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MAX AND MORITZ (A STORY OF SEVEN BOYISH PRANKS) (original: MAX UND MORITZ – EINE BUBENGESCHICHTE IN SIEBEN STREICHEN) is a German language illustrated story in verse. This highly inventive, blackly humorous tale, told entirely in rhymed couplets , was written and illustrated by Wilhelm Busch
Wilhelm Busch
and published in 1865. It is among the early works of Busch, nevertheless it already features many substantial, effectually aesthetic and formal regularities, procedures and basic patterns of Busch's later works. Many familiar with comic strip history consider it to have been the direct inspiration for the Katzenjammer Kids and Quick "> The widow's four chickens (first trick) The widow's house (second trick) Sawing through the bridge planks (third trick) The teacher with his pipe (fourth trick) The uncle and the May bugs (fifth trick) The baker with Max and Moritz
Max and Moritz
covered in dough (sixth trick) The fate of Max and Moritz
Max and Moritz
(final trick)

There have been several English translations of the original German verses over the years, but all have maintained the original trochaic tetrameter :

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
Max and Moritz
fell! All they did this book rehearses, Both in pictures and in verses.

FIRST TRICK: THE WIDOW

The boys tie several crusts of bread together with thread, and lay this trap in the chicken yard of Bolte, an old widow, causing all the chickens to become fatally entangled.

This prank is remarkably similar to the eighth history of the classic German prankster tales of Till Eulenspiegel