The retired general Buldeyev, suffering from a toothache, has tried all possible means of treating it, to no avail. He is not willing, though, to remove the tooth, so some cure is to be found. The steward, Ivan Evseyevich, remembers he knew once an extremely gifted 'tooth conjurer', who used to just 'turn toward the window and spit, and the pain would go in a minute'. Now living in Saratov, the wonder doctor makes his living by spit-related way of tooth-healing, which he does even by telegraph.
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