The House Call Summary and Short Questions/Answers

“The House Call” Summary

“The House Call” is a beautiful supernatural tale set in Germany, focusing on the mysterious appearance of a young girl’s spirit who summons a doctor to attend to her sick mother. The protagonist, Dr. Emil Braun, is a renowned surgeon in his community.

The story unfolds on the evening of December 26, 1903, a day after Christmas. At around 9:30 p.m., Dr. Braun, exhausted from a long day of performing and supervising difficult surgical operations, was attempting to prepare a report in his dining room. Fatigue overwhelmed him, and he dozed off, only to be abruptly awakened by the sound of the doorbell.

Hearing his wife, Mrs. Braun, conversing with a child about her sick mother, Dr. Braun realized a patient needed his attention. At the door, in the semi-darkness, he saw a little girl, perhaps six or seven years old, dressed in a cotton dress and shabby shoes, with a ragged shawl held together at her neck. Sympathizing with the child and her mother, Dr. Braun agreed to follow her to their home.

Despite the light rain outside, the girl walked swiftly, and Dr. Braun struggled to keep up, intending to ask her questions about her mother and herself. The girl paused briefly at each corner to ensure he was following her.

She led him through the poorest part of Berlin, an area surrounding the hospital where Dr. Braun served as head surgeon. Eventually, they reached an old tenement house. The doctor climbed to the fifth floor, where the girl’s mother lived. As he entered the room, the door closed softly behind him.

Inside, Dr. Braun found a woman named Elda, who was suffering from pneumonia. He recognized her as a former maintenance staff member from the hospital. After administering some medicine to ease her discomfort, he inquired about the girl who had fetched him. To his astonishment, Elda revealed that her daughter, Adelheid, had died of the flu in September, just three days after her seventh birthday. Dr. Braun was shocked because the same child had come to his house to call him.

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Elda showed Dr. Braun some of Adelheid’s belongings, including a ragged shawl and a pair of shabby shoes, which were still wet. She explained that she had been thinking of and praying for the doctor earlier that night. Elda soon fell asleep while talking. Dr. Braun, after checking her feverish head once more, took his black bag, stepped into the dark hallway, and closed the door.

This story is a profound exploration of the supernatural, as it reveals that Dr. Braun had been guided by the spirit of Elda’s deceased daughter, Adelheid. The girl’s ethereal presence, quick movements, and the dampness of her belongings suggest her ghostly nature.

The narrative highlights Dr. Braun’s dedication and compassion, as he selflessly responds to the call of a spirit to help a suffering mother. The events described transcend the boundaries of scientific principles, making “The House Call” a compelling supernatural story that delves into themes of love, duty, and the mysterious connections between the living and the dead.

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Short Questions and Answers

What was Dr. Emil Braun doing when the doorbell rang?

Dr. Emil Braun was dozing off in his dining room, trying to write a report about his surgical work after a long and tiring day.

Why did the little girl come to Dr. Braun’s house?

The little girl came to Dr. Braun’s house to request him to visit her mother, who was seriously ill with pneumonia.

How did the doctor feel when he saw the little girl at his door?

Dr. Braun felt sympathy for the child and her sick mother, prompting him to agree to go with her.

What illness was the woman, Elda, suffering from?

Elda was suffering from pneumonia.

Why was Dr. Braun surprised when Elda talked about her daughter?

Dr. Braun was surprised because Elda revealed that her daughter, Adelheid, had died in September, which shocked him since the same girl had come to his house to call him for help.

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