74 JOURNEYS IN PERSIA LETTER xvm
" Feringhi medicine " is all they care for, and in their eyes
every Feringhi is a Hciklm.
I have often wondered that the Moslem contempt for
women does not prevent even the highest chiefs from
seeking a woman's medical help, hut their own Hakims,
of whom there are a few, though I have never seen any,
are mostly women, and the profession is hereditary. The
men, they say, are too unsettled to be HaMms. Some of
these women are renowned for their skill as bullet
extractors. If a father happens to have any medical
knowledge he communicates it to his [daughter rather
than to his son. Aziz's grandmother learned medicine
from a native Indian doctor in Pars, and his mother had
a repute as a bullet extractor. A woman extracted the
three bullets by which he has been wounded. The
" fees" are very high, but depend entirely on the cure.
A poor man pays for the extraction of a bullet and the
cure of the wound from fifteen to twenty tumans (from
£5 to £6 :10s.), a rich man from forty to sixty. In all
cases they only give medicine so long as they think there
is hope of recovery, and have no knowledge of any
treatment which can alleviate the sufferings of the dying.
When death seems inevitable they stuff the nose with a
paste made of aromatic herbs.
They dress wounds with an astringent paste made
from a very small gall-nut found on one species of oak.
For dyspeptic pains and " bad blood " they eat bitumen.
For snake-bite, which is common, they keep the bitten
person moving about and apply the back part of live
hens to the wound till the hens cease to be affected, or else
the intestines of a goat newly killed. For rheumatism,
headache, and debility they have no remedies, but for
fever they use an infusion of willow bark, which is not
efficacious. They have great faith in amulets and charms,
and in chewing and swallowing verses of the Koran in