‘Well, I will start with Ruth: you know she has this major organ failure which is controlled by drugs, and you know she has to carefully measure different body functions each morning to calculate her daily drug intake.’
I indicated that I indeed knew these things.
‘Well explain this then --- Ruth knew nothing about the cane, I gave it to her to inspect because as you know she is fascinated by old things and antique artefacts.She was, as I would have expected, over the moon with the cane and the story about how I acquired it. She must have been handling it for two hours, inspecting every detail of the carvings and raving about the quality. She was not able to name the wood but she was certain it was very old. After our evening meal she spent another good hour inspecting the cane.
'A Couple of days after I returned from the dales I had a call from Ruth, she wanted to drive down to see me. I knew at once there was something wrong, Ruth has not been able to leave her place for months and certainly not been any distance for a number of years, she has been effectively housebound. I didn’t want to question her over the phone and told her to come as soon as possible.’
I had a good idea at this point what was about to unroll and asked Toby to continue.
‘Well, to make it short: Ruth’s problems have gone! The day after I left, her morning health tests all read normal. She could not believe it and called her doctor. He repeated the tests, blood pressure – pulse strength and rhythm – oxygen uptake and a few other things---all normal. Nobody can believe it. She has not taken or injected any drugs since I left. When she arrived here, I could not believe my eyes. She looked ten years younger, she is a very attractive woman again. I had to tell her then of my experience with the cane and of course your experience also. Ruth as you can expect could not accept that the cane had any bearing on any of this, in fact she laughed at the suggestion. I had asked Jim to come back with his findings whilst Ruth was here, and he duly arrived. Remember Jim knew nothing of the cane.’
As you can imagine I couldn’t wait to hear more. This then from Jim---
‘Before I ask to see the artefact which produced these results, I will give you the findings from our tests. Firstly we picked up a very strong level of a substance very similar to Ibuprofen, enough in fact to release 2,000 mg’s over a short period. Secondly we detected a substance very similar to Glucosamine, again about at the same intensity. Thirdly we detected a substance very similar to Cyproxin which is as you know a very powerful antibiotic. This antibiotic substance had a slightly lower intensity. Now comes the puzzle---there are also at least three other substances that we are unable to identify. We are still working on these substances but getting nowhere at the present time. Whatever produced these results is a very potent artefact---I need to see it.’
Toby told me that at this time he felt he had no option but to include Jim into our small group which now of course included Ruth and her husband. That number was now five and Toby was adamant that no-one else should be privy to this situation until he himself made the decision.
Toby now asked the question that I would have asked had I been there.
‘Could these substances be absorbed through the skin into the body in an amount to affect the body? Can the body regulate substances that it absorbs, or could it overload?'
Jim’s answer surprised Toby and Ruth—
‘Skin is an amazing organ. Its purpose is to protect the body, and indeed it will detect overload of absorption and shut down this path of entry to the body---you could say that the body will only absorb what it needs. If the quantity and quality is available it will take in what it requires. But of course this is totally hypothetical. The only way any drugs are applied to the body are orally or by injection, That is the normal path, and overloading in that case has to be dealt with by the body---it cannot control what goes in---but has to deal with it internally. Sometimes the outcome is very unpleasant. So in short, the answer is yes. The organ which we call skin will do its up-most to keep the body in good shape any way it can. It could be said that skin is certainly one of our major organs.’
Toby told me that at this stage he produced the cane and showed it to Jim, who apparently didn’t know how to respond. Ruth was anxious to inspect it again, and after what she had just heard who could blame her. Toby then explained the full sequence of events to Jim, My apparent recoveries associated with the cane were on a minor scale, but Toby’s and Ruth’s apparent recoveries were of a much more serious and far higher level to mine. Jim appeared astounded at what he had heard and didn’t know how to respond. I could fully understand his position; the whole thing seems utterly ridiculous and preposterous---but yet, look at the results.
Ruth’s husband Fred was on his morning walk when I arrived at Toby’s place. I gave Ruth a big hug and a kiss-- it had been a while since I had seen her, and she did indeed look well. It was the following day and Toby had asked me to call before Ruth departed back to the dales.
‘Lovely to see you again, Ruth, and looking so well. What do you make of all this then?’
Ruth was clearly finding it hard to respond to my enquiry but after a few moments thought replied---‘At this stage I can only tell you that I am not going to be too far from that cane. If the cane has anything to do with our apparent recoveries, how long will the effects last for? The worry is that they may be only temporary recoveries.’
On my arrival Toby had disappeared into the kitchen, his first port of call when anybody visits his place. He soon emerged with the coffee jug.
‘What do you think to this idea then?’ His question was directed at me. ‘I have talked this over with Ruth and Ted and told them of the research I have been doing in the background about this business. Ruth and I have decided to go to India.’
I knew straight away what his thinking was.
‘Will you join us?
Ruth's husband had apparently no objections. He was delighted that Ruth was well enough to take a holiday again, he could cope okay with the farm, and he knew Ruth would be safe with Toby and myself.
This could be a mystery tour combined with a holiday. There was no reason why I shouldn’t go, financial or any other.
‘As long as we fly first class and do it in stages I will be delighted to go with you.’
I am sure Toby was expecting this reply, but he did look relieved at my response. I didn’t know yet exactly what research Toby had done or indeed what he expected to achieve, but I did know with the three of us together and with our backgrounds in solving mysteries it would most certainly be an interesting trip.
Toby and Ruth knew they would never get any insurance cover for a trip to India; fortunately they were in a financial position where they could cover any eventuality. I would have no such insurance problems. We had no time constraints and agreed to book up as soon as possible. We were happy to leave it to Toby. I have a few friends in India and will also be trying to do a bit of research before our journey commences.