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A certain poor man had so many children, that he had already asked all the world and his wife to stand godfathers and godmothers to them; and when yet another child was born, he knew no where to find anyone to ask. In great perplexity he went to sleep, and dreamed that he should go out of his door and ask the first person he met to be godfather.
As soon as he awoke the next morning he resolved to follow out his dream; so he went out and asked the first person he met. This was a man who gave him a little glass of water, saying, "This is a miraculous water, with which you can restore the sick to health; only you must observe where the disease lies. If it is near the head, give the patient some of the water and he will become well again; but if it is near the feet, all your labor will be in vain, the sick person must die."
The man was now able to say at any time whether such an one would recover, and through this ability he became famous and earned much money. Once he was summoned to the child of the King, and as soon as he entered he saw the disease was situated near the head, and so he healed it with the water. This happened a second time also, but at the third time the malady affected the feet, and he knew at once the child would die.
Not long after this event the man determined to visit the Godfather, and tell him all his adventures with the water. But when he came to the house, behold most wondrous doings were going on within! On the first stair were a dustpan and a broom quarreling and beating one another, and he asked them where the master lived. The broom replied, "A stair higher." On the second stair he saw a number of fingers lying, and he asked them where the master lived. One of the fingers replied, "A stair higher." On the third stair lay a heap of bowls, who showed him up a stair higher yet, and on this fourth stair he found some fish frying themselves in a pan over the fire, who told him to go a stair higher yet. When he had mounted this fifth stair he came to a room and peeped through the keyhole of the door, and saw the Godfather there with a pair of long horns on. As soon as the poor man opened the door and went in, the Godfather got very quickly into a bed and covered himself up. Then the man said, "Ah, Mr. Godfather, what wonderful doings are these I see in your house? When I mounted the first stair there were a broom and a dustpan quarreling and beating one another."
"How very simple you are!" replied the Godfather; "they were my boy and maid talking to one another."
"But on the second stair I saw some fingers lying."
"Why, how absurd you are!" said the other; "those were roots of plants."
"But on the third stair I found a heap of bowls," said the man.
"Why, you silly fellow," replied the Godfather, "those were cabbages!"
"But on the fourth stair I saw fish frying themselves in a pan;" and as the man spoke the fish came and served up themselves on a dish.
"And when I mounted the fifth stair, I peeped through the keyhole of a door, and there I saw you, O Godfather, and you wore two very long horns."
"Holloa, that is not true!" exclaimed the Godfather; which so frightened the man that he ran straight off, or nobody knows what the Godfather would have done to him!
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