Grimm's Household Tales with the
translated by Margaret Hunt
THERE was once on a time a poor peasant
called Crabb, who drove with two oxen a load of wood to the town, and
sold it to a doctor for two thalers. When the money was being counted
out to him, it so happened that the doctor was sitting at table, and when
the peasant saw how daintily he ate and drank, his heart desired what
he saw, and he would willingly have been a doctor too. So he remained
standing a while, and at length inquired if he too could not be a doctor.
"Oh, yes," said the doctor, "that is soon managed."
"What must I do?" asked the peasant. "In the first place
buy thyself an A B C book of the kind which has a cock on the frontispiece:
in the second, turn thy cart and thy two oxen into money, and get thyself
some clothes, and whatsoever else pertains to medicine; thirdly, have
a sign painted for thyself with the words, "I am Doctor Knowall,"
and have that nailed up above thy house-door." The peasant did everything
that he had been told to do. When he had doctored people awhile, but not
long, a rich and great lord had some money stolen. Then he was told about
Doctor Knowall who lived in such and such a village, and must know what
had become of the money. So the lord had the horses put in his carriage,
drove out to the village, and asked Crabb if he were Doctor Knowall? Yes,
he was, he said. Then he was to go with him and bring back the stolen
money. "Oh, yes, but Grethe, my wife, must go too." The lord
was willing and let both of them have a seat in the carriage, and they
all drove away together. When they came to the nobleman's castle, the
table was spread, and Crabb was told to sit down and eat. "Yes, but
my wife, Grethe, too," said he, and he seated himself with her at
the table. And when the first servant came with a dish of delicate fare,
the peasant nudged his wife, and said, "Grethe, that was the first,"
meaning that was the servant who brought the first dish. The servant,
however, thought he intended by that to say, "That is the first thief,"
and as he actually was so, he was terrified, and said to his comrade outside,
"The doctor knows all: we shall fare ill, he said I was the first."
The second did not want to go in at all, but was forced. So when he went
in with his dish, the peasant nudged his wife, and said, "Grethe,
that is the second." This servant was just as much alarmed, and he
got out. The third did not fare better, for the peasant again said, "Grethe,
that is the third." The fourth had to carry in a dish that was covered,
and the lord told the doctor that he was to show his skill, and guess
what was beneath the cover. The doctor looked at the dish, had no idea
what to say, and cried, "Ah, poor Crabb." When the lord heard
that, he cried, "There! he knows it, he knows who has the money!"
On this the servants looked terribly uneasy,
and made a sign to the doctor that they wished him to step outside for
a moment. When therefore he went out, all four of them confessed to him
that they had stolen the money, and said that they would willingly restore
it and give him a heavy sum into the bargain, if he would not denounce
them, for if he did they would be hanged. They led him to the spot where
the money was concealed. With this the doctor was satisfied, and returned
to the hall, sat down to the table, and said, "My lord, now will
I search in my book where the gold is hidden." The fifth servant,
however, crept into the stove to hear if the doctor knew still more. The
Doctor, however, sat still and opened his A B C book, turned the pages
backwards and forwards, and looked for the cock. As he could not find
it immediately he said, "I know you are there, so you had better
show yourself." Then the fellow in the stove thought that the doctor
meant him, and full of terror, sprang out, crying, "That man knows
everything!" Then Dr. Knowall showed the count where the money was,
but did not say who had stolen it, and received from both sides much money
in reward, and became a renowned man.
Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm. Household Tales. Margaret Hunt, translator. London: George Bell, 1884, 1892. 2 volumes.