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Doctor Knowall

from Grimms' Fairy Tales





There was once upon 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
talers. 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 well he
ate and drank, his heart desired what he saw, and 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 yourself an A B C book of the kind which has a cock on
the frontispiece; in the second, turn your cart and your two oxen into
money, and get yourself some clothes, and whatsoever else pertains to
medicine; thirdly, have a sign painted for yourself with the words: "I
am Doctor Knowall," and have that nailed up above your 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 harnessed to 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 Grete, 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, Grete, 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: 'Grete,
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: 'Grete, that is the second.' This servant was equally alarmed,
and he got out as fast as he could. The third fared no better, for the
peasant again said: 'Grete, 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. Actually, there
were crabs. 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 must also know 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. But the doctor 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 come out!' Then the fellow in the
stove thought that the doctor meant him, and full of terror, sprang out,
crying: 'That man knows everything!' Then Doctor Knowall showed the lord
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.





Next: The Seven Ravens

Previous: The King Of The Golden Mountain



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