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The American Struwwelpeter
By HEINRICH HOFFMANN, Walter Hayn
Dover Publications, Inc.Copyright © 2013 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
BETSY would never wash herself When from her bed she rose, But just as quickly as she could She hurried on her clothes. To keep her clothes all nice and clean Miss Betsy took no pains; In holes her stockings always were, Her dresses filled with stains. Sometimes she went day after day And never combed her hair, While little feathers from her bed Stuck on it here and there. The schoolboys, when they Betsy saw, Would point her out, and cry, "Oh! Betsy, what a sight you are! Oh! Slovenly Betsy, fie!"
One rainy day her parents went Some pleasant friends to meet. They took Betsy along with them, All dressed so clean and neat. Nice little boys and girls were there, With whom our Betsy played, Until of playing she grew tired, And to the garden strayed. Out in the rain she danced awhile, But 'twas not long before Flat down she tumbled in the mud, And her best clothes she tore.
Oh! what a sight she was, indeed, When in the room she came; The guests all loudly laughed at her, And she almost died with shame. She turned, and to her home she ran, And then, as here you see, She washed her clothes, and since has been As neat as she could be.CHAPTER 2
PHOEBE ANN, THE PROUD GIRL
THIS Phoebe Ann was a very proud girl, Her nose had always an upward curl.
She thought herself better than all others beside, And beat even the peacock himself in pride.
She thought the earth was so dirty and brown, That never, by chance, would she look down; And she held up her head in the air so high That her neck began stretching by and by. It stretched and it stretched; and it grew so long That her parents thought something must be wrong. It stretched and stretched, and they soon began To look up with fear at their Phoebe Ann.
They prayed her to stop her upward gaze, But Phoebe kept on in her old proud ways, Until her neck had grown so long and spare That her head was more than her neck could bear— And it bent to the ground, like a willow tree, And brought down the head of this proud Phoebe, Until whenever she went out a walk to take, The boys would shout, "Here comes a snake!"
Her head got to be so heavy to drag on, That she had to put it on a little wagon. So don't, my friends, hold your head too high, Or your neck may stretch, too, by and by.CHAPTER 3
THE DREADFUL STORY OF PAULINE AND THE MATCHES
MAMMA and Nurse went out one day, And left Pauline alone at play; Around the room she gayly sprang, Clapp'd her hands, and danced, and sang. Now, on the table close at hand, A box of matches chanced to stand, And kind Mamma and Nurse had told her, That if she touched them they would scold her. But Pauline said, "Oh, what a pity! For when they burn it is so pretty; They crackle so, and spit, and flame; And Mamma often burns the same. I'll only light a match or two As I have often seen my mother do."
When Minz and Maunz, the cats, heard this, They said, "Oh, naughty, naughty Miss. Me-ow!" they cried, "Me-ow, me-o, You'll burn to death, if you do so. Mamma forbids it, don't you know?"
But Pauline would not take advice, She lit a match, it was so nice! It crackled so, it burned so clear,— Exactly like the picture here. She jumped for joy and ran about, And was too pleased to put it out.
When Minz and Maunz, the cats, saw this, They said, "Oh, naughty, naughty Miss!" And rais'd their paws And stretch'd their claws; "'Tis very, very wrong, you know; Me-ow, me-o, me-ow, me-o! You will be burnt if you do so. Mamma forbids it, don't you know?"
Now see! oh, see! a dreadful thing! The fire has caught her apron string: Her apron burns, her arms, her hair; She burns all over, everywhere.
Then how the pussy cats did mew, What else, poor pussies, could they do? They screamed for help, 'twas all in vain, 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."
Pauline 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. And when the good cats sat beside The smoking ashes, how they cried, "Me-ow, me-o! Me-ow, me-oo! What will Mamma and Nursey do?" Their tears ran down their cheeks so fast They made a little pond at last.
Excerpted from SLOVENLY BETSY by HEINRICH HOFFMANN, Walter Hayn. Copyright © 2013 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
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