“It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…” For generations of children, the opening phrase to this song is a beckoning call for children to learn about the world and receive a gentle lesson in behavior and morality from a “friend.” This call first came from Fred Rogers in his show Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. His lessons and educational goals continue in its current version, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Daniel Tiger maintains the tone and themes of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, following the rule that children are to be respected. The current show reaches children in 180 countries. But children’s fairy tales and verses haven’t always taught these lessons in such a kind way. Historically, children were frightened into good behavior with the threat of physical harm, monsters, or emotional damage. Read on for some of the most terrifying entertainment and morality lessons from historic children’s books that seem like ‘adult horror’ today.
The Three-Clawed Arm of Honor
Inuit children who took things that didn’t belong to them heard the tale of the Kukilingiattiaq. This nightmare fuel is a cautionary story to stop children from stealing or looking through other people’s things without permission. In an effort to teach children honesty, respect, and honor, they were told about a terrible beast. The Kukilingiattiaq is a hidden creature, lurking in the shadows, until it spots a thief. When it does, its three-clawed hand snaps out of nowhere and holds on to the thief. It will hold the thieving child until someone comes along to see the crime. The fear of a real-life jump-scare and being held in place by a terrifying, hidden beast is a chilling thought, perhaps making some children think twice about stealing.