The Dreadful Story of Pauline and the Matches

Then how the pussy-cats did mew

What else, poor pussies, could they do?

They screamed for help, ’twas all in vain,

I So then, they said, “We’ll scream again.

Make haste, make haste! me-ow! me-o!

She’ll burn to death,- we told her so.”

So she was burnt with all her clothes,

And arms and hands, and eyes and nose;

Till she had nothing more to lose

Except her little scarlet shoes;

And nothing else but these was found

Among her ashes on the ground. —Heinrich Hoffmann
The Dreadful Story of Pauline and the Matches (Struwwelpeter)

The above is from an anonymous translator. Don’t miss “Shock-headed Peter,” and the sad tale of Conrad Suck-a-Thumb: “The great tall tailor always comes / To little boys that suck their thumbs. / And ere they dream what he’s about / He takes his great sharp scissors / And cuts their thumbs clean off.”

Great stuff.

My wife and I jokingly refer to “Shock-headed Peter” because our boy’s hair won’t stay in place. It’s been a while since we read these to our kids. Carolyn is just the right age to be traumatized by them.