It's just 100 years since the great Wilhelm Busch, the confirmed bachelor, the oil painter, the cartoonist, the poet, the satirist, the German Mark Twain, the inventor of the strip cartoon, the creator of Max & Moritz and much else, left his mortal coil.
P-i-R is fortunate to have access to the 350 page special edition of The Great Wilhelm Busch Album containing over 1800 drawings and corresponding verses.
The book begins with the story of Holy Antonius from Padua. This is the one you should pray to when you've lost some precious thing. He will recover it for you. Or may seem to. His jewel-encrusted glass-cased finger may be viewed in Padua Cathedral.
The best known of the tales in the collection, and these days performed as a ballet set to music by Rossini, is of course the 1865 story of Max & Moritz. It's the salutary tale of a couple of scamps who get up to mischief wherever they go.
Extract from Max & Moritz - Chapter 7
Max and Moritz beware of pain -
Here comes your final cunning game!-
The boys are cutting holes in sacks
behind the Master Baker's back,
Now look, there goes Farmer Mac
carrying his heavy corn-filled sack,
And from the sack, as through a door,
the corn pours out upon the floor,
He stops and then he says 'How so?-
The sack gets lighter as I go!'
c)- Gwilym Williams
...and so it goes on until the end when the devilish duo are sliced up in a mincer and fed to the chickens. No good can ever come from bad. There are no happy endings for scoundrels. You get the pictures? Imagine the pen and ink cartoon under each verse.
These are quite rough translations by P-i-R from an old style of German but serve to give the reader an idea of how Busch's stories progress.