German Stories and Fairy Tales for kids were NOT all sweetness and light. Aschenputtel’s (Cinderella’s) sisters get their feet cut off….and Max and Moritz get eaten by ducks. And then there was Stuwwelpeter (and Struwwelliese…). It’s truly a wonder any of us got any sleep at all after hearing these nightmare inducing Fables? Now you can read der Struwwelpeter in English!
Quick Look at the Contents
Who was Struwwelpeter?
StruwwelPeter was originally written by Heinrich Hoffmann in 1844. He couldn’t find the right book to give as a Christmas present to his three year old son, so he decided to write one himself. The book is a series of short stories… all tales of “disastrous consequences of bad behavior”. Disastrous is putting it mildly. The title story is about a boy who never wanted to comb his hair or get cleaned up. As a result, he became ostracized… and quite scary looking.
My personal favorite for nightmare of the year award was the story of the Daumlutscher (thumb sucker). His mother couldn’t get him to stop sucking on his thumbs…. so she asked a passing tailor to come in and cut them off with his scissors. YIKES! We are not talking Curious George Goes to the Zoo!
Who Was Struwwelliese
You couldn’t just tell the boys how to behave without giving some instructions to the girls. Struwwelliese was the female version of Struwwelpeter…. emphasizing female “Character Flaws”. To me she was clever and interesting. Yes, she looked like Pippi Longstocking on a bad day, but she had fun ideas; like pulling vegetables instead of weeds (to avoid eating them later).
These are not the type of Children’s Books you will generally find in today’s American bookstores. Remember, these books were written in a different time and place. Raising children to be acceptable members of a society was important. Rules were important. The stories and illustrations went on to be inspirational to authors like Roald Dahl (who also scares me).
To me, these books are a memory of reading with my mother… and maybe they were a bit scary… but… I came out mostly un-scarred (and I no longer suck my fingers!)
Der StruwwelPeter in English and German,
Struwweliese Just Comes in German
You can Also Get the Combination of both with Max and Moritz… or even the Audio
I had a record… and I can still CLEARLY remember the voice… brrrrr.
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