Der Struwwelpeter (Shaggy-Peter or Shockheaded Peter), written and illustrated by Heinrich Hoffmann, is an 1845 German children's book filled with cautionary tales. These cautionary tales are more grim than others, however — they often end in death or dismemberment for the child. They are a source of plenty of Nightmare Fuel, too.There are ten stories, each of them rhyming and illustrated. They are:
"Shockheaded Peter" ("Struwwelpeter"): Peter doesn't groom himself, until he is universally detested.
"The Story of Bad Frederick" ("Die Geschichte vom bösen Friederich"): A mean kid terrorizes adults and animals, until a dog bites him, causing him to lie through a bitter medicine treatment.
"The Dreadful Story of Pauline and the Matches" ("Die gar traurige Geschichte mit dem Feuerzeug"): Pauline plays with matches and burns to death.
"The Story of the Inky Boys" ("Die Geschichte von den schwarzen Buben"): Three kids who tease a black boy get their just desserts when Nikolaus (or "Agrippa" in at least one translation) dips them into ink.
"The Story of the Wild Huntsman" ("Die Geschichte von dem wilden Jäger"): A hare steals a hunter's rifle and eyeglasses and hunts him.
"The Story of Little Suck-a-Thumb" ("Die Geschichte vom Daumenlutscher"): Little Suck-a-Thumb's mother warns him not to suck his thumbs, but he does anyway. So the Scissorman snips them off.
"The Story of Kaspar who did not have any Soup" ("Die Geschichte vom Suppen-Kaspar"): Kaspar (or Augustus, depending on the translation) refuses to eat his soup, so over five days, he slowly wastes away and dies.
"The Story of Fidgety Philip" ("Die Geschichte vom Zappel-Philipp"): Philip fidgits too much at the dinner table and spills the food onto the floor.
"The Story of Johnny Head-in-Air" ("Die Geschichte von Hans Guck-in-die-Luft"): Johnny doesn't pay attention to where he's walking, so he falls into a river. (He lives, though, unlike some of the other stories.)
"The Story of Flying Robert" ("Die Geschichte vom fliegenden Robert"): Robert goes outside during a storm and the wind picks up his umbrella, carrying him off never to be seen again.
Needless to say, please don't read these stories to your children if you don't want them to have nightmares.An episode ofVan der Valk, a long-running British crime drama, features a Serial Killer who takes revenge on his victims by subjecting them to the same fates as in the stories. Interestingly enough, the "Johnny Head-in-Air" victim, although intended to drown, does in fact live.An English translation was done by Mark Twain under the title Slovenly Peter (though that translation was not published before 1935).Struwwelpeter was adapted into the operaShockheaded Peter (premiered in 1998), with music by The Tiger Lillies.
Humanoid Abomination: Possibly the great, tall, red-legged Scissorman, who arrives (with the speed of teleportation) at the house of a thumb-sucker for the express purpose of mutilating the kid's hands and disappearing again.
Jerkass: Frederick from "The Story of Bad Frederick".
Laser-Guided Karma: Nikolaus dips the racist kids into a gigantic inkwell for harassing a black boy.