By Prof. Dr. Nguyen Trinh Co
day, from 2 am, the shot spread widely after some quiet days.
Machine guns exploded continuously like strings of firecrackers,
mortar boomed in the deep night.
Six o’clock in the morning, in the hospital, we all
got up and everyone was on duty. As usual, after uninterrupted
and fast shots, members of the hospital were prepared, operation
tool are steamed, space was ready for saving soldiers wounded
in the front.
... 10am ...
attendance to and dressing the wounds of the wounded were already
done but no new war invalids. We were still waiting.
eleven in the morning, one stretcher slowly moved in the “waiting
house” where new invalids temporarily rested before being sent
to the operation house. Following the stretcher as a platoon commander
whom I knew. I asked without waiting for him to come near:
How, sir? Are there many?
Only this little boy.
look into the stretcher: a small body in the hollow of the stretcher,
covered with a dark-blue blanket, letting out a full and bright
face of an eleven or twelve year-old boy. He looked at me with
wider open eyes and a feeling smile. I clapped on his forefront
to comfort him and uncovered the bandage to see the wound. A first-aider
gently turned his head to other direction.
You don’t have to do that. Let me see my wound.
for a while, he told me:
Is my arm to be cut off, Doctor?
said evadedlly, with a calmly pretended voice in order to hide
sadness: His elbow was badly rushed, no way to save.
first aid giver gave Little Ngoc an injection of tonic an let
him rest for sometime. I signaled the staff to make preparation
in the operation room then together with the platoon commander
walked around the yard to talk about Ngoc’s situation.
told the platoon commander
The arm is shattered, can not be saved
What a regret! Little Ngoc is excellent, brave, daring
and has helped in many ways.
deliberately, he told me why Ngoc was wounded.
night, enemy was firing at our position. Early in the morning,
the army guessed there would be an operation of enemy. The command
needed urgent communication with a unit behind. Little Ngoc accepted
the order and went out after the commander’s careful recommendations.
through a small dike, Ngoc approached the enemy’s stream of fire.
He paused for a while, planning to round for safety. But remembering
the commander’s words that affair very urgent, he bravely stepped
straight forward. Covering some 20 meters, a mortar piece made
him lie to the surface. Stinging pain in the arm. Ngoc untied
the pioneer scarf tightly tied the wound, press tight to the chest,
stood up, shuffled his feet forward. He arrived at the destinations,
pale. After a nurse bound his wounds he begged to go to bed. Then,
calmly, he slept soundly as if nothing had happened to him.
operation room is ready. Little Ngoc lay stretched on the table
covered the body with extremely white cloth. The room was quiet,
Nickel box was glittering ... alcohol and steamed cloth evaporated...
this familiar atmosphere tended to make people enthusiastic with
washed my hands and wore a steamed overcoat. At the same time,
the anesthetist put the machine on Ngoc’s face. The room quiet,
only the throbbing of the bubble in the anaesthetizing machine
on his breath.
Ngoc convulsed and shouted loudly “Beware colonialists! Why did
you fire and break my arm?” All of us in the operation room smiled
at an utterance from a child’s mouth. Then another string of convulsion
cry inserted into uninterrupted utterances. “The colonialists
fired and broke my arm! ... ... ... My country is still fighting
against them! Huhm ... ... keep the arm for me, let me fight them.
Expel all of them! Ex... xp...el”.
a minute, all staff in the operation room stopped. Everybody tried
to look away. Some first adders turned their faces, used blouse
flap to secretly absorb the tear flow.
Ngoc became the most favored in the hospital. There had always
been someone to talk to or to read newspapers for him. Presents
were so plentiful that he could not eat up. When changing the
bandage, nursed surrounded him sang or teased him with an aim
to help him forget the wound. But Ngoc always smiled, just a smile,
not laughter. The smile made his face bright and people near-by
shared his cheers and naturally smiled with him.
day later, the mother got the news, came to see him and stayed
in to look after him. Each time visiting him, I realized that
he was cheerful and well behaved. But first aid givers said when
there were no strangers, Ngoc courted fondling from his mother:
always asking her to fan or to give water. At meals, it was the
very her to push rice into his mouth with chopsticks. To court
fondling from mother is probably the natural character of all
fortnight went by, Ngoc’s wound healed up. When he left the hospital,
I went out to the village gate to see him off, shaking hands very
strongly as if with a big friend.
for 5 or 6 months, I had not got any news from Little Ngoc. That
time I was visiting a convalescent house about ten or so kilometers.
Going to one group, right after arrival in a house. Ngoc hurriedly
ran to my place, letting down a too long sleeve! He told me he
was at the time a liaison of a battalion there. I visited my old
war-invalids. Before leaving, wishing to visit the battalion headquarters,
I stood away from Ngoc, asking him the way. Without answer, Ngoc
approached me, used his right arm to grip my clothes, stood on
tiptoe and tried to cram his head. I understood what he meant,
bowed sown, in time to receive his answer. The answer was as low
as a breath: “the battalion HQ is at the village H.S” I embarrassed
him closely, sincerely learned a lesson about secrets he unintentionally
steadily looked at the full and bright face of Little Ngoc and
the heart overflowed with great confidence in the future generation.
Brother Ngoc now is Prof. Trinh Ngoc Trinh, Director of HEDO
This story is printed at:
“Vui song” a newspaper of Military Health Service
“Nang” collection, a collection of Military Health Service.
Vietnam revolutionary literature collection.
Literature material for grade 5 of Education and Training
New work collection, the Author’s Association
Vietnam Invalid and Medical People collection, the Author’s