The book “Der Struwelpeter” was published in 1845 and has been a bestseller by author Dr Heinrich Hoffmann ever since. The author lived from 1809 – 1894, was a doctor and director of an insane asylum. His other works include “King Nutcracker” and “Poor Reinhold”.
In the form of rhymed sayings, children are to be frightened with terrible stories so that they will obey their parents better.

The translation is from the 1970s, whether it is still politically correct in English after 50 years I cannot judge!
Let me know if you discover any problematic passages!


For good an loving girls and boys Santa Claus will come with Toys.

When they eat the food they´re fed, bowl of soup and slice of bread, when their play no noise does make, cause no “Hush, for goodness sake!”

when mommy´s hand they take as guide in walks through town and countryside, then Santa Claus will bring them sweets, a picture book, and other treats.

Tousle-Headed Peter

Here´s tousle-headed Peter, a haystack would be neater.

His naisl stick out like horns or ugly, scratching thorns; he has not cut them for a year nor combed his hair.

Onlookers jeer, “A pigsty would be sweeter than tousle-headed Peter.”

The Story Of Wicked Frederick

Frederick, Frederick, horrid by, meanness was for him a toy.

He caught the flies upon the wall, pulled off their wings and made them crawl.

He smashed the chairs. I have no words for how he stoned the cats and Birds.

He even gave an awful thwack to loving Gretchen on her back.

Now, drinking water from the well, a good sized dog, the truth to tell, caught wicked Frederick´s evil eye, who, whip in the hand, crept an the sly and hit the dog until it howled.

He kicked and beat it till it growled and turned and gave his leg a bite.

Then wicked Frederick screamed with fright; the teeth went in, the blood came out.

That he was hurt there was no doubt.

Whith whip in mouth the dog ran home; it was, he thought, no time to roam.

Now Frederick has to stay in bed; his leg aches much – so does his head.

Beside sits the doctor gruff and makes him take some bitter stuff.

But now, behold, the dog is able to sit at Frederick´s loaded table.

He eats the cake and liverwurst and drinks the wine to quench his thirst.

The whip he hangs upon the chair and guards it with devoted care.

The Sad Story Of The Matches

Polly was at home allone; to visit friends her folks were prone.

About the room she sang and hopped, a silly girl who never stopped.

A box upon he dresser sat, that made her heart go pit-a-pat, for tempting matches it displayed.

“What fun!” she cried, “I´m not afraid to scratch a match and make a light, like mother does most every night.”

The pussies, Mince and Mounce rise up as if to pounce.

They threaten wih their claws, “Don´t break your father´s laws! Miao, miew, miao, miew, you´ll burn as quick as straw fires do.”

But Polly did not lend an ear.

The flaming match she does not fear.

It spit and spat with gleam and glance, the picture shows its merry dance.

And Polly, too, as you can see, rejoiced and danced with greatest glee.

But pussies, Mince and Mounce rise up as if to pounce.

They threaten with their claws, “Don´t break your mother´s laws! Miao, miew, miao, miew, quench it or burn as straw fires do!”

But !oh! the flame has caught the dress; the girl is now in great distress.

The hair and hands begin to scorch; The child becomes a living torch!

And Mince and Mounce, they shriek, with cries for help they seek, “Come here, come here! She´s all ablaze. The burning fire the poor child slays. Miao, miew, miao, miew, she flames as quick as straw fires do.”

She ends in nothing but a glow; she´s burnt all up from tip to toe.

A pile of ashes, there she lies, her shoes are all that one would prize.

The cats weep loud, in bows, the black for mourning clothes, “Miao, miew, miao, miew, where are her folks, what do they do?”

Their tears so splash and quiver they form a little river.

The Story Of The Black Boys

A moor, pitch black as coal or crow, outdoors went walking to and fro.

Because the sun upon him played, he took a parasol for shade.

Then Louie skipped across the land, a flag he carried in his hand.

When Casper trotted on the green, he brought a pretzel to the scene.

And lively Willie had his hoop, he liked to see it loop the loop.

They called and laughed till they were pink, when little moor, as black as ink, passed them by without a blink.

The giant Nicolas came by with well of ink both wide and high.

“Don´t laugh!” he said, “It isn´t right to scoff at skins as black as night. The moor is not as white as you, but did not choose his darksome hue.”

The boys, however, hooted down his sage advice and solemn frown.

They laughed much louder than before and pointed at the poor black moor.

Then Nicolas flew in a rage.

It´s in the picture on this page.

He grabbed the boys where he could hold at arms or head, or jacket fold, though Willie, Louie, and Casper too struggled and raised a hullabaloo.

But down they went in full attire though Casper loudly shouted “Fire!”

Big Nicolas dunked in the well each boy to soak there for a spell.

So there they are, as you can see.

Much blacker black, this line of three, than sun could do to dark mankind.

The moor in front, the boys behind, he walks with ink blots at his back

because they laughed that he was black.

The Story Of The Wild Hunter

The hunter of the woodland wild

put on his grass-green coat, new styled,

took bag and powder horn and gun

and through the fields prepared to run.

He wore his glasses, so he said,

to see the hare and shoot him dead.

The hare sits in his house of leaves

and mocks at what the man believes.

The shining sunbegan to burn

the gun he placed down in the fern,

himself he stretched out in the grass.

The hare watched all, let nothing pass.

the hunter´s snores soon shook the wood.

The hare, as quiet as he could,

crept up and stole the gun away,

the glasses too from where they lay.

Now with the glasses on his nose

the hunting hare does soon propose

to shoot the gun that he has won.

The hunter now is on the run.

He jumps and screams with all his might.

“Help me! I´m in an awful plight”

This hunter wild, this hunter fell

finds near his home a little well,

and in he jumps to safe his life.

Nearby we see the hunter´s wife.

The shot went wild, the wife cried, “Woe!”

Her coffee cup was splintered so.

The coffee spilt, but there by chance

occured an ugly circumstance.

The hare´s young heir, the baby hare,

was hidden in the grasses there.

The steaming coffee scorched his nose,

without a pause his screams arose,

“Who has thrown this fiery brand?”

The spoon still waving in his hand.

The Story Of The Thumb Sucker

Mother said , “My Conrad dear,

I´m going out, but you stay here.

Behave yourself while I am gone,

for I´ll return back home anon.

But listen Conrad, little lad,

sucking thumbs is really bad.

If you don´t stop this naughty habit,

the tailor, quick as any rabbit,

will come with shears and snip your thumbs

as though he were but picking plums.”

Out she goes, and what a sin!

Wupp! The thumb the mouth is in.

Bang! The door wide open flies.

In the running tailor hies.

On the floor he makes a thumb,

turns to Conrad with a jump.

Then he goes both snip and snap,

and thumbs come off the little chap.

The shears gave them a sudden whack,

and Conrad´s screams won´t bring them back.

Comes the mother, finally stopping

from her gossiping and shopping,

where she finds her Conrad tearful.

Without thumbs who can be cheerful?

The Story O The Soup Casper

Casper wasn´t thin and small

but sound round as any ball

with rosy cheeks and handsome face,

he ate his soup with proper grace.

But then one day he ´gan to cry,

“I will not eat my soup, not I!

My soup I will not ever eat!

I, my soup, will never eat!”

The next day after, oh look there!

He is not half so big and fair.

But then again he set his cry,

“I will not eat my soup, not I!

My soup I will not ever eat!

I, my soup, will never eat!”

The third day on, oh woe is me!

He´s weak and thin, ´tis plain to see!

But when the soup tureen came by

he made his ever-droning cry,

“I will not eat my soup, not I!

My soup I will not ever eat!

I, my soup, will never eat!”

The fourth day rose, I can announce

that Casper weighed but half an ounce,

he looked as thin as any thread.

The fifth day came and he was dead.

The Story Of Fidgety Philip

“Phil, stop acting like a worm,

the table is no place to squirm.”

Thus speaks the father to his son,

severely says it , not in fun.

Mother frowns and looks around,

although she doesn´t make a sound.

But Philip will not take advice,

he´ll have his way at any price.

He turns

and churns,

he wiggles

and jiggles.

Here and there on the chair,

“Phil, these twists I cannot bear.”

Look, dear children, quickly look,

see the picture in the book.

He finally rocks it too far back,

the chair its balance now doeas lack

and topples backwards toward the floor.

He grabs the cloth, lets out a roar,

but nothing will prevent his fate.

Meat and bread with spoon and plat

fall and make an awful mess.

Father is in great distress.

Mother frowns and looks around,

although she doesn´t make a sound.

Beneath the pile lie Phil and chair,

of edibles the table´s bare.

Father´s food is on the rug,

now ´tis food for ant and bug.

Soup and bits of everything,

as if riot had been king,

lie about the soup tureen,

which in pieces can be seen.

The parents standing there in anger

have nothing to appease their hunger.

The Story Of Jack Look-In-The-Air

Jack, when he to school would go,

did not fix his eyes below.

Up he looked at the sky and cloud.

nose in air as if too proud.

At his feet he never glanced,

he did not know they advanced.

So all who saw that lofty stare

called him Jack Look-in-the-air.

A dog came running down the road,

little Jack serenely strode,

eyes raised high,

none to cry,

“Jack look out! He´s in that space.”

What took place?

Crash, ka-boom, there lie the two,

Jack and dog quite a stew.

By a stream he paced the land

with his satchel in his hand,

gazing at the asure sky,

swallows there were flying high.

Walking in this careless way

near the stream he ´gan to stray.

Three small fishes in a row

were surprised to see him go.

One more step and – splash! Poor Jack

hits the drink upon his back.

The fish, concealed, though very scared

wtch to see how Jack has fared.

But this was Jack´s most lucky day.

Two men who saw him go astray

came with poles and fished him out,

water-logged, without a doubt.

Now he´s standing dripping wet.

He´s not laughing, you can bet.

Water´s running down his face,

his hair and clothes are a disgrace,

rivers run from every fold,

and what´s more, he´s very cold.

But the little fishes three

swim with movements quick and free,

poke their heads above the water

and tell the joke to son and daughter.

They laugh and laugh till day is done

and satchel nears the setting sun.

The Story Of Flying Robert

When the rain and wind are strong,

when the storm roars loud and long,

girls and boys at home abide

snug and warm by their fireside.

But Robert´s thoughts produced a “No!

It must be nice outside to go.”

So he splashed through the field,

his umbrella for a shield.

Whoosh! The storm begins to whistle

bending tree and grass and thistle.

Look! He´s flying in the gale,

his umbrella for a sail!

Robert rises to the sky,

none to hear his frightened cry.

Past the clouds they swiftly soar

and his hat flies on before.

Robert and umbrella there

sail upon the gusty air,

while his hat blows far ahead,

from the earth it now has fled.

Where the wind blew them away

no one here below can stay.