Dear Readers, this maternal approach is certainly going to give Conrad a COMPLEX, and these days would be strongly advised against. Indeed the whole of ‘Struwwelpeter’ should be approached with extreme caution.
Needless to say the very word ‘not’ has the opposite of the desired effect, and the thumb goes in as soon as Mamma has turned her back. I fear this time I cannot spare you the consequences…
The door flew open, in he ran, The great, long, red-legged scissorman. Oh! children, see! the tailor’s come And caught our little Suck-a-Thumb.
Snip! Snap! Snip! the scissors go; And Conrad cries out – Oh! Oh! Oh! Snip! Snap! Snip! They go so fast; That both his thumbs are off at last. Mamma comes home; there Conrad stands, And looks quite sad, and shows his hands;- “Ah!” said Mamma “I knew he’d come To naughty little Suck-a-Thumb.“
We all know this little horror, who these days might be prescribed medication for his Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. He does not, of course obey his kindly Pappa’s instructions and continues:
See the naughty, restless child, Growing still more rude and wild , Till his chair falls over quite. Philip screams with all his might, Catches at the cloth, but then That makes matters worse again.
The author of this horrid warning rhyme was Heinrich Hoffmann, a German psychiatrist, in his book ‘Struwwelpeter’, published in 1845, and written to entertain his little son.
This sort of animal cruelty has been attributed to the lunatic Renfield in ‘Dracula’, but I think he had different motives. On the other hand, the real life ‘Jack the Ripper’ may have had such a childhood background according to Dr George Savage writing on ‘Homicidal Insanity’ for The Fortnightly Review in 1881.
I have known such children kick cats and dogs to death, or set light to them, or pour boiling water over them, the fiendish pleasure being increased if the young of the animals were thus reduced to starvation. The morally undeveloped child has been pointed out to me by several devout friends as a proof of the existence of the devil.
Savage and other ‘medico-psychologists’ of his time regarded this as a type of ‘moral insanity’, which is perhaps more apt than the modern ‘conduct disorder’ or, in adulthood, ‘severe antisocial personality disorder’ or ‘psychopathy’.
Renfield, the ‘lunatic’ patient in ‘Dracula, is in need of a ‘back story’. So perhaps his cousin Gar Field was once invited to Christmas dinner with the Count and his Vampiresses. He successfully escapes, much to their fury, and doesn’t even get norovirus..,
Thank you to my neighbours for the festive post-box. In it are Greetings for all my blog readers.
The real blood-sucking (or blood-lapping) vampire bats, are found in the Americas. The common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus) feeds solely on blood, a trait known as ‘haematophagy’. (Compare this with Renfield’s so-called ‘zoophagy’.) These bats are quite small, even cute-looking, but rabies is still a possibility.
For a dental note: it is the two sharp front teeth which open up the blood vessel, then the long tongue takes over. Note that in the ‘Dracula’ novel and most movies it is the canine teeth that cause the damage but Count Orlok in ‘Nosferatu’ has teeth like this, as do rats.
The association of large bats with vampires stemmed from Linnaeus’ original namings, and so, in ‘Dracula’, Quincey, the American, remarks:
‘I have not seen anything pulled down so quick since I was on the Pampas and had a mare that I was fond of go to grass all in a night. One of those big bats that they call vampires had got at her in the night, and what with his gorge and the vein left open, there wasn’t enough blood in her to let her stand up, and I had to put a bullet through her as she lay.’
The spectral bat (Vampyrum spectrum) is a large, carnivorous leaf-nosed bat found in Mexico, Central America and South America. It has a robust skull and teeth, with which it delivers a powerful bite to kill its prey, likely to be birds, rodents and insects.
In Trinidad, these bats are sometimes thought to be ghosts.