A lad, a garcon, a servant. (Anglo-Saxon, cnáfa;
German, knabe.) The knave of clubs, etc., is the son or servant
of the king and queen thereof. In an old version of the Bible we read:
“Paul, a knave of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle,” etc. (Rom. i.
This version, we are told, is in the Harlelan Library, but is
generally supposed to be a forgery. But, without doubt, Wycliff (Rev.
xii. 5, 13) used the compound “Knave-child,” and Chaucer uses the same
in the Man of Lawe's Tale, line 5130.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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