The story is told that once upon a time a young Persian prince fell ill with a mysterious ailment no one could diagnose. He lost weight and grew weaker by the day, refusing to eat until finally, he became debilitated and took to his bed. When the physicians who attended him despaired of finding a cure, his distraught parents turned to the great Ibn Sina, (known in the West as Avicenna), the most celebrated doctor and savant of his day. They begged him to visit their son and use his famous skills to treat him.
Is there an anecdote, or is unrequited love a wound that never heals?
Ibn Sina agreed, and on coming to see the patient first inquired as to his symptoms and the history of his malady. He then entered the sickroom and examined the prince, lying listless and pale in his bed, with great attention. This done, he sat beside the bed and, placing his fingers on the young man’s pulse, he asked one of the attendants to recite all the names of all the streets which were in that city. When the attendant came to the mention of a certain street, Ibn Sina noticed that the patient’s pulse rate had quickened, whereupon, he asked the attendant to recite the names of all the families who resided in that street. At the mention of a certain family, once more the patient’s pulse increased. Ibn Sina then asked, “Does this family have any daughters?” To which the answer was, “yes.”
So he stood up and said to the prince’s parents, “The diagnosis is clear. Your son loves one of the daughters of that family. The disease is love, and the cure is marriage.”