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  • Writer's picturePeter Berthoud

Struwwelpeter: A Card Game by A. N. Myers & Co. London 1888

Updated: Sep 13, 2023

Struwwelpeter or Naughty children : A Merry Card Game for Good Children Published by A.N. Myers of Berners Street, London in 1888.



Struwwelpeter (Shock-Headed Peter) From a Myers Edition of the  Book
Struwwelpeter (Shock-Headed Peter)

Heinrich Hoffman's classic childrens book was first published in Germany in 1845. By 1848 an anonymously translated English version was being imported to Britain. A.N. Myers' predecessor company A & S Joseph Myers & Co., were early importers of Struwwelpeter, selling copies with their own advertisements pasted inside the front and rear covers. By 1881 A.N. Myers were officially co-publishing the book for the British market and continued to do so until 1891.


The Myers card game based on the book was first advertised for sale in 1888. The box for the game states that it was "Made in Germany", so very possibly by Dondorf.


The unkempt Struwwelpeter features only on the box. The other nine cautionary stories are represented by four cards each, these are: The Story of the Wild Huntsman, The Story of Wicked Frederick, The Story of Johnny Look-In-The-Air, The Very Sad Tale with the Matches, The Story of Fidgety Philip, The Story of the Inky Boys, The Story of Augustus, The Story of the Thumb-Sucker and The Story of Flying Robert.


As with the earlier Myers game of Ups and Downs the aim is for players to collect complete sets.


The Story of the Wild Huntsman

This is the man that shoots the hares;

This is the coat he always wears.

The hare sits snug in the leaves and grass,

And laughs to see the green man pass.


Now, while he slept like any top,

The little hare came, hop, hop, hop,

Took gun and spectacles, and then

On her hind legs went off again.


And now she’s trying all she can,

To shoot the sleepy, green-coat man.

He cries and screams and runs away;

The hare runs after him all day.


At last he stumbled at the well

Head over ears, and in he fell.

The hare stopped short, took aim, and hark!

Bang went the gun, - she missed her mark!



The Story of Wicked Frederick

Here is cruel Frederick, see!

A horrid wicked boy was he;

He killed the birds, and broke the chairs,

And threw the kitten down the stairs.


He whipped poor Tray till he was sore,

And kicked and whipped him more and more:

At this, good Tray grew very red,

And growled and bit him till he bled.


So Frederick had to go to bed;

The Doctor came and shook his head,

And made a very great to-do,

And gave him nasty physic too.


Tray seats himself in Frederick’s chair,

And laughs to see the nice things there:

The soup he swallows, sup by sup, -

And eats the pies and puddings up.



The Story of Johnny Look-In-The-Air

As he trudged along to school,

It was always Johnny’s rule

To be looking at the sky

And the clouds that floated by;


Running just in Johnny’s way,

Came a little dog one day;

Down they fell, with such a thump,

Dog and Johnny in a lump!


Once, with head as high as ever,

Johnny walked beside the river.

One step more! Oh! Sad to tell!

Headlong in poor Johnny fell.


But with sticks did two strong men

Hook poor Johnny out again.

Oh! You should have seen him shiver

When they pulled him from the river.



The Very Sad Tale with the Matches

Harriet took up in her hand

A box of matches from the stand:

Though kind Mamma and Nurse had told her,

That, if she touched them, they should scold her.


But Harriet would not take advice,

She lit a match, it was so nice!

The kittens cried - “me-ow, me-o,

You will be burnt, if you do so”.


And see! Oh! What a dreadful thing!

The fire had caught her apron-string;

The kittens screamed - “me-ow, me-o,

She’ll burn to death, we told her so.”


So she was burnt, with all her clothes,

And arms, and hands, and eyes, and nose;

The kittens’ tears then streamed so fast;

They made a little pond at last.



The Story of Fidgety Philip

Let me see if Philip can

Be a little gentleman;

Let me see, if he is able

To sit still for once at table.


But fidgety Phil,

Who won’t sit still,

Swings here and there

And tilts his chair.


See the naughty restless child

Growing still more rude and wild,

Till his chair falls over quite.

Philip screams with all his might.


Down upon the ground they fall,

Glasses, plates, knives, forks and all,

Cloth and all are lying on him;

He pull’d down all upon him.



The Story of the Inky Boys

When black-a-moor one day went out

To see the shops and walk about,

Three naughty boys set up a roar,

And teased the harmless black-a-moor.


Now tall Agrippa lived close by, -

So tall, he almost touch’d the sky.

He call’d out in an angry tone;

“Boys, leave the black-a-moor alone!”


But ah! They did not mind a bit

What great Agrippa said of it;

So in the ink he dips them all,

Though they may scream and kick and call.


See, there they are, as black as crows,

Their legs, and arms, and heads, and toes;

Because they set up such a roar,

And teased the harmless black-a-moor.


The Story of Augustus

Augustus did as he was told,

And never let his soup get cold,

But once he sent his soup away

Saying - “No soup for me to-day”


Next day, though feeling weak and ill,

The naughty fellow cries out still -

“O take the nasty soup away!

I won’t have any soup today.”


Next day when soup is put on table,

He screams, as loud as he is able, -

“O take the nasty soup away!

I won’t have any soup to-day.”


Look at him now, now the fourth day’s come!

He scarcely weighs a sugar-plum;

He’s like a little bit of thread,

And on the fifth day, he was - dead!



The Story of the Thumb-Sucker

One day, Mamma said: “Conrad dear,

I must go out and leave you here

But mind now, Conrad, what I say,

Don’t suck your thumb while I’m away.”


“The great tall tailor always comes

To little boys that suck their thumbs”

Mamma had scarcely turn’d her back,

The tumblebug was in, Alack! Alack!


The door flew open, in he ran,

The great, long, red legged scissor-man

Snip1 Snap! Snip! The scissors go;

And Conrad cries out - Oh! Oh! Oh!


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.”



The Story of Flying Robert

When the rain comes tumbling down

In the country or the town,

All good little girls and boys

Stay at home and mind their toys.


Robert thought, - “No when it pours,

It is better out of doors”

Here you see him silly fellow,

Underneath his red umbrella.


Now look at the silly fellow,

The wind has caught his red umbrella

Up he flies to the skies;

No one hears his screams and cries.


No one ever yet could tell

Where he stopped, or where he fell:

Only, this is plain,

Bob was never seen again!




The London firm of A.N. Myers & Co. were prominent in the 19th Century as: "Importers of Toys, Publishers of Kindergarten Appliances, Education and Scientific Toys, Models and Games, Exercises in Colouring, Drawing Copies, Drawing Models and Appliances, Cardboard Toys for Grouping, Cardboard Models for Cutting Out and Setting Up, Dissected and Mosaic Puzzles and Picture Cubes, Miniature Theatres, Magic Lanterns and Slides."


The firm took their name from its founder Abraham Nathan Myers (1804-1882).


Their offices were at 15 Berners Street, in what is now known as Fitzrovia, almost opposite the Sanderson Hotel today. The Myers building, originally a house designed by William Chambers, was replaced by an office block in 1963.



Notes: Struwwelpeter Card Game - Myers, London 1888

  • The A.N. Myers game - Struwwelpeter or Naughty children : A Merry Game for Good Children, was first advertised in The Bookseller May 4th 1888 p. 49

  • The English Struwwelpeter and the Birth of International Copyright by Jane Brown and Gregory Jones has detailed information on all early editions of the book, it is available online here.

  • The Museum of Childhood in Edinburgh have a copy with a box intact, the only one I have been able to find, Gamesboard have an image.

  • An article by Rex Pitts on Dondorf's French version Pierre l’Ebouriffé - Jeu de Cartes can be found at World of Playing Cards.

  • The whole original book, a Myers edition, can be viewed on Google Books

  • A.N. Myers company description - The Bookseller. 3 February 1883. p. 195

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