The Godfather Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm A poor man had so many children that he had already asked everyone in the world to be godfather, and when still another child was born, no one else was left whom he could ask. He did not know what to do, and, in his sorrow, he lay down and fell asleep. Then he dreamed that he should go outside the gate and ask the first person he met to be godfather. When he awoke he decided to obey his dream, and he went outside the gate and asked the first person who came his way to be godfather. The stranger gave him a little bottle of water, and said, "This is miraculous water. You can heal the sick with it. But you must see where Death is standing. If he is standing by the patient's head, give the patient some of the water and he will be healed, but if Death is standing by his feet all efforts will be in vain, for then the sick man must die." From this time forth, the man could always say whether a patient could be saved or not. He became famous for his skill, and earned a great deal of money. Once he was called in to the king's child, and when he entered, he saw Death standing by the child's head, and he cured it with the water. The same thing happened a second time, but the third time Death was standing by its feet, so the child had to die. Now the man wanted to visit his godfather one time and tell him what had happened with the water. He entered the house, but the strangest things were going on there. On the first flight of stairs, the dustpan and the broom were fighting, and violently hitting one other. He asked them, "Where does the godfather live?" The broom answered, "Up one more flight of stairs." When he came to the second flight, he saw a heap of dead fingers lying. He asked, "Where does the godfather live?" One of the fingers answered, "Up one more flight of stairs." On the third flight lay a heap of dead men's heads, and they directed him still another flight higher. On the fourth flight, he saw fish on the fire, sizzling in a pan and baking themselves. They too said, "Up one more flight of stairs." And when he had climbed the fifth, he came to the door of a room and peeped through the keyhole. There he saw the godfather who had a pair of long horns. When he opened the door and went in, the godfather quickly got into bed and covered himself up. The man then said, "Godfather, sir, strange things are going on in your house. When I came to your first flight of stairs, the dustpan and the broom were fighting, and violently hitting one another." "How stupid you are," said the godfather. "That was the servant-boy and the maid talking to each other." "But on the second flight I saw dead fingers lying there." "Oh, how silly you are. Those were some roots of scorzonera." "On the third flight lay a heap of dead men's heads." Foolish man, those were heads of cabbage." "On the fourth flight I saw fish in a pan, which were sizzling and baking themselves." When he had said that, the fish came and served themselves up. "And when I got to the fifth flight, I peeped through the keyhole of a door, and there, Godfather, I saw you and you had long, long horns." "Oh, that is not true." The man became frightened and ran out, and if he had not done so, who knows what the godfather would have done to him?
从前有个人，他孩子太多，已经请过世界上所有的人当孩子们的教父了。可又有个孩子即将出世，显然没人可请了，他不知道如何是好，只好疲惫地躺下睡了。梦中他梦见自己出了门，请遇到的第一个人当孩子的教父。醒来时他决定照梦中的指点办，因而出了大门，在那儿碰到一个陌生人，於是请他当教父。很多年后，教父送给教子一杯水，告诉他：「这是杯神水，可以治好任何人的病。不过你要看清死神站在病人的哪一头，如果站在病人头前，给病人喝点这种水，他就会痊癒；如果他站在病人脚后，一切努力都将白费，他必死无疑。」从此，教子就能判断病人是否有救，并因此出了名，也挣了大钱。有一次国王请他去给他孩子治病，他看到死神站在孩子头前，就用神水治好了孩子的病；第二次也是这样。 第三次死神站到了孩子脚边，他便知道孩子非死不可了。 有一次他想见见这位教父，告诉他自己用神水取得的成就。当他来到教父家时，看到了世界上最古怪的事：扫把和铁锹在头一段楼梯上吵架，并且猛打对方。他问它们：「教父住在哪儿？」扫把回答说：「在很多楼梯上面。」他上到第二段楼梯，看到一堆死手指。他问它们：「教父住在哪儿？」其中一个手指回答说：「再上一层楼。」三楼是一堆死人头，它们也说教父住在上面一层。他在四楼看到各种各样的鱼在火上烤着，它们也说：「再上一层楼。」他来到五楼，看到有扇门，就从锁孔往里看，结果看到了长着两只长长的犄角的教父。他推开门走了进去，教父急忙躺到床上，用被子把自己盖上。这人说：「教父先生，您的房子多奇怪呀！我在一楼看到扫把和铁锹又吵又打。」 「你多愚蠢呀！」教父说：「那是一个小伙子和一个姑娘在说话呢！」「可我在二楼看到很多死人的手指头。」「唉，你真笨！那是一些树根。」「三楼上有一堆死人头呢。」「傻瓜！那些是卷心菜。」「我在四楼看到各种各样的鱼在锅里烧得丝丝作响。」正说着，那些鱼自己走来送给教父了。「我从锁孔往里看的时候，我看到你有两只长长的犄角。」「噢！不可能！」 小伙子警惕起来，赶忙跑了出来。如果不是那样，还不知道教父会把他怎么样呢！