Wilhelm Busch.

Plish and Plum



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CHAPTER I

 
With a pipe between his lips,
Two young dogs upon his hips,
Jogs along old Caspar Sly;
How that man can smoke, – oh, my!
But although the pipe-bowl glows
Red and hot beneath his nose;
Yet his heart is icy-cold;
How can earth such wretches hold!
"Of what earthly use to me
Can such brutes," he mutters, "be?
Do they earn their vittles? No!
'Tis high time I let 'em go.
What you don't want, fling away!
Them's my sentiments, I say!"
O'er the pond he silent bends,
For to drown them he intends.
With their legs the quadrupeds
Kick and squirm, – can't move their heads
And the inner voice speaks out:
How 't will end we gravely doubt.
Hubs!– an airy curve one makes;
Plish!– a headlong dive he takes.
Hubs! – the second follows suit;
Plum!– the wave engulfs the brute.
"That's well ended," Caspar cries,
Puffs away and homeward hies.
But, as often happens, here too
Things don't go as they appear to.
Paul and Peter, – so 'twas fated, —
Naked in the bushes waited
For a swim; and they descry
What was done by wicked Sly.
And like frogs they dove, kechunk,
Where the poor young dogs had sunk.
Quickly each one with his hand
Drags a little dog to land.
"Plish, I'll call my dog," cried Paul;
"Plum," said Peter, "mine I'll call."
Paul and Peter then with pleasure,
Tenderly took each his treasure,
And, with speed and joy past telling,
Steered for the parental dwelling.
 

CHAPTER II

 
Papa Fittig, calm and cosy,
Mamma Fittig, round and rosy,
Arm in arm sit peaceful there —
Troubled by no speck of care —
On the bench before the door;
For the summer day is o'er,
And the supper hour is near,
And the lads will soon be here.
Soon they burst upon the view,
Plish and Plum are with them too.
Fittig thinks a dog a plague:
"Nah!" he cries, – "excuse, I beg!"
But mamma with soft looks pleaded:
"Let them, Fittig!" – and succeeded.
Evening milk, fresh and delicious,
On the table stood in dishes.
Joyfully they haste indoors;
Plish and Plum ahead, of course.
Mercy! look! right in the sweet
Cream each wretch has set his feet;
And the noise their lapping makes
Shows what comfort each one takes.
At the window peeps old Sly,
Chuckles loud and says: "My eye!
This is very bad, he! he!
Very bad, but not for me!!"
 

CHAPTER III

 
When night came, all worn and tired,
As if nothing had transpired,
Paul and Peter in their chamber
Lay there, wrapt in peaceful slumber,
A soft snoring through their noses
Shows how tranquilly each dozes.
But not so with Plish and Plum!
They sit ill-at-ease and glum,
Not being lodged to suit their mind,
To turn in they too inclined.
Plish, the dog's old rule to follow,
Turns round thrice, his bed to hollow;
Plum, however, shows a mind
More affectionately inclined.
When we dream of perfect rest
Comes full many a troublous guest.
"March!" With this harsh word the pets.
Turn their outward summersets
Coolness wakes activity;
Time well-filled glides pleasantly.
Means of sport are handy too,
Here a stocking – there a shoe.
These, before the morning glow,
Curious changes undergo.
When he comes the boys to wake,
And beholds the frightful wreck,
Pale the father cries: "This will
Be a monstrous heavy bill!"
Vengeful claws are in the air;
Feigning sleep, the rogues lie there;
But the mother begs: "I pray,
Fittig dear, thy wrath allay!"
And her loving words assuage
The stern father's boiling rage.
Paul and Peter never care
How they look or what they wear.
Peter two old slippers gets,
Paul his infant pantalets.
Plish and Plum, in morals blind,
To the dog-house are confined.
"This is bad!" says Sly, "he! he!
Very bad, but not for me!"
 

CHAPTER IV

 
Caught at last in wiry house,
Sits that most audacious mouse,
Who, with many a nightly antic,
Drove poor Mamma Fittig frantic, —
Rioting, with paws erratic,
From the cellar to the attic.
This event to Plish and Plum
Was a long-sought gaudium;
For the word was: "Stu-boys! take him!
Seize the wicked grinder – shake him!"
Soft! a refuge mousey reaches
In a leg of Peter's breeches.
Through the leg-tube Plish pursues him,
Plum makes sure he shall not lose him.
Nip! the mousey with his tooth
Stings the smeller of the youth.
Plish essays to pull him clear;
Nip! the plague's on Plish's ear.
See! they run heels over head,
Into neighbor's garden-bed.
Kritze-kratze! what will be —
Come, sweet flower-plot, of thee?
At that moment Madam Mieding,
With fresh oil, her lamp is feeding;
And her heart comes near to breaking,
With those pests her garden wrecking.
Indignation lends her wings,
And the oil-can, too, she brings.
Now, with mingling joy and wrath,
She gives each a shower-bath —
First to Plish and then to Plum,
Shower-bath of petroleum!
Of the effect that might be wrought,
Madam Mieding had not thought.
But what presently took place,
Right before this lady's face,
Made her shut her eyes, so dazed
That she smiled like one half crazed, —
Drew a heavy sigh, and soon
Gasped and sank down in a swoon.
Paul and Peter, hard and cool,
Heed not much the Golden Rule.
Suffering, stretched beside the way
Never once disturbs their play.
"Bad enough!" says Sly; "he! he!
Shocking bad! but not for me!"
 

CHAPTER V

 
Breeches short and long surtout,
Crooked nose and cane to suit,
Gray of soul and black of eye,
Hat slouched back, expression sly —
Such is old Sol Shuffleshins;
How complacently he grins!
Fittig's door he's passing now;
Hark! a furious, row-wow-wow!
Scarcely has the echo gone,
When the following scene comes on.
Turn and twist him as he will,
Plish and Plum stick to him still;
Underneath his long surtout
Tugs and tears each crazy brute.
Shall that happen twice? not quite!
Mind shall triumph over might!
Presto! What strange dog is there,
Hat in mouth? the young ones stare.
What queer quadruped can he,
Backing toward the doorway, be?
Mrs.
Fittig hears the clatter,
Comes to see what is the matter.
Soft as on a mossy bank,
In her lap Sol backward sank.
Fittig also came in view.
"Ow!" cried Sol, "I'm torn in two!
Herr von Fittig pays me for 't,
Or I'll carry it to court!"
He must pay; that makes him pout
Worse than having ten teeth out.
In despair he casts askance
At that youthful pair a glance, —
Seeming plainly to confess,
"I've no words your shame to express"
Little care the hardened creatures
For their parent's play of features.
"Bad enough"! says Sly, "he! he!
Awful bad! but not for me!"
 

CHAPTER VI

 
Plish and Plum, their deeds declare,
Are a graceless, low-lived pair.
Yet they live in close communion;
And for that, in my opinion,
They deserve some commendation;
But will 't be of long duration?
"Rogue & Co." – such firm, be sure,
Cannot many days endure.
In the sunshine, vis-a-vis,
Sits a lap-dog, fair to see.
To our pair this lovely sight
Is a rare and keen delight.
Each would gain the foremost place
To behold that beauteous face.
If the front is gained by Plish,
Plum looks glum and dismalish;
Then if it is seized by Plum,
That makes Plish exceeding glum.
Soon low-muttering thunders growl,
Paws scratch gravel, eyeballs roll,
And the furious fight begins;
Plum cuts dirt, his brother wins.
Mamma Fittig stands and makes
Chicken salad and pancakes, —
Those well known and favorite dishes,
Every child devoutly wishes.
Whirr! right through the window come,
Helter-skelter, Plish and Plum.
Pot and pan and stove and stew
Mingle in one grand ragout.
"Wait! you vile Plish!" Peter holloos,
And the word instanter follows
With a well-aimed blow; but Paul
Doesn't relish that at all.
"What d' ye mean, to strike my creatur'?"
Cries out Paul, and lashes Peter;
Who, inflamed with pain and passion,
Winds up Paul in curious fashion.
Now the battle desperate grows;
Each the costly salad throws,
In a frenzy, at his brother,
And they poultice one another.
In comes papa Fittig, hasting
To inflict on them a basting.
Mamma Fittig, full of kindness,
Fearing anger's headlong blindness,
Cries, "Best Fittig! pray consider!"
But her zeal for once undid her.
Her lace cap, so nice and new,
Fittig's cane has bored quite through.
Laughs the wicked Sly, "He! he!
All are done for, now, I see!"
He who laughs at others' woes
Makes few friends and many foes.
Hot and heavy the old chap
Finds, I guess, the pancake cap.
"Bad," said Sly, "as bad can be,
And this once, too, bad for me!"
 

CHAPTER VII

 
So now there sit Plish and Plum,
Very dull and very glum.
Two strong chains, and short, did hem
The activity of them.
Fittig seriously reflected:
"This must somehow be corrected!
Virtue needs encouragement;
Vice gets on by natural bent."
Paul and Peter now began
Schooling with Herr Buckleman.
At the first day's session he
Thus addressed them pleasantly:
"Dear lads, – I assure you, I am very
Glad you have come to this seminary;
And, as I hope, with all your powers
Intend to improve these precious hours.
And first, the things most important to mention,
Reading, writing, and ciphering will claim our attention;
For these are the arts by which man rises
To honor and wealth, and wins great prizes.
But, secondly, what good would all this do,
Unless politeness were added thereto?
For he who is not polite to all
Into trouble will certainly fall.
Finally, therefore, bending before you,
As you see, I entreat and implore you,
If in good faith you have made up your mind
To follow the rules I have now defined,
Then lift up your hands and look me in the eye,
And say, 'Herr Buckleman, we will try!'"
Paul and Peter thought: "Old man,
D'ye think us greenhorns? Is that your plan?"
They give no answer, but inwardly
They grin and giggle, and say, "he! he!"
Whereat old Master Buckleman
Gave a low whistle, and thus began:
"Since, then, you've resolved to be
Hardened reprobates," said he,
"I am resolved, face down, to lay
You both across my desk straightway,
Applying the stick to your hinder parts
In hopes of softening your hard hearts."
Drawing out then from beneath
His coat, like sabre from its sheath,
His good hazel rod, of stuff
Flexible and tight and tough, —
He with many a sturdy thwack
Laid it on each urchin's back.
Nay, he trounced two backs in one,
Till he deemed the work was done.
"Now then," he spoke in a tranquil way,
"Belov?d children, what do you say?
Are you content and are we agreed?"
"Yes, yes, Herr Buckleman, – yes, indeed!"
Such was the method of Buckleman;
We see the good effects of his plan.
'Twas the talk of the people, one and all, —
"Charming children – Peter and Paul!"
And so they tried it on Plish and Plum:
They too, also, to school must come.
And the Buckleman plan's applied
Faithfully to each one's hide.
Masters of Arts, they're soon approved,
And universally beloved;
And, as one might well expect,
Art shows practical effect.
 

CONCLUSION

 
One day travelling through the land,
With a field-glass in his hand,
A well-dressed man of fortune came;
Mister Peep, they called his name.
"Can't I, as I pass," said he,
"View the distant scenery?
Beauty reigns elsewhere, I know,
Whereas here 'tis but so-so."
Here he pitched into the pond,
Viewed the mud and naught beyond.
"Paul and Peter, – look and see
Where the gentleman can be!"
So said Fittig, who just then
Walked forth with the little men;
But fu'l soon it was made plain
Where the gentleman had lain,
When he, minus hat and glass,
Stood all dripping on the grass.
"Allez! Plish and Plum, apport!"
Came the order from the shore.
Strictly trained to fetch and carry, —
Not a moment did they tarry, —
Fetched the lost goods from the deep.
"Very well," cried Mister Peep.
"Nice dogs, friend, I'll buy the two;
How'll a hundred dollars do?"
Papa Fittig's head inclined:
"The gentleman is very kind."
On new legs he seems to stand,
Such a pile of cash in hand.
"Ah, you darlings, Plish and Plum!
We must part – the hour has come —
On this very spot, right here,
Where we four, this time last year,
Were united, by the pond,
In a sweet and solemn bond.
May your life in peace be led,
With beefsteak for daily bread."
Now all this was seen by Sly,
Just then happening to pass by.
"Very pleasant," mutters he,
"Yes, no doubt, but not for me."
Envy, like a poisoned dart,
Stung him to the very heart.
All before him misty grows;
Legs give way and back he goes,
Down into the oozy damp;
Quenched forever is life's lamp!
Left alone upon the shore,
Quickened by his breath no more,
Faintly gleams the expiring soul
Of the pipe within the bowl;
One blue cloud I see ascend,
Futt! the tale is at an
 
End

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