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Main > German folktales > Fairy tale "Doctor All-Wise"

Doctor All-Wise

There was a poor peasant, named Crab, who once drove two oxen, with a load of wood, into the city, and there sold it for two dollars to a doctor. The doctor counted out the money to him as he sat at dinner, and the peasant, seeing how well he fared, yearned to live like him, and would needs be a doctor too. He stood a little while in thought, and at last asked if he could not become a doctor.

"Oh yes," said the doctor, "that may be easily managed. In the first place you must purchase an A, B, C book, only taking care that it is one that has got in the front of it a picture of a cock crowing. Then sell your cart and oxen, and buy with the money clothes, and all the other things needful. Thirdly, and lastly, have a sign painted with the words, 'I am Doctor All-Wise,' and have it nailed up before the door of your house."

The peasant did exactly as he had been told; and after he had doctored a little while, it chanced that a certain nobleman was robbed of a large sum of money. Some one told him that there lived in the village hard by a Doctor All-Wise, who was sure to be able to tell him where his money had gone. The nobleman at once ordered his carriage to be got ready and rode into the city, and having come to the doctor, asked him if he was Dr. All-Wise.

"Oh yes," answered he, "I am Doctor All-Wise, sure enough."

"Will you go with me, then," said the nobleman, "and get me back my money?"

"To be sure I will," said the doctor; "but my wife Grethel must go with me."

The nobleman was pleased to hear this, made them both get into the carriage with him, and away they all rode together. When they arrived at the nobleman's house dinner was already prepared, and he desired the doctor to sit down with him.

"My wife Grethel, too," said the doctor.

As soon as the first servant brought in the first dish, which was some great delicacy, the doctor nudged his wife, and said—

"Grethel, that is the first," meaning the first dish.

The servant overheard his remark, and thought he meant to say he was the first thief, which was actually the case, so he was sore troubled, and said to his comrades—

"The doctor knows everything.

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