Your family might be perfectly normal. You never laugh at (imaginary) people’s pain or when the make-believe dragon eats the make-believe policeman, and I’m very happy for you. It must be nice to be that well-adjusted. But if you aren’t that well-adjusted or if you want a glimpse of my slightly weird family for a few minutes, read on!
I grew up with stories about cute bunnies and princesses. Sure. I also grew up with bedtime stories from Der Struwwelpeter. Every story was about someone who had a bad habit. One little boy sucked his thumb, another wouldn’t pay attention to where he was walking, and one was a picky eater.
Yeah, that’s about to be a bloody stump in a children’s book and it perfectly represents the end that all bad children met in Der Struwwelpeter. The kid above was the thumb-sucker. He didn’t quite catch on after his first thumb was cut off, so he ended up minus both thumbs.
Odd humor also found its way into our family song repertoire. Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road was a favorite, as well as The Green-eyed Dragon With the 13 Tails.
For several years, my parents have tried to remember the last verse to The Green-eyed Dragon without any luck. On Sunday, the internet saved the day and they found the final verse. I got a phone serenade to celebrate the momentous occasion.
Here’s the first verse of the classic I was listening to while other kids were hoping the itsy bitsy spider would make it up the water spout:
Once upon a time lived a Fair Princess
Most beautiful and charming;
Her Father, the King, was a wicked old thing,
With manners most alarming.
And always on the front door mat,
A most ferocious Dragon sat,
It made such an awful shrieking noise
So all you little girls and boys…
Beware, take care,
Of the Green-eyed dragon with the 13 tails,
On little boys, puppy dogs and big fat snails.
Then off to his lair each child he’ll drag,
And each of his 13 tails he’ll wag
And creep off on tip toes.
And hurry up the stairs,
And say your prayers,
And duck your heads, your pretty curly heads,
Beneath the clothes, the clothes, the clothes.
Nothing like parents who wanted their kids to feel safe in bed at night.