried the old wife, hiding her face in her hands.

This terrible cry caused the doctor to stop and think that the hammer might only move the pea deeper into the ear. “Change of plan,” he said loudly and gave instructions to the old man. Stamatis had to lie on his side till late evening with his ear filled with warm water. The doctor returned at 8 o’clock, saw that the little pea became very soft and he took the pea out using just a cotton stick. Stamatis put his hand to his ear and shouted, “My God, it’s loud. I mean everything is so loud now!”

“You are perfectly healthy,” said Dr Iannis with pleasure. “A very successful operation, I think. And definitely, not a usual one!” Right after that he was walking home with a fat chicken under his arm and a freshly baked loaf of bread in his hands. He was very proud of himself that he managed to make one more person happy that day.

adapted from Captain Corelli’s Mandolinby Louis De Bernieres