Two Young Men and A Cook

Two men visited a Cook. The Cook noticed something missing. Both men swore they had not taken it, even though they did. God saw even if the Cook didn’t.

You can trick man but not God.

JBR CollectionJBR Collection

Two Young Men went into a Cook’s shop, under pretence [sic] of buying meat. While the Cook’s back was turned, one of them snatched up a piece of beef, and gave it to his companion, who put it under his cloak. The Cook turning round again, missed the meat, and charged them with the theft. “I haven’t got it,” said he who had taken it. “I’ve taken none of your meat,” said he that had it. “Look here,” said the Cook, “which of you has stolen my meat, I can’t say; but of this I’m sure-between you both there’s a thief and a couple of rascals.”

L'Estrange VersionL’Estrange version

Two young fellows slipt into a cooks shop, and while the master was busie at his work, one of them stole a piece of flesh, and convey’d it to the other. The master missed it immediately, and challeng’d them with the theft. He that took it, swore he had none on’t. And he that had it, swore as desperately that he did not take it. The cook reflecting upon the conceit: Well, my masters, (says he) these frauds and fallacies may pass upon men; but there’s an eye above that sees thorough them.


There’s no putting of tricks upon an all-seeing power; as if he that made our hearts and knows every nook, and corner of them, could not see thorough the childish fallacy of a double-meaning.

1001Fures et Coquus

Duo adolescentes apud coquum aliquid sese simulant esse empturos. Coquo alias res agente, carnem alter surripit; dat socio ut sub veste occultet. Coquus, surreptam sibi carnis partem ut novit, furti utrumque coepit accusare. Qui carnem sustulerat, per Iovem iurabat se non habere; qui vero habebat, iurabat se non abstulisse. “Me quidem,” inquit coquus, “fur latet; non autem eum latebit per quem iuravistis.”

Perry #066