The Miracle Doctor (Kuprin)
The story took place in Kiev about thirty years ago. The Mertsalov family had been huddled in the damp basement of an old house for more than a year. The youngest child was hungry and screaming in his crib. The older girl lay with a high fever, but there was no money for medicine. That New Year's Eve, Mertsalova sent her two older sons to the man whose husband worked as a manager. The woman hoped that he would help them, but the children were kicked out without a penny.
The troubles began when Mertsalov fell ill with typhus. While he was recovering, another man took his place as manager. All the family's savings were spent on medicine, and the Mertsalovs had to move to a damp cellar. The children began to fall ill. One girl died three months ago, and now Mashutka is sick. In search of money for medicine, Mertsalov went all over town, groveling and begging, but he did not get a penny.
Upon learning that the children also failed, Mertsalov left - he could no longer look at his hungry sons and dying daughter. Wandering aimlessly through the city, he turned into a public garden. Here there was a deep silence. Mertsalov felt a desire for peace, and "the thought of suicide rose quite clearly in his mind. He was about to make up his mind, when a short old man in a fur coat sat down beside him. He spoke to Mertsalov about New Year presents, and Mertsalov felt "a surge of desperate anger". The old man, however, was not offended, but asked Mertsalov to tell him everything in order.
In ten minutes the old man, who turned out to be a doctor, was already entering Mertsalov's cellar. Immediately money for firewood and food appeared. Then the old man wrote a free prescription and left, leaving several large bills on the table. The wonderful doctor never gave his last name. The Mertsalovs read it on a label attached to a vial of medicine - Professor Pirogov.
Since then, "like a beneficent angel has descended" upon the Mertsalov family. The head of the family found a job, and the children recovered. They saw Pirogov only once, when they attended his funeral. The narrator heard this story from one of the Mertsalov brothers, who became a major bank employee.