(T) The Vet’s Apprentice (the guru and blind faith)


This story illustrates some of the problems in blind following. It could also illustrate the need for teachers to explain what they are doing and why!

One day a vet was called to see a horse that had a huge swelling on its neck. The vet travelled with his apprentice and upon reaching the farm carefully inspected the horse. He then took a hammer and struck it violently against the lump. Almost miraculously, the swelling disappeared and the horse retuned to normal health.

Some weeks later, the vet’s apprentice was called out urgently for another horse with a similar problem. Upon arriving, he noticed that the horse had a swelling in its throat. Remembering the example of his master, the apprentice asked the owner for a hammer. He beat the swelling as hard as he could; the horse screeched in pain, fell to the ground and a few minutes later died writhing in agony. The owner was furious and the trainee vet took to his heels.

When he arrived back at the practice, the vet had returned. The apprentice narrated all that had happened and expressed his shock that his treatment had failed. “But I did exactly as you did, why didn’t it work?”

The vet replied, “Don’t just copy me blindly. The horse we were attending last week had swallowed a watermelon”.