- Project Runeberg -  The story of San Michele /
54

(1929) [MARC] Author: Axel Munthe - Tema: Medicine
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taken prisoner and brought to the sunless land
of his enemies! Didn’t he confidentially put
his horny hand in mine as soon as he saw me?
Didn’t he like me to pat him gently on his back?
He would sit quite still for minutes holding on to
my hand without saying anything. Often he
would look at the palm of my hand with great
attention, as if he knew something about
palmistry, bend my fingers one after another as if to
see how the joints were working, then he would
drop my hand and look with the same attention
at his own hand with a chuckle, as if to say that
he saw no great difference between the two and
he was quite right there. Most of the time he
used to sit quite still fingering a straw, in the
corner of the cage where his visitors could not see
him, seldom using the swing provided for him
in the clumsy hope that he might take it for the
swinging branch of the sycamore-tree where he
used to take his siesta in the days of his freedom.
He used to sleep on a low couch made of bamboo,
like the sêrir of the Arabs, but he was an early
riser and I never saw him in bed until he was
taken ill. He had been taught by his keeper to
eat his midday-meal seated before a low table, a
napkin stuck under his chin. He had even been
provided with a knife and fork of hard wood, but
had never taken to them, he much preferred to
eat with his fingers, as did our forefathers up till
a couple of hundred years ago and still does the
majority of the human race. But he drank his
milk with great gusto out of his own cup and also
his morning coffee with much sugar in it. It is
true that he blew his nose with his fingers, but so

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