First published in "Punch" magazine in 1935, with black-and-white drawings by Ernest Shepard.
First published in book form by Methuen and Company Limited, London, 1936, with coloured illustrations by Ernest Shepard.
Jan Struther (Joyce Maxtone Graham, 1901-1953, author of Mrs. Miniver) and her first husband Tony had three children, James, Janet and Robert. On Tony's side there were also eight nephews: Patrick, Philip and Charles Smythe; Anthony and David Townsend; and Peter, Michael and John Maxtone Graham, the last two being twins.
So of the eleven cousins, my sister Janet was the only girl. "Struwwelpeter", Heinrich Hoffmann's classic (but now rather horrific) volume of cautionary verses, dealt with eleven children, of whom one was a girl. The coincidence was too much for Jan to miss. "The Modern Struwwelpeter" first appeared weekly in "Punch" magazine in 1935, illustrated with Ernest Shepard's black-and-white drawings. When collected into a book, the several dozen illustrations were in colour.
This Internet edition of the verses only (copyright, Estate of Jan Struther) was published in 2001, with the permission of the Maxtone Graham family. Some specimens of the Shepard illustrations are included (by permission of the Shepard family) in the biography of Jan Struther (The Real Mrs. Miniver) by my daughter Ysenda Maxtone Graham, London, John Murray, 2001.
Jan's dedication was to the eleven cousins, whose ages at the time of the "Punch" articles ranged from twelve (Patrick Smythe) to four (myself).
THE STORY OF PATRICK IN LONDON
THE STORY OF FROZEN JAMES
THE STORY OF FOOLISH PHILIP
THE STORY OF PETER AND THE HALIBUT
THE STORY OF ANTHONY, THE BOY WHO KNEW TOO MUCH
THE DREADFUL STORY OF JANET
THE STORY OF RUTHLESS MIKE AND RECKLESS JOHN
THE STORY OF CHEEKY CHARLES
THE STORY OF DISOBEDIENT DAVID
THE STORY OF ROBERT AND THE TELEPHONE
Many many years ago
What would Doctor Hoffmann say
Since, alas! he isn't here,
When Patrick went to London Town
For several days young Patrick did
They saw the Tower and the Zoo,
See! Aunt Matilda now prepares
"Come back!" she screams. "You wicked boy!"
So down and up and up and down
Thus ends at last her breathless chase.
What a charming boy was James!
In the middle of the morning
Parents' warnings (some have found)
Now once more he's safe and warm,
Philip, when he walked to school,
All went well, until one day
What a dreadful scene it makes!
Foolish boy! He was not dead,
"I should not have had this pain
Poor Peter was, at six years old,
At last his parents in despair
That night (a trifle feverish
"Ah, say not so!" the boy exclaimed.
Anthony, though not unkind,
Christmas time came round once more.
The Conjurer, who must have heard,
So with all his other tricks:
Coins he'd find in Susan's hair
The Conjurer politely smiled
His mother wildly glanced around.
Children, when you go to parties
Janet, when she went out shopping,
"Tut, my child!" her mother chid.
No one stops her. Up she goes
Oh, how slow the hours crawl, . . .
Janet, turning in a fright,
And, these horrid words to prove,
In the window now she stands,
As John and Michael did not like
Says Ruthless Mike to Reckless John:
One day their dear mamma was sent,
At last–or so it seemed to them–
At tea-time they contrived to spread
Miss M. had scarcely time to mutter
Cries Ruthless Mike to Reckless John:
"Oh, no, you can't," a whisper said
A wretched life from that time on
Children, pray be warned by them–
Now Charles had been brought up with care
"Charles!" cried his father in amaze,
The horrid habit grew and grew:
At last his father took him to
"Delighted!" Mr. B. replied.
So now, whene'er the weather's fine,
Young David was forbidden quite
Now David, who was rash and bold
Imprudent boy! A monstrous spark
All over him the demons clung
His parents searched for him in vain:
Though Robert, luckiest of boys,
Young Robert, thinking it a game,
Now first of all he boldly took
At last the telephone (annoyed,
With thumping heart poor Robert fled