Wednesday, October 31, 2012

German tales of horror

What is more horrible than than horror itself?  German children's books.  Perhaps you know which ones I mean; "Struwwelpeter" and "Max und Moritz".  Struwwelpeter features mini stories about naughty children that face rather unfortunate (and terrifying) consequences for their disobedience.
 The picture above, features a boy that loves sucking his thumb, and consequently, gets his thumbs chopped off by a giant scissor-wielding maniac.  This is the the book that my mother used to frighten me into submission.  It still works to this day.
The above picture depicts a young girl who was told not to play with matches (repeatedly, by her talking cats).  Did she listen?  Clearly not.

You can read and see (and download) the full version on Project Gutenberg for free.  And no, you don't have to be able to read German to get the gist of the stories.

Max und Moritz is another "fun" German book which aspires to inspire terror in the hearts of little German children.  The stories themselves aren't terrifying; they starlight two naughty boys that are constantly plotting wicked shennanigans that befall innocent old people.  It is the tragic freak accident ending that endows a sense of discomfort in its reader.  I must have skipped the ending as a child, because I was constantly pulling pranks at the demise of "old" people.  My partner in crime and I bestowed upon ourselves the nicknames Maxina und Moritza (female versions of the naughty boys), and we were every bit as wicked as those boys.  In the end, the threat of having your thumbs cut off, or being burnt alive is far worst than...well, I won't ruin the ending for you ;)

No comments:

Post a Comment