The story opens on a cold winter night, when a country doctor is getting ready to undertake a long journey to visit a seriously ill patient. Before he is able to depart, he encounters several problems. His horse died the night before and no one in the village is willing to land him another one. As the angry doctor kicks at the door of the pigsty, an unknown man appears inside. The mysterious man offers the doctor pair of horses and prepares the carriage. He then fools around with the doctor's maid. The doctor knows he should say something, but he feels to be in the man's debt. As he is all set to go, the maid returns into the house with the unknown man following her. The doctor knows what is going to happen and wants to help her, however, the horses are out of his control and gallop towards the assigned destination.
When the doctor arrives to the house of his patient, he finds a bad-ridden boy who appears to be fine. The boy complains of pain and begs the doctor to let him die. Later the doctor discovers, his patient has a massive wound on his side with worms inside of it. The boy's family gathers around the doctor to see him work and the horses from the outside stick their heads inside the house through the windows.
The family of the boy engages in bizarre behavior. They sing a strange religious verse and undress the doctor until his is completely naked. Afterwards they lay him beside the boy in the bed, hoping that this will cure him. The doctor assures his patient that he will not die, and quickly leaves the room. He does not get dressed as he wants to get out of there as soon as possible. He expects the horses to travel at the same speed as during the first ride, however, this time they seem to be barely moving. While freezing to death, the doctor cannot avoid to feel desperation, as he thinks of his maid's rape and the fact that his practice will be lost.