Shaggy Peter & Little Suck-a-Thumb

“Der Struwwelpeter”(1845), a popular German children’s book by Heinrich Hoffman, comprises ten illustrated and rhymed stories, mostly about children. Each teaches a clear moral that exaggerates the disastrous consequences of “misbehavior.” The title story kicks off the book. Mark Twain’s translation of Struwwelpeter bears the title, “Slovenly Peter.” Other versions refer to Shaggy Peter, Shag-headed Peter, or Shock-headed Peter. In the book’s sixth story, “The Story of Little Suck-a-Thumb,” a mother badgers her son not to suck his thumbs. However, when she leaves the house, he resumes his Thumbsucking, until a roving tailor arrives and lops off the boy’s primary digits with giant scissors.


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