This is fine storytelling. The author has an expert eye and ear for his surroundings, wasting no motion in sketching his main characters, the supporting cast, and their market day. Behind the tidy narrative and light but perfectly incisive moral, he points the ray of his wit at greed and abuse of office. Here is art in the service of real causes. The satire is much more acceptable as comedy than in the preceding example, partly because there is nothing holy about a judge, especially this one—he turns not a hair when his infernal companion introduces himself—and also because the Devil does his own dirty work, with no human help other than the failings that flesh is heir to.

The story may have had a local origin, since it is known as a folk tale from the area around Aschaffenburg. A Latin version which was printed in the fifteenth century* does not in itself prove that the story was traditional, since there was nothing unusual at that time about translating German works into Latin. No other analogues or versions are known before Chaucer (The Friar's Tale).

*translated in Medieval Comic Tales (ed. Rickard, 1973), 132.