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Max and Moritz

Max and Moritz was a German language comic strip and may have been the first such strip ever. It was drawn by Wilhelm Busch and began newspaper publication in 1865. It may have also been the inspiration for Katzenjammer Kids.

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Preface Ah, how oft we read or hear of Boys we almost stand in fear of! For example, take these stories

Of two youths, named Max and Moritz, Who, instead of early turning Their young minds to useful learning, Often leered with horrid features At their lessons and their teachers. Look now at the empty head: he Is for mischief always ready. Teasing creatures - climbing fences, Stealing apples, pears, and quinces, Is, of course, a deal more pleasant, And far easier for the present, Than to sit in schools or churches, Fixed like roosters on their perches But O dear, O dear, O deary, When the end comes sad and dreary ! 'Tis a dreadful thing to tell That on Max and Moritz fell ! All they did this book rehearses, Both in pictures and in verses.

First Trick

To most people who have leisure Raising poultry gives great pleasure: First, because the eggs they lay us For the care we take repay us; Secondly, that now and then We can dine on roasted hen; Thirdly, of the hen's and goose's Feathers men make various uses. Some folks like to rest their heads In the night on feather beds. One of these was Widow Tibbets, Whom the cut you see exhibits. Hens were hers in number three, And a cock of majesty. Max and Moritz took a view; Fell to thinking what to do. One, two, three! as soon as said, They have sliced a loaf of bread, Cut each piece again in four, Each a finger thick, no more. These to two cross-threads they tie, Like a letter X they lie In the widow's yard, with care Stretched by those two rascals there. Scarce the cock had seen the sight, When he up and crew with might: Cock-a-doodle-doodle-doo;-- Tack, tack, tack, the trio flew. Cock and hens, like fowls unfed, Gobbled each a piece of bread; But they found, on taking thought, Each of them was badly caught. Every way they pull and twitch, This strange cat's-cradle to unhitch; Up into the air they fly, Jiminee, O Jimini! On a tree behold them dangling, In the agony of strangling! And their necks grow long and longer, And their groans grow strong and stronger. Each lays quickly one egg more, Then they cross to th' other shore. Widow Tibbets in her chamber, By these death-cries waked from slumber, Rushes out with bodeful thought: Heavens! what sight her vision caught! From her eyes the tears are streaming: "Oh, my cares, my toil, my dreaming ! Ah, life's fairest hope," says she, "Hangs upon that apple-tree." Heart-sick (you may well suppose). For the carving-knife she goes; Cuts the bodies from the bough, Hanging cold and lifeless now; And in silence, bathed in tears, Through her house-door disappears. This was the bad boys' first trick, But the second follows quick.

Second Trick

When the worthy Widow Tibbets (Whom the cut below exhibits) Had recovered, on the morrow, From the dreadful shock of sorrow, She (as soon as grief would let her Think) began to think 'twere better Just to take the dead, the dear ones (Who in life were walking here once), And in a still noonday hour Them, well roasted, to devour. True, it did seem almost wicked, When they lay so bare and naked, Picked, and singed before the blaze,-- They that once in happier days, In the yard or garden ground, All day long went scratching round. Ah ! Frau Tibbets wept anew, And poor Spitz was with her, too. Max and Moritz smelt the savor. "Climb the roof!" cried each young shaver. Through the chimney now, with pleasure, They behold the tempting treasure, Headless, in the pan there, Iying, Hissing, browning, steaming, frying. At that moment down the cellar (Dreaming not what soon befell her) Widow Tibbets went for sour Krout, which she would oft devour With exceeding great deslre (Warmed a little at the fire). Up there on the roof, meanwhile, They are doing things in style. Max already with forethought A long fishing-line has brought. Schnupdiwup! a second bird! Schnupdiwup! up comes the third! Presto! number four they haul! Schnupdiwup! we have them all!-- Spitz looks on, we must allow, But he barks: Row-wow! Row-wow ! But the rogues are down instanter From ths roof, and off they canter.-- Ha! I guess there'll be a humming; Here's the Widow Tibbets coming! Rooted stood she to the spot, When the pan her vision caught. Gone was every blessed bird! "Horrid Spitz!" was her first word. "O you Spitz, you monster, you! Let me beat him black and blue!" And the heavy ladle, thwack! Comes down on poor Spitz's back! Loud he yells with agony, For he feels his conscience free. Max and Moritz, dinner over, In a hedge, snored under cover; And of that great hen-feast now Each has but a leg to show. This was now the second trick, But the third will follow quick.

Third Trick

Through the town and country round Was one Mr. Buck renowned. Sunday coats, and week-day sackcoats, Bob-tails, swallow-tails, and frock coats, Gaiters, breeches, hunting-jackets; Waistcoats, with commodious pockets,- And other things, too long to mention, Claimed Mr. Tailor Buck's attention. Or, if any thing wanted doing In the way of darning, sewing, Piecing, patching,-if a button Needed to be fixed or put on,- Any thing of any kind, Anywhere, before, behind,- Master Buck could do the same, For it was his life's great aim. Therefore all the population Held him high in estimation. Max and Moritz tried to invent Ways to plague this worthy gent. Right before the Sartor's dwelling Ran a swift stream, roaring, swelling. This swift stream a bridge did span. And the road across it ran. Max and Moritz (naught could awe them!) Took a saw, when no one saw them: Ritze-ratze ! riddle-diddle! Sawed a gap across the middle. When this feat was finished well, Suddenly was heard a yell: "Hallo, there! Come out, you buck! Tailor, Tailor, muck! muck! muck!" Buck could bear all sorts of jeering, Jibes and jokes in silence hearing; But this insult roused such anger, Nature couldn't stand it longer. Wild with fury, up he started, With his yard-stick out he darted; For once more that frightful jeer, "Muck! muck! muck!" rang loud and clear. On the bridge one leap he makes; Crash! beneath his weight it breaks. Once more rings the cry, "Muck! muck!" In, headforemost, plumps poor Buck! While the scared boys were skedaddling, Down the brook two geese came paddling. On the legs of these two geese, With a death-clutch, Buck did seize; And, with both geese well in hand, Flutters out upon dry land. For the rest he did not find Things exactly to his mind. Soon it proved poor Buck had brought a Dreadful belly-ache from the water. Noble Mrs. Buck! She rises Fully equal to the crisis; With a hot flat-iron, she Draws the cold out famously. Soon 'twas in the mouths of men, All through town: "Buck's up again!" This was the bad boys' third trick, But the fourth will follow quick.



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