Panacea by Kodavatiganti Kutumbara
Telugu original by Kodavatiganti Kutumbarao, in Yuva, February 1977. Translated and posted with permission by Ananda Kishore.
Everyone called him The Greatest Doctor. He invented a panacea and began curing all kinds of diseases. He earned a lot of money while forcing other doctors out of business.
The panacea had only four ingredients two of which were rare herbs. To keep the medicine's formula a secret, he used to pick up the herbs and make the medicine secretly. Of course, doing so was excessively laborious.
He, who worked enthusiastically when he was poor, began disliking the labor as he became rich. So he raised the price of his panacea. He began getting more money by selling half as much. But he still had to work half as much as before.
What's the solution? He replaced the herbs with some easily available leaves and adulterated his own panacea. It came to such a pass that the medicine couldn't even cure common cold.
Its demand fell. So did his income. As long as he could, he lived lavishly on the wealth he accumulated, and died penniless.
Now nobody knows how to make the panacea. That is the greatest disservice he did to the humanity.weet!"