The story about Anna Louise and Anton begins in Berlin and describes their honest friendship. Even though they belonged to different social layers, Anton was from a poor family and Anna Louise from a rich one, they would spend time together every day.
Anton had to earn money after his mother got ill. He learned how to cook, clean and sell black and brown laces on the Weidendammer Bridge. On the other hand, Anna Louise was from a rich family. Miss Bettina took care of her. Despite having everything, Anna was never a stuck up. She was cheerful and had a big imagination but she never tried to stand out and pretend she was better than everyone else.
She also had a kind heart and tried to help others. It can be noticed in her attempt to help women raise money which she actually gave to her husband. Anna Louise faked to be a pauper and she exposed herself to a lot of danger until Anton didn’t see through the women’s lies. He first told all about it to her housekeeper and gave detail instructions on how to protect themselves from a burglar. It all ended up well and the housekeeper Berta was rewarded for her courage. Anton was also rewarded by mister Pogge who gave his mother a job.
This is a story about a rich and a poor family that faces everyday obstacles in child upbringing. We have Anton’s life on one hand. He had trouble due to his mother’s illness and on the other hand, we have Anna Louise whose mother didn’t pay enough attention to her.
The story comes to a happy ending. Mister Pogge decided to take a matter to his own hands and made the best decision for both of the families. He hired Anton’s mother and allowed his little Anna Louise to spend time with her friend and he didn’t let his wife have a vote on it because she was never really interested in upbringing her daughter.
Theme: unbreakable bond between Anton and Anna Louise
Idea: how Anna Louise managed to help her poor friend Anton
Place: Berlin, Anna’s house, Anton’s house, taphouse, the bridge
The author got inspired to write this work after reading a short article in the newspaper. It wasn’t a theft of an idea because he cut out the article, placed it in his curiosity cabinet and later on created a book out of it.
Is the story true or false, it’s up to the reader to decide but every story is true if it could have happened the way it was written. It is the law of the art. The one who understands, goo for him, and the one who doesn’t will go through any harm.
In the first chapter, the reader is introduced to many characters. There is principle Pogge and his wife, Anna Louise, housekeeper Berta…
When principle Pogge came home he found Anna standing in her room. He wasn’t quite sure at first what she was doing but then he realized she was acting the way actors do in theaters. He laughed loudly and when Anna saw him she ran away. He went to his study to read while smoking a cigar.
Anna’s full name was Anna Louise. She lived with her parents in a big apartment. The place was so big that she would get hungry while trying to reach her room. There were about a dozen rooms in the apartment.
It was lunch time and mister Pogge asked Berta what she had made for lunch. She said that it would be better to wait for his wife to come home. Pogge got angry at her and told her to serve lunch immediately. She brought out the soup. Pogge started eating when he noticed Anna looking at him. She was wearing her father’s coat and a pillow underneath it. She also had Berta’s hat on her head and she was pretending to be a scarecrow. After walking around the table she asked her father to show her his but ticket and he told her that the minister of traffic doesn’t need a ticket. The nursery governess came to Anna and took off the silly clothes off of her so that she would look like a normal child again.
Pogge asked Anna about her day in school but she didn’t want to answer him. He proceeded to ask her some math questions and she had many wise answers. Her dog was also at the table and he placed his paws on it when Berta brought out chicken and rice. Anna put him down on the ground saying she would enjoy having a twin sister. She narrated how everyone would look at the with joy in school and her governess commented that twins almost never look the same. Anna kept insisting that no one could tell the difference between her twin sister and her.
Pogge couldn’t listen to Anna’s fantasies anymore so he told her to stop talking. She did it and looked at her dog until he didn’t leave the room.
After eating the chicken and the rice, her mother came home. She didn’t care much about her husband and child. She was always in a bad mood and that day it was the same. She joined them for lunch. Instead of apologizing for arriving late, she reproached them about starting the meal without her. Mister Pogge didn’t feel like listening to her so he went to take his medication. His wife reminded him about their upcoming visit to consult Ohlerich. Pogge went back to his study and Ann followed him. They had a short conversation which was interrupted by the chauffeur coming to pick up Pogge.
Miss Pogge had a terrible headache after finishing her meal so she asked Berta and the governess to take Anna and her dog out so that she could rest.
When the governess came to Anna’s room she was pretending to be the Little Red Riding Hood with her dog. He wasn’t a very good wolf because he hid under the bed when Anna asked him to devour her. She was a bit disappointed with his acting. The governess got Anna ready to go and visit Anton. She left her there with Anton because she wanted to go dancing with her fiancé.
Anton made Anna lunch. His mother was ill so he had to take care of the cooking. He made potatoes and told Anna all about his mother. She was a governess by profession and he was hoping she will get well soon. Anna commented that her mother never does anything.
Except for potatoes he also made scrambled eggs and explained Anna how to make them because she didn’t know a lot about cooking. He allowed her to help him and then he took her to the bedroom where his mother was so that she would make them company while they were eating. Before doing that he warned Anna not to tell his mother that she looks pale and ill.
She was very nice with his mother, miss Gast. Their financial situation didn’t bother Anna because she enjoyed spending time with Anton. They told his mother about the day they met. Miss Gast loved talking to them but she told them to take Anna’s dog for a walk. The kids said goodbye to her and miss Gast gave Anton some money to get his hair cut.
They went to the barber shop and they had a lot of fun. Anna told Anton that she sometimes made up new words and he found them to be interesting. The dog made a lot of stops along the way so they were moving slowly. Anton started waving his handkerchief in front of him and the dog, thinking he had something to eat, started walking quickly to catch up with them. Anna suggested they play a laughing game. She said one sentence and he had to repeat it after her until they burst into laughing.
In the barber shop, Anton said how he wanted to get his hair cut. The barber asked if Anna would also like a haircut but she said that she was only her to make Anton company. She was a bit bored so she pretended she was giving her dog a haircut. Anton tried to keep a straight face but he couldn’t help laughing. The barber observed Anna and came to a conclusion he wouldn’t last more than two days with her. she was a vivid girl with a wide imagination.
When another customer walked in Anna asked him if he knew how to sing. She told him it would be really nice if the four of them singed a song. He didn’t say anything and then she asked him if he can do a headstand. He responded that he can’t in a rude tone. She stopped bothering him and told Anton that grownups don’t know how to do anything but still demand the young people to know everything.
Anna didn’t care much for the man’s tone so she proceeded to talk to Anton. She said that her tooth was coming out and Anton gave her some suggestions on how to pull it out using a thread. She was getting really bored and she told the barber to hurry up a bit.
After leaving the barber shop she asked Anton if he had a hard time getting his haircut and he told her no and also said he won’t be taking her there anymore. Anna wasn’t offended by his response.
While they were crossing a bridge Anna asked about his mother’s illness. He told her that she had something which the doctors had to remove so that she would die. Anna started joking and Anton explained that the thing was made out of skin and tissue. Anna started pretending that she also had something growing in her organism and thought it was a tree. Anton told her it was probably a bird.
The governess spent time with her fiancé at a tap house. They were dancing. her fiancé was very strict with her and they’ve been together for fourteen years. He loved to give her commands and treat her bad.
When Anton and Anna came to the tap house, the fiancé Robert pretended to be well behaved but even the dog didn’t like him. Anna gave him a nickname and the governess was worried Robert will reproach her about it. Robert told her to let the kids be kids. The music started and the two of them went dancing while the kids were at the table. They kept on talking about how rude Robert was.
They went home and the governess reproached Anna about her behavior. She was insulted and started to go faster. When they came home and then they stumbled upon a boy who was always mean to Anna and asked her for money. Anton told Anna to go inside and then he slapped the boy two times. He warned him about his behavior and how he will get more than two slaps if he ever messes with Anna again. Anna heard it and she was proud of her friend for protecting her.
Governess stumbled upon Berta and she asked her why Anna was so pale and had big eye bags. She also didn’t want to get up in the morning. The governess said it was all a part of growing up and that it would be good for her to drink oil. Berta didn’t like her response and told her to keep an eye on the girl because otherwise, she will get in trouble. She also said a few mean things and the governess stormed out because she didn’t want to listen to her anymore.
Anna managed to pull her tooth out. She was very proud of herself even though she was in a lot of pain. She ran to tell her governess about her success.
Anna noticed her governess was acting weird lately. She hid something from her and Anna wanted to know the cause of her strange behavior. The governess wanted to know on which day Berta didn’t work and Anna said that she had a day off the next day.
In the evening, Anna’s parents dressed fancy to go to a dinner. They kissed her goodnight and left. Anna and the governess were alone. She went to get a dress for Anna and then she got dressed too. The only thing missing were some glasses and then they sneaked out together so that Berta wouldn’t hear them.
After a few moments, Berta came knocking on Anna’s doors but no one answered. She thought the girl was asleep and then she fed the dog.
Anna and the governess were selling matches at the bridge. Anton was doing the same thing on the other side, but he was selling laces. The governess was gathering money for her fiancé and Anton was raising money to pay for rent and food.
The governess pretended to be blind and Anna asked the people passing by to buy the matches because her poor mother was blind. When they gathered a lot of money Anna suggested they give it to Anton. The boy who bullied Anna came and she was scared they will be exposed. When Anton spotted Anna he came running towards her. He hit the boy with his foot and then the boy ran away.
The governess asked Anton to join them and Anna in a restaurant. Anna was very happy and she held the governess hand so people wouldn’t realize she can actually see. Anna gave Anton some money to help him out. They went to a tap house and there were many strange people but Ana actually enjoyed it. There were also many drunk people but Anna didn’t mind them.
Anton yawned and said he once fell asleep in math and that the teacher said he will write a note to his mother about his behavior. Anna listened to him and asked him whether the teacher knew about his mother’s illness. Anton said that he would never say anything about his situation to a teacher.
Anna asked the governess to order something to eat. Anton asked Anna about the money she gave him. Anna explained that, since the governess was giving her boyfriend the money, she saved some for herself. She proceeded to talk about the governess and her drinking. She also told him that she saw her governess hiding some drawing for her and when she described him Anton knew they were apartment blueprints. Anna didn’t know why she needed them and she had no clue why they were selling matches on the bridge if the governess gave the money for alcohol. Anton advised her no to go with her governess to the bridge because if her parents find out about it, they will be furious. Anna wasn’t very concerned about it.
She showed him the tooth she pulled out the other day and she kept him because she didn’t know what to do with it. When they were saying goodbye Anna said they will see each other the next day. The two of them managed to sneak into the house without anyone noticing they were away. Anton still had to do some calculations. He counted his money, checked if his mother was asleep and check if everything was alright in the apartment. He was dead tired when he reached the bed and he only thought about his exam the next day and the number of laces still had.
Anna decided to go to Anton’s house to tell his professor about his situation at home and his sleeping in class. Her driver came to her school and took her to Anton’s. She went to the teacher’s lounge and asked for Anton’s teacher.
When he came, she explained Anton’s behavior and how his mother had surgery which forced Anton to take care of her and gather money for rent. The teacher didn’t know about it and thanked Anna for telling him. He decided not to write the note to his mother or reproach him about his bad homework. Anna thanked for his understanding and asked him not to tell Anton about their conversation.
Miss Gast’s birthday came but Anton completely forgot about it. He didn’t do it on purpose. When he came home his mother was at the door waiting and he was happy because she was feeling better. They had lunch and his mother waited for him to wish her a happy birthday.
Instead of doing so, Anton talked about his day at school. She filled up his plate, ate, and didn’t speak a word. When he asked her if something was wrong she told him to finish his meal and write his homework. Miss Gast left the apartment and came back with flowers. Anton noticed the flowers and noticed his mother gazing out the window. After a while, she asked Anton which dates it was and then he saw it was April 9th. He remembered her birthday and realized why he got up to prepare them a meal. He was so embarrassed that he decided to leave his home. Anton spoke to her and asked her if she called for him but she didn’t say anything. Miss Gast just stood by the window. Realizing he had done so much for her, she went looking for him but he was nowhere to be found. She went out on the street to look for Anton.
She encountered Anna in front of her building. Her governess was in the tap house again so Anna wanted to spend some time with Anton but he was still nowhere to be found.
The two of them went searching for Anton while he was buying chocolate and a birthday card for his mom. When he bought everything he went back to the apartment. Anton thought he could ring the doorbell to surprise his mother but when he didn’t know the apartment was empty. He was worried and started crying in front of the apartment because he thought it was all over.
Anna and Miss Gast were tirelessly looking for him in stores, bakery shops, streets, and parks. No one saw him and they were getting desperate. Anna thought he’s maybe in the house, hidden somewhere. When they reached their home, Anna recognized Anton’s crying. Miss Gast ran to hug him.
Anna joined their little party. Miss Gast made coffee and they talked about Anton’s act. After the afternoon party, Miss Gast wanted to get some rest so she asked the children to go out and play. Anton told Anna he will remember that day for the rest of his life.
The boy who bullied Anna stumbled upon her father, mister Pogge, while he was coming home one evening. He told him that his coat was dirty, wishing he’ll make some money. Pogge rewarded him for cleaning his coat, even though it was clean before. The boy told him he knows Anna’s secret. Pogge stopped for a moment and the boy said that the secret has its price. Pogge was naïve and said that he will give him the money after he hears the big secret.
The boy agreed and he told Pogge to pretend to go to the theater tonight and stay in front of the house to see the green devil. He was referring to the governess and Anna sneaking out of the house in the middle of the night.
Pogge was getting ready to go to the theater and before he and his wife left, they gave Anna a kiss goodnight. The governess was just reading her the fairy tale of Aladdin. Pogge didn’t think it was appropriate to read that book before bedtime but the girl said she has strong nerves.
It was raining outside. Miss Pogge was just getting into the car and Pogge told her to give him his ticket and that he will catch up with her in a cab. He lied that he left his cigarettes in the house, which he never used to do. She believed him, gave him his ticket and left in the car.
Mister Pogge was standing, hidden behind a tree and he was observing his apartment. He wasn’t thrilled about standing out in the rain and he was concerned someone might see him and think he’s a stalker.
He noticed that the lights in Anna’s room went out and he saw the doors opening. Pogge saw a woman with a child. They were dressed strangely and walked fast to the bridge. He followed them and then they started slowing down as they were getting closer to the bridge.
Pogge observed the events which took place on the bridge. He saw a child reaching her hands towards a stranger and it looked familiar to him because he saw Anna doing the same thing while mentioning matches. He realized that he was looking at his daughter pretending to be a beggar. He couldn’t believe his own eyes. The child was really his daughter and the woman by her side was her governess.
A guard approached him and asked him to stand on the sidewalk and not the road. Pogge asked if it was allowed too little girls to beg for money on the street. He told him that the little girl’s mother was blind and that they spent every night on the bridge. Pogge was getting more and more upset. Right in that moment the boy appeared and told Pogge that Anna’s friend, Anton Gast, was begging on the other side of the bridge. Pogge didn’t know how Anna got associated with a poor boy.
The boy tried to blackmail Pogge one more time by threatening to tell everyone about his daughter begging on the bridge. He got slapped for it and he ran away.
Pogge pondered upon what to do next and he decided to take a cab to join his wife. He thought it was the smartest thing to do.
In the meantime, Anton spotted Robert, the governess’s fiancé, on the bridge. He passed right by him so Anton decided to follow him. Robert came to his fiancée, kicked her in the ribs and took her keys. Anton didn’t know what Robert was doing so he went to the first restaurant, looked under the letter “P” in the phone book and dialed.
Berta had her day off and, since it was raining, she stayed inside and drank a cup of coffee. The phone rang. Anton called to warn Berta a burglar was coming into the house. He explained it was the governess’s fiancé. Berta thought the boy was playing a prank on her but soon she realized he was telling the truth when she couldn’t find the governess or Anna in their rooms.
She armed herself with wooden cones Anna kept in her room and waited for the burglar. She also called the police to come as soon as possible because a burglar was coming her way. they took her call very seriously and sent a patrol right away.
She and the dog waited for the burglar. Berta hit him over the head and he fell down. She was only hoping the police will come soon. When he was coming to his senses Berta hit him one more time just to make sure he won’t attack her. The police came and they found Robert on the ground and the apartment’s blueprints, keys and a gun in his possession.
Berta made coffee and asked the policemen to stay until the owners of the house, the Pogge’s, don’t come back. They accepted and the dog was guarding Robert.
Pogge came to his wife and told her that they are leaving. She was enjoying a lovely opera “La Boheme” and she didn’t know what her husband wanted. Miss Pogge felt uncomfortable because he was dragging her out of the theater and she felt bad about wasting the tickets because they were expensive. If Anton had the money they gave for the tickets, he could pay rent and live peacefully for a while with his mother.
Mister Pogge ordered his wife to get up and she found his behavior odd. First Miss Pogge hesitated but when he grabbed her hand, she was sure something had happened. Her shoes were ruined because of the rain and she still had no clue about the night Pogge had. They took a cab to the bridge and Pogge only thought how the governess had the audacity to make his child beg on the bridge. Pogge was furious.
When they reached the bridge, Pogge showed his wife the child begging and selling matches. Then the woman realized it was her Anna. She couldn’t believe her own eyes, so they came closer. Miss Pogge ran to her daughter that was kneeling on the ground. She hugged her and Anna got scared. It was like in a movie. People were watching them and mister Pogge was so furious that he violently took off the governess’s glasses. Miss Pogge got more scared and the governess became pale. The guard came and mister Pogge asked him to arrest the governess because she exposed their child to harm.
Governess begged them not to arrest her and she managed to run away. Pogge wanted to go after her but there were too many people and he lost her. Anton came, placed his hand on Anna’s shoulder and asked her what was going on. She told him everything and asked him to stay with her because that way she will be more peaceful. While her father talked to the guard, Miss Pogge saw her daughter talking to Anton and she pulled her closer. She told Anna she had nothing to discuss with a poor boy and Anton got offended. He explained he was a good boy and that he would even talk to her if she wasn’t Anna’s mother. Pogge heard the conversation and justified his wife’s behavior.
Anna asked Anton if he will go with them but he said he had to go and be with his mother. They agreed on seeing each other the next day and her parents allowed it. Her parents demanded an explanation and Anna gave them one. She said she went begging with her governess because her fiancé was always running out of money. Miss Pogge sighed. Anna found the situation tense and fun without realizing her parents were really worried about her wellbeing.
It was cheerful at the Pogge’s residence. Berta was dancing the tango with the policemen to pass the time until the Pogge’s didn’t return. When they saw them dancing they were astonished and Anna didn’t pay much attention to it. Her dog came running to her and mister Pogge asked Berta for an explanation.
She told them everything starting with how the rain made her stay inside, how Anton called to tell her a burglar was coming and then she said how she hit Robert with the cones and she finished with the policemen dancing the tango with her. Mister Pogge was speechless and he was very proud of Anton who helped them all in a time of need.
Miss Pogge had a terrible migraine and she asked Berta to put Anna to bed. Mister Pogge actually did it. He wanted to talk to Anna and tell her not to do things like that again because she was getting them worried. He also explained that he was often absent due to his job and that he has to make money. Anna told him that her mother didn’t pay enough attention to her despite not having a job. Her father knew it, but he couldn’t do anything about it. Pogge only asked his daughter to always speak the truth and Anna promised to do so.
The next day, when school finished, Anna was waiting for her driver but instead, her father came to pick her up. He had more time to spend with his daughter. Anna wanted to eat some cake in the nearby pastry shop but he suggested something even better. He wanted them to go to pick up Anton at his school. Anna loved the idea, kissed her father and waited cheerfully for Anton in front of his school
Mister Pogge was still amazed by Anton’s act of alerting Berta so he let him sit next to the driver. Anna also mentioned that Anton knows how to cook and that there wasn’t a thing he didn’t know how to do. They went to get some cake together, even though the doctor had forbidden Pogge to eat a lot of sugar. Anton wanted to go home to his mother but Pogge stopped him and said he will let his mother know where he was.
Anna asked Anton if his teacher reproached him about his homework. Anton said that he didn’t say anything and that their relationship improved lately.
It was lunch time and the three of them were very late. Miss Pogge didn’t like it and she was worried about finding another governess. Pogge remembered something, talked to Anna and then he just left. The others proceeded with their lunch without talking much and after the kids went to Anna’s room to play. While they were having fun, Pogge was coming up with ways to tell Mis Gast he wants her to be their new governess.
The kids played “The Discovery of America” with Anna’s dog. The table turned upside down was their boat. They filled it with food and pretended they were on a sailing. There was a strong wind so they had to stop at Rio de Janeiro. It was a fun game and it became more fun when Miss Gast appeared. They cleaned up the room and went to hear the good news.
While they were playing Pogge and his wife talked about the future governess. Pogge respected Anna’s wish to be Anton’s friend and he was glad she wasn’t concerned about the difference in their financial situation. He also told his wife she didn’t take good enough care of their daughter and that he wanted Miss Gast to be the new governess. Pogge didn’t even let his wife argue with him. He spent too much time ignoring his daughter and he had to change something.
Pogge told Anna Anton and his mother will be living with them. They will be taken care of because Miss Gast will be receiving a solid paycheck and then two of them will be able to spend much more time together. Anna was more than pleased with her father’s decision.
Characters: Anna Louise, Anton, Mister and Miss Pogge, Berta, the governess, Robert, drivers, barber, policemen
Anna Louise was a cheerful little girl that loved to invent new words and play with her friend Anton. She didn’t make a difference between the two of them just because Anton didn’t have a lot of money like she did. After Anton told her how ill his mother was, Anna decided to help him. She explained his situation to his teacher, who was giving him a hard time. She explained that Anton had many obligations and that he was taking care of his mother so that the teacher would cut him some slack. From that day forward, Anton had a better relationship with his teacher. He never found out what Anna did for him because she was humble and didn’t have the need to tell him about it.
Despite Anton’s poverty, Anna loved spending time with him. She entertained him in his hardest days and he defended her when a boy was bullying her. Anton was really and truly her best friend.
In the end, everything was well, when Pogge decided to hire Anton’s mother. Anna loved his decision because she was able to live with a friend she truly loved and respected.
Anton was a hard-working man from a poor family. He lived with his mother and took care of her when she got ill. Anton even did his best to learn how to cook just to make it easier on his mother. He never said it was hard for him or complained about the way he lived. He believed his mother will get better soon. Anton tried to make some money selling laces on the bridge and Anna gave him some of her money.
Anton showed his courage when he slapped the boy who was bullying and blackmailing Anna. Except for courage, he showed true love and respect for his best friend. He believed Anna didn’t deserve to be bullied by some boy. He also threatened to the boy saying he will receive more than a slap if he ever comes near Anna again.
His courage surfaced once more when he warned Berta about a burglar coming to their home. He explained how she can defend herself and she managed to do it with wooden cones. When Pogge heard Anton saved them from getting robbed, he decided the only fair thing to do is help his mother and him by hiring Miss Gast.
Erich Kästner Biography
Erich Kästner was born in 1899 in Dresden, Germany. He had the title of one of the best children author.
He went to school in Berlin and Leipzig where he studied German and Roman languages and he also had a master in philosophy.
He always wanted to become a writer but he became an author and a journalist. He was a novel writer, script writer, play writer and a poet.
He became famous by the book Emil and the detectives that were his first book. He wrote it when he was 29. It has been translated into many languages and also some movies were filmed by it.
From his other novels, we have Emil and the Three Twins, Lottie and Lisa… He died in 1947.