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Private: Problematic Classics

38 The Story of the Inky Boys from Hoffman’s Struwwelpeter

The Story of the Inky Boys: top image of a stereotyped brown-skinned African man marching with an umbrella.
Piece of tripartite image. As he had often done before,
The woolly-headed Black-a-moor
One nice fine summer’s day went out
To see the shops, and walk about;
And, as he found it hot, poor fellow,
He took with him his green umbrella,
Then Edward, little noisy wag,
Ran out and laughed, and waved his flag;
And William came in jacket trim,
And brought his wooden hoop with him;
And Arthur, too, snatched up his toys
And joined the other naughty boys.
So, one and all set up a roar,
And laughed and hooted more and more,
And kept on singing,—only think!—
“Oh, Blacky, you’re as black as ink!”
Piece of tripartite image.
Tripartite illustration of three revelers, all of whom appear to be white.
Image of Agrippa's quill. Now tall Agrippa lived close by—
So tall, he almost touched the sky;
He had a mighty inkstand, too,
In which a great goose-feather grew;
He called out in an angry tone
“Boys, leave the Black-a-moor alone!
For, if he tries with all his might,
He cannot change from black to white.”
But, ah! they did not mind a bit
What great Agrippa said of it;
But went on laughing, as before,
And hooting at the Black-a-moor.
Boys, leave the Black-a-moor alone!
Part image of Agrippa shaking his finger while standing near a large inkpot.
Then great Agrippa foams with rage Then great Agrippa foams with rage—
Look at him on this very page!
He seizes Arthur, seizes Ned,
Takes William by his little head;
And they may scream and kick and call,
Into the ink he dips them all;
Into the inkstand, one, two, three,
Till they are black as black can be;
Turn over now, and you shall see.
Into the inkstand, one, two, three; Agrippa holding and dunking the three white revelers.
A stereotyped brown-skinned African man marching with an umbrella followed by black silhouettes of the three revelers; note that their "blackness" is stylized as an art form rather in contrast to the common stereotype.
See, there they are, and there they run!
The Black-a-moor enjoys the fun.
They have been made as black as crows,
Quite black all over, eyes and nose,
And legs, and arms, and heads, and toes,
And trousers, pinafores, and toys—
The silly little inky boys!
Because they set up such a roar,
And teased the harmless Black-a-moor.


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