The Pied Piper of Hamelin

Hamelin was a small town in Germany, and the river Weser ran on the south side of the town. It was a beautiful town but the people of Hamelin were very unhappy. The town was full of rats and they were huge and ferocious. They attacked dogs, they killed cats, stole food and bit sleeping babies. They destroyed people’s clothes and made a lot of noise.

The unhappy townspeople went to the Mayor. ’You must think of a plan to kill these rats,’ they said. ‘If you don’t, we will send you away and choose a new mayor,’ they threatened.

The anxious Mayor sent his officials far and wide to find a solution. While he was sitting in his office thinking, he heard a knock on the door.

‘Come in,’ said the Mayor.

A strange person walked in. He was dressed in a coat which was half yellow and half red. He was carrying a long thin pipe in his hand. He said to the Mayor, ’I can play music on my pipe and take away all the rats from your town. People call me the Pied Piper.’

The Pied Piper asked the Mayor for 1000 gold coins to rid the towns of rats. The Mayor agreed.

The Piper stepped into the street and began to play a tune on his pipe. At once rats came running out of all the houses. All kinds of rats followed the Piper until he came to the river. He walked into the water and the rats walked in after him. They all fell into the water and drowned.

The people of Hamelin were overjoyed. The piper, in the meantime, went to the Mayor and asked him for his 1000 gold coins.

‘A thousand!’ exclaimed the Mayor. ’I’ll give you only 500.Besides, the rats are dead and won’t trouble us anymore.’ The angry Piper replied, ‘ If you don’t pay me my money, you’ll hear me playing a different tune.’

‘Ha, ha!’ laughed the Mayor. ‘ Go ahead and play. I do not care. The rats are dead.’ The Piper once again stepped into the street and began to play his pipe. A soft sweet tune came out of the pipe. All at once, there was a sound of running feet and all the children came out of the houses. Young and old, boys and girls, they all followed the Piper. Mothers and fathers called the children but the children went after the Piper without looking back.

This time, instead of going to the river, the Piper turned towards a high hill in the west of town. As he reached the foothills, a magical door opened in the side of the mountain. The Piper walked in and the children followed. When they were all inside, the door shut.

Only one child returned to Hamelin. A little boy, with a hurt foot, who could not walk as fast as the other children was the only child left in the town.

The Mayor sent men all over to look for the Piper and to offer him as much money as he wanted. But the Piper and the children were never seen again.