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Learn Like a Kid

December 6, 2011

Der Struwwelpeter

As a kid my mom used to read German children’s stories to me.  In typical German style, there’s always that moral of if you don’t eat your dinner, cut your nails, go to school, etc., you die.  Case in point, two very famous German children’s stories – Max und Moritz and Der Struwwelpeter, both written in the mid-1800s.

Max und Moritz is written in rhyming couplets and follows two naughty boys who play tricks on people.  The one I remember best from childhood is when the two cut slits into a farmer’s sacks of grain.  When someone on the farm noticed he put the boys in the sacks, took them to the mill, then ground them up and fed them to the ducks.  Moral of the story: don’t mess with farmers or you die.

Max und Moritz

Der Struwwelpeter by Heinrich Hoffmann (translated as Shaggy Peter) is a book of 10 illustrated rhyming stories.  In the stories, consequences of bad behavior are drawn in really exaggerated ways such as in the story “Die Geschichte vom Daumenlutscher.”  A mother tells her son to stop sucking his thumb, but when she leaves he starts sucking again until a roaming tailor comes by and snips off both his thumbs with big scissors.  Moral of the story: holy fuck, keep one eye open for crazy transient tailors.

Struwwelpeter

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 7, 2011 4:30 pm

    omg der Struwwelpeter! Definitely something to read to your kids if you want them to have nightmares!
    p.s. I linked to your blog from my homepage under “related blogs” 🙂

    • December 7, 2011 9:31 pm

      My mom read me all sorts of disturbing German tales, then wondered why I grew up loving horror and all things dark.

      And thanks for the link! I’ve got you in my blogroll.

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