In Russia, many years ago, there was a book parents would buy if their kids misbehaved. It was called something like “Scary Stories for Naughty Children” and the purpose of the book was to scare the kids into changing their behavior. We have translated some selections for your amusement.
If you don’t listen to your mother
The minute you step out of the house, you will fall into a pit.
Your mom and dad will go out after you
And they will fall into the same hole.
But you will not find anything
In the deep pit, the pit of darkness.
If you don’t listen to your father
Black cats will scratch you.
How can disobedient children be saved
From blood-thirsty feline claws?
You must say: “Don’t scratch, Cat!
Tomorrow, I’ll be obedient… a little bit.”
If you don’t clean your teeth, if you don’t wash with soap
You will grow up sickly and frail.
The dirty can only be friends with dirty things
That drowned themselves in the mud.
On them, dirty things grow
After them, evil dogs chase
And sometimes, they never grow up.
If you don’t put away your toys
If you leave them on the floor
Then two toothless old ladies
Will come and hide in the corner
And when you go to bed
They will get their enchanted bag
And transform your toys
Into simple laundry detergent.
When you get up in the morning, where are your toys?
In the corner, there’s nothing but your potty…
And the next time, the old women
Will stick you in their bag.
Crybaby. Such things happen.
Remember it, don’t let it be forgotten.
Neither night or day, never ever
What happens to a moody mind
Moms and dads all repeat
“Oh my sweet! Oh my sweet!”
And if the sweet little baby is crying
Just like a cube of sugar, he will quietly melt.
If you bawl and roar without end
You will be without eyes, without a face
So try and think seriously
About the consequences of your own tears.
There is nothing more troubling for parents
Than tricks during mealtimes
Tricks like when you, baby,
Eat a little, but misbehave a lot.
Porridge and soup are scattered everywhere
On the floor, your father picks up the dishes.
A spider comes and, rubbing its claws,
It whispers, “Thank you for the delicious crumbs,
You do not know, but you and I are friends.
Anything you don’t eat, I will gobble up.
Soon, I’ll be a great big spider
With great big claws upon claws
My teeth will bite into everything around
First of all – naughty little boys!”
Dad bought the boy a bicycle
The boy was greedy in his infant years
Cubes, dolls, guns and a dump truck
He never shared with anyone
One the bike, as you might guess,
He never gave anyone a ride
And he never asked anyone either
He just rode it non-stop
When he got tired of riding around the house
He went where his mother told him not to go
Then, where his father told him not to go
When he reached the forest, a wolf ate him.
If you are greedy, you will come to harm
You will also find yourself eaten by wolves.
Greedy children cannot make friends
And often lose everything they have.
Mom and Dad very often
Say, “Don’t do this! Don’t do that!”
These words are like a fanged beast
That prowls and threatens to eat me.
They say, “You can’t spin around!”
They say, “You can’t shout out loud!”
What am I going to do throughout childhood?
Remain silent and still because of this beast?
I’m not afraid of it. Not at all.
I’ll do what I want.
I’ll do as I please.
Just once, but then
I heard, “No! Don’t touch that!”
I took an iron pipe…
And fell and broke my leg.
And then the lantern set my head on fire.