“If you play during your meal each time, then you should know that spider will come.”
See more here.
It reminded me of something else I came across recently. I was reading Reasons to Be Cheerful the latest Hellblazer graphic novel (which was pretty good, except it ended mid-stream) when I came across the character of Struwwelpeter, a crazy looking German kid with wild hair and impossibly long fingernails. In the story, a girl was being terrorized by demonic nightmares from her youth and she called on “Shockhead Peter” to defend her because he was the worst one and scarier than any of her other nightmares.
I consulted my resident expert in all things Germanic/Swiss and found out that the character was used as a morality tale to scare kids into proper grooming habits by showing them that they would be mercilessly mocked if they didn’t. Wikipedia reveals that the German children’s book had many other ghoulish life lessons to traumatize teach children, including:
“Die Geschichte vom Daumenlutscher” (The Story of Little Suck-a-Thumb), where a mother warns her son not to suck his thumbs. However, when she goes out of the house he resumes his thumb sucking, until a roving tailor appears and cuts off his thumbs with giant scissors.
Which sounds pretty bad until you compare it with:
Die gar traurige Geschichte mit dem Feuerzeug (The Dreadful Story of Pauline and the Matches), in which a girl plays with matches and burns to death.
Some have even more tragic endings:
In Die Geschichte vom bösen Friederich (The Story of Cruel
Frederick), a violent boy terrorizes animals and people. Eventually he
is bitten by a dog, who goes on to eat the boy’s sausages while he is bedridden.
I would hate to have a dog eat my sausages while I am stuck in bed. Oh, the indignity! I hope the boy learned his lesson.