The Dreadful Story Of Harriet And The Matches

Heinrich Hoffmann 1809 (Frankfurt,) – 1894 (Frankfurt,)



It almost makes me cry to tell
What foolish Harriet befell.
Mamma and Nurse went out one day
And left her all alone at play.
Now, on the table close at hand,
A box of matches chanced to stand;
And kind Mamma and Nurse had told her,
That, if she touched them, they would scold her.
But Harriet said: "Oh, what a pity!
For, when they burn, it is so pretty;
They crackle so, and spit, and flame:
Mamma, too, often does the same."
  
The pussy-cats heard this,
And they began to hiss,
And stretch their claws,
And raise their paws;
"Me-ow," they said, "me-ow, me-o,
You'll burn to death, if you do so."
  
But Harriet would not take advice:
She lit a match, it was so nice!
It crackled so, it burned so clear--
Exactly like the picture here.
She jumped for joy and ran about
And was too pleased to put it out.
  
The Pussy-cats saw this
And said: "Oh, naughty, naughty Miss!"
And stretched their claws,
And raised their paws:
"'Tis very, very wrong, you know,
Me-ow, me-o, me-ow, me-o,
You will be burnt, if you do so."
  
And see! oh, what dreadful thing!
The fire has caught her apron-string;
Her apron burns, her arms, her hair--
She burns all over everywhere.
  
Then how the pussy-cats did mew--
What else, poor pussies, could they do?
They screamed for help, 'twas all in vain!
So then they said: "We'll scream again;
Make haste, make haste, 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;
Till she had nothing more to lose
Except her little scarlet shoes;
And nothing else but these was found
Among her ashes on the ground.
  
And when the good cats sat beside
The smoking ashes, how they cried!
"Me-ow, me-oo, me-ow, me-oo,
What will Mamma and Nursey do?"
Their tears ran down their cheeks so fast,
They made a little pond at last.
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

Modified on April 28, 2023

1:43 min read
20

Quick analysis:

Scheme AABBCCDDEEFF GGHHII JJXXKK GGHHIII LLMM NNXXII XXOOPP QQINRR
Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 1,771
Words 350
Stanzas 8
Stanza Lengths 12, 6, 6, 7, 4, 6, 6, 6

Heinrich Hoffmann

Heinrich Hoffmann was a German psychiatrist, who also wrote some short works including Der Struwwelpeter, an illustrated book portraying children misbehaving. more…

All Heinrich Hoffmann poems | Heinrich Hoffmann Books

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