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Hoffmann, Heinrich: The Story of Ugly Frederick (Die Geschichte vom bösen Friederich in English)

Portre of Hoffmann, Heinrich
Portre of Twain, Mark

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Die Geschichte vom bösen Friederich (German)

Der Friederich, der Friederich

das war ein arger Wüterich!

Er fing die Fliegen in dem Haus

und riß ihnen die Flügel aus.

Er schlug die Stühl und Vögel tot,

die Katzen litten große Not.

Und höre nur, wie bös er war:

Er peitschte seine Gretchen gar!


Am Brunnen stand ein großer Hund,

trank Wasser dort mit seinem Mund.

Da mit der Peitsch herzu sich schlich

der bitterböse Friederich;

und schlug den Hund, der heulte sehr,

und trat und schlug ihn immer mehr.

Da biß der Hund ihn in das Bein,

recht tief bis in das Blut hinein.

Der bitterböse Friederich,

der schrie und weinte bitterlich.

Jedoch nach Hause lief der Hund

und trug die Peitsche in dem Mund.


Ins Bett muß Friedrich nun hinein,

litt vielen Schmerz an seinem Bein;

und der Herr Doktor sitzt dabei

und gibt ihm bittre Arzenei.

Der Hund an Friedrichs Tischchen saß,

wo er den großen Kuchen aß;

aß auch die gute Leberwurst

und trank den Wein für seinen Durst.

Die Peitsche hat er mitgebracht

und nimmt sie sorglich sehr in acht.

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The Story of Ugly Frederick (English)

O waly me! O waly me!

Just such a boy I ne'er did see.

He caught the flies, poor helpless things,

Made hoppers of them, minus wings.

He killed the birds, where'er he could,

And catless made the neighborhood;

And worst of all that he did do,

He banged the housemaid black and blue.


A dog stood drinking at a pump —

The way he made that doglet jump!

He sneaked upon him unaware,

He whacked him there, he whacked him there,

He whacked with all his might and main,

He made him howl and dance with pain,


Until, o'ercome by woe and grief,

The dog, desiring some relief,

Did bite that brutal boy full sore,

Which made the latter prance and roar.

And then the dog did grab the whip,

And with it homeward he did skip.


To bed the boy [then] had to go

And nurse his bite and wail his woe,

The while the Doctor healing brings

And loads him up with drugs and things.


And all this time the dog below

Sings praises soft and sweet and low

O'er Fred'rick's dinner waiting there

For Fred'rick (or for Fred'rick's heir).

The dog's his heir, and this estate

That dog inherits, and will ate. *


He hangs the whip upon the chair,

And mounts aloft and seats him there;

He sips the wine, so rich and red,

And feels it swimming in his head.

He munches grateful at the cake,

and wishes he might never wake

From his debauch; while think by think

His thoughts dream on, and link by link

The liver-sausage disappears,

And his hurt soul relents in tears.


* My child, never use an expression like that.

It is utterly unprincipled and outrageous to say

ate when you mean eat, and you must never

do it except when crowded for a rhyme.

As you grow up you will find that poetry

is a sandy road to travel, and the only way

to pull through at all is to lay your grammar

down and take hold with both hands.


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