Think videogames are violent? Children’s stories may prove more terrifying.

I, said the Fly, with my little eye, I saw him die.

So-called “helicoptor parents” supervise their children constantly and moniter all the media they consume to make sure they don’t run into anything terrifying. With good reason—violent, innuendo-filled videogames and television shows aren’t appropriate for young children. But parenting wasn’t always about protecting children. A number of vintage children’s books depict scenes that look like they came out of a Kafka novel. The 19th century instructional tale Death and Burial of Poor Cock Robin depicts spiders and flies dressed in tights and coats, ready to feast on the carcass. 

Who saw him die? I, said the Fly, with my little eye, I saw him die. Who caught his blood? I, said the Fish, with my little dish, I caught his blood.

A Russian children’s book, Frights for Disobedient Children contains sayings like “You’ll fall deep inside a hole if you don’t obey your mom.” Pictures of spiders, wolves, and snakes complete the booklet’s scare-tactics. Pop psychology instructs modern parents to reinforce good behavior with praise and rewards, but perhaps some children need a good old-fashioned fright to encourage compliance. 

[via Flavorwire] [img]