A fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm
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 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
yourself an abc 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, I am," 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 crab. When the lord heard that, he cried, "There. He
knows it, he must also know who had 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 abc 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 Dr. 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.