Tobias Knopp

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Illustration (colorized) from Tobias Knopp by Wilhelm Busch.

Tobias Knopp is a rhymed picture story in three parts by Wilhelm Busch. Like many of Busch's works, Tobias Knopp features an M/m spanking scene.


  • Abenteuer eines Junggesellen (1875)
  • Herr und Frau Knopp (1876)
  • Julchen (1877)

The spanking scene[edit]

In Abenteuer eines Junggesellen, chapter Ländliches Fest, Busch contrasts two opposite parenting styles. One man named Debisch completely rejects corporal punishment (Das ist Debisch sein Prinzip: / Oberflächlich ist der Hieb. / Nur des Geistes Kraft allein / Schneidet in die Seele ein. -- translation: "This is Debisch's motto: The stroke is superficial. Only the power of the mind penetrates the soul."). His only reaction to his son's misbehaviour is to reprimand him and tell him in a stern voice to leave the room. The boy just grins as he leaves. The other man named Druff (see the quotation below) is such a firm believer in the benefits of corporal punishment that he actually regularly punishes his son before he has committed an offense -- in other words, he regularly gives preventative spankings.

Both boys end up as equally mischievous pranksters. Busch thus seems to indirectly imply that a parent's best approach might be between these two extremes, i.e. to use corporal punishment in moderation and only when well deserved.

Knopp continues on his way
And comes to another place.
There lives someone whom he knew
By the name of Meister Druff.
Druff however has this rule:
Beatings make one fresh and lively
And prove expedient when given
Ahead of the offense commited.
So for today's funfair, too,
He deems this the best for Franz.
And so Knopp hears from afar
The well-known sound of wailing.
  — Translation, unrhymed
Knopp begibt sich weiter fort
Bis an einen andern Ort.
Da wohnt einer, den er kannte,
Der sich Meister Druff benannte.
Druff hat aber diese Regel:
Prügel machen frisch und kregel
Und erweisen sich probat
Ganz besonders vor der Tat.
Auch zum heut'gen Schützenfeste
Scheint ihm dies für Franz das beste.
Drum hört Knopp von weitem schon
Den bekannten Klageton.
  — From Tobias Knopp by Wilhelm Busch.