The tale begins with a poor man and his twelve children. The poor man is already so stressed about his finances that when a thirteenth child is born, the man resolves to ask the first man he encounters on the road to stand as the child’s godfather (Grimm 152). The man comes across God, the Devil and Death. In favor of a man who treats everyone equally, the poor man gives his son to be raised by Death. Once the child is grown, Death makes the man a famous physician. Death tells the man, when visiting patients, if Death stands at their head, they may consume a special herb from the physician that will heal them; however if Death stands at their feet, they will belong to Death. Death also warns the physician not to use the herb against Death’s will (Grimm 153).
Upon meeting the King on his death bed, the physician decides to outwit Death by turning the King around so that Death was standing the King’s head instead of his feet and giving the King the special herb. While upset, Death warns the physician that he forgives him because the man is Death’s godson. Unfortunately, soon the King’s daughter falls upon her own death bed, the physician again se...
... middle of paper ...
...f the special herb Death gave the man at the beginning his employment (153-4). Death becomes furious about the first deception, but promises to forgive the man that one time because he is Death’s godson. Recklessly, the physician takes little heed of his godfather’s words and gestures, and decides that the effortless chance to become king and marry the princess is worth risking Death’s word.
Finally, appearing in anger at the deception, Death drags his godson to an underground cave that is full of thousands of candles bringing in endless rows. After hearing the explanation of the candles and gazing on his own dying candle, the doctor pleads with his godfather for a longer life (Grimm 154). Seeing the perfect opportunity to extract his revenge, Death acts as though he is going to increase the length of his godson’s life, but actually ends his life (Grimm 155).
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