Doughnut Jimmy

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Doughnut Jimmy
Name James Folsom
Race Human
Occupation Veterinarian, loosely
Physical appearance
Residence Ankh Morpork
Marital Status
Books Feet of Clay
Cameos Jingo The Last Continent

A horse-doctor in Ankh-Morpork. Unlike most doctors serving the human population, this profession operates under a certain expectation of positive results. This is because human beings technically have no value, at least in cash terms. The option of walking away from a patient who has sought a second opinion from Death, wiping ones' hands, and saying Oh dearie me, can't gainsay the will of the Gods, that will still be fifty dollars, please is not a life-enhancing option when the patient is worth thirty thousand dollars and was a good bet to pick up first place in the Quirm Steeplechase.

Indeed, the result of such a strategy is likely to involve hearing a quiet and meaningful voice coming from behind you saying "Mr Chrysoprase is very upset", followed by a short life full of memorable but painful events. James Folsom is therefore good at keeping his patients alive, a fact noted and exploited by streetwise copper Samuel Vimes in Feet of Clay.

Called upon, with some reluctance, to doctor a human (Vetinari), he uses similar methods of diagnosis and treatment. (As well, a fitting symmetry: Vetinari being treated by a veterinarian.)

Jimmy is also known to give into temptation and provide stimulants to otherwise lethargic horses (or conversely, depressants to otherwise lively and alert animals) in exchange for a better than usual consultation fee, on occasions where certain people in the racing fraternity want to have a guaranteed 100/1 outside bet. Vimes is also aware of this character failing and uses it as the incentive to ensure Jimmy's full co-operation in the matter of treating Vetinari.

Jimmy was also called in to treat the Librarian when he suffered his attack of metamorphic flu. Alas, Jimmy's tendency to treat patients as if they are all, more- or- less, racehorses backfired on this occasion. On attempting to insert the thermometer, the Librarian bit him. Well, given how wizards interpret the word analgesic, wouldn't you? ("It's up to you, but I would have thought it was easier through the mouth" - Mustrum Ridcully)


Is there a relationship here between Jimmy the vet in Ankh-Morpork, and James ("Jim", "Jimmy") Herriot, the vet in Darrowby, Yorkshire? In his All Creatures Great and Small books, Herriot relates the generally miserable time he had at greyhound and horse racing tracks. As officiating vet, he thought he was there to look after the welfare of the animals and ensure fair play - ie, no doping. He was put right on his first night when he removed an obviously doped dog from contention, leading to several big, heavy, gentlemen of the Chrysoprase persuasion tearing up their betting slips in disgust and giving him serious looks. Then he was offered a substantial bung of many times his weekly salary to do the doping, which he refused. He finally realised a straight and incorruptible vet had no future on a racetrack, and retired from this aspect of professional life... (It was also on a racecourse that Herriot did his one and only bit of doctoring of humans, on a Chrysoprase character who had slipped and gashed his knee. He briefly considered presenting a standard vet's bill for his services, then thought better of it and let this one be a freebie).