Thursday, 14 April 2016

Thumb sucking

DZ recently rediscovered something that took him back over 50 years.

I remember quite clearly at the age of about 12 or so browsing in the children's section of our local library. In the section for young children I found a book that contained "The Story of Little Suck-a-Thumb". I remember even at that age being utterly appalled to find this, thinking at the time it was pretty much guaranteed to induce nightmares and anxiety in any child who sucked their thumb. Reading it again today I still think it's quite horrible. A story telling kids that, if they suck their thumb some lanky maniac will burst in with a pair of shears and cut off their thumbs, with the acquiescence of their mother! This is the original illustration from the book, first published in 1845

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."

What a sweet tale to read to your little one at bedtime. I wonder what sort of deranged lunatic could write such a thing. Well I looked up the author, one Heinrich Hoffman. Believe it or not he was a psychiatrist!

I suppose we should be grateful he didn't explore what might happen to boys who've discovered wanking.

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