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The Pied Piper of Hamelin

According to the Brothers Grimm, the Pied Piper lured 130 children of Hamelin away on 26 June 1284.

The Pied Piper of Hamelin is an old German folktale about the departure or death of a great many children from the town of Hamelin (Hamelin), in northern Germany, in the Middle Ages.

The folktale tells of a Pied Piper, a mysterious wanderer, who agrees to rid the town of Hamelin of a plague of rats, for an agreed price. He enchants the rats by playing a magical flute and then leads them into the nearby river Weser, where they drown. But when the people of the city go back on their promise to pay him for his work, the piper exacts revenge by playing his flute for the town's children and leading them away into a mountain cave, which as if by magic sealed itself shut.

image: Pied Piper with children
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The story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin was popularised in German by the Brothers Grimm and in English by the poet Robert Browning (1812 - 1889) in his narrative poem of that name.

The first two verses of the poem The Pied Piper Of Hamelin by Robert Browning

Hamelin Town's in Brunswick,
By famous Hanover city;
The river Weser, deep and wide,
Washes its wall on the southern side;
A pleasanter spot you never spied;
But, when begins my ditty,
Almost five hundred years ago,
To see the townsfolk suffer so
From vermin, was a pity.

Rats!
They fought the dogs, and killed the cats,
And bit the babies in the cradles,
And ate the cheeses out of the vats,
And licked the soup from the cook's own ladles,
Split open the kegs of salted sprats,
Made nests inside men's Sunday hats,
And even spoiled the women's chats,
By drowning their speaking
With shrieking and squeaking
In fifty different sharps and flats.

 

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