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，于是请他当教父。 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，他就会痊愈；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。
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。"
A poor man had so many children that he had already asked every one in the world to be godfather, and when still another child was born, no one else was left whom he could invite. He knew not what to do, and, in his perplexity, he lay down and fell asleep. Then he dreamt that he was to go outside the gate, and ask the first person who met him to be godfather. When he awoke, he determined to obey his dream, and went outside the gate, and asked the first person who came up to him to be godfather. The stranger presented him with a little glass of water, and said, "This is a wonderful water, with it thou canst heal the sick, only thou 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 trouble will be in vain, for the sick man must die." From this time forth, the man could always say whether a patient could be saved or not, and became famous for his skill, and earned a great deal of money. Once he was called in to the child of the King, and when he entered, he saw death standing by the child's head and cured it with the water, and he did the same a second time, but the third time Death was standing by its feet, and then he knew the child was forced to die.
Once the man thought he would visit the godfather, and tell him how he had succeeded with the water. But when he entered the house, it was such a strange establishment! On the first flight of stairs, the broom and shovel were disputing, and knocking each other about violently. He asked them, "Where does the godfather live?" The broom replied, "One flight of stairs higher up." 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 replied, "One flight of stairs higher." On the third flight lay a heap of dead heads, which again directed him to the flight beyond. On the fourth flight, he saw fishes on the fire, which frizzled in the pans and baked themselves. They, too, said, "One flight of stairs higher." And when he had ascended the fifth, he came to the door of a room and peeped through the keyhole, and there he saw the godfather who had a pair of long horns. When he opened the door and went in, the godfather got into bed in a great hurry and covered himself up. Then said the man, "Sir godfather, what a strange household you have! When I came to your first flight of stairs, the shovel and broom were quarreling, and beating each other violently."
"How stupid you are!" said the godfather. "That was the boy and the maid talking to each other." - "But on the second flight I saw dead fingers lying." - "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 cabbages." - "On the fourth flight, I saw fishes in a pan, which were hissing and baking themselves." When he had said that, the fishes 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 a lie!" The man became alarmed, and ran out, and if he had not, who knows what the godfather would have done to him.