The Pied Piper of Hamelin

Posted by Dana on Thursday Sep 2, 2010 Under Fairytales


Once upon a time, there was a beautiful little village located at the base of a tall mountain near evergreen forests and a lovely lake. This was the village of Hamelin. Oh, what a very special little place it was. The houses were all painted bright colors, the streets were made of matched cobble stones that were as smooth as smooth can be.
It was a family town, too. Lots of children, laughter and fun filled the streets every day. The people of Hamelin were very kind and good also, but they did have one fault. They were not very clean. Bits of food were everywhere.
Kitchens were untidy and people left crumbs and scraps wherever they fell.
Very lazy and careless, if you know what I mean. A bit like those children who don’t clean their rooms, hmmmm? To tell you the truth, the people were not really concerned about it though, until they started to notice something. Rats!
Yes, all of those crumbs and scraps were attracting rats to the village and the rats were really starting to be a problem. All of a sudden, it seemed, there were rats everywhere. Big ones, too!
They were in drawers, under tables, on the stoves, in the cookie jars-why Mrs. Brooks even claimed to have discovered one in her teapot! The rats were so big, they even scared the cats! Can you imagine that? The people of Hamelin were over run and they didn’t know what to do. Finally, they all got together and decided to take the problem to Mayor Mauldin.
Now Mayor Mauldin was quite a good mayor and everybody liked him, but that really was because not much had ever gone wrong in the little town of Hamelin so the biggest part of his job was simply sitting in his office and being very Mayor Mauldin looking every day. He did that very well indeed, I might just tell you.
When the people of the town came crowding into his office with their rat problem, Mayor Mauldin was quite unsure of what he might do to get rid of the large gray pests. Finally, after lots of careful thought, he decided to contact the Mayors of other towns around Hamelin to see what they could suggest. As luck would have it, one of them had heard of a town with exactly the same problem-possibly, they were a bit messy too!
Anyway, the other Mayor had contacted a fellow known as the Pied Piper to rid his town of the rats. He told Mayor Mauldin that for a bag of brass coins the Pied Piper, a strange looking little fellow, had come into town with a magic flute. He had piped a fantastic song on this unusual instrument, and danced a wild, leaping sort of dance that made all the rats follow him right out of town. Imagine that in you will!
The other Mayor did not know how it had happened, but as soon as the Pied Piper began to play his strange instrument, the rats poured out of houses, off rooftops, out of gutters, and even out of kitchens with bits of cheese on the floor! They followed him, dancing along to his tune, out of town and were never seen again.
The Piper came back the next day for his bag of brass coins and went away with a handshake and a smile.
So, to Mayor Mauldin, the problem seemed to be solved. Except for the fact that he did not, in actual fact, have any brass coins he could see nothing wrong with the plan. Oh, well, more about that later!
Mayor Mauldin contacted the Pied Piper as soon as he could and invited him into Hamelin to do what he had done in the other village. Sure enough, two days later there he was. Indeed, he was a strange looking little fellow. He had flowing gray hair, a gray beard, and a pointy little chin and ears. He looked like nothing the townspeople of Hamelin had ever seen before, I can tell you. He carried a very strange instrument that looked like a clarinet, a flute, and a recorder all rolled into one. When he played it for the Mayor, it sounded like a funny little high-pitched whistle.
I will say to you my dears that even the little bit he played in the Mayor’s office brought the desired result. Three rats poked their noses out of the desk drawer and perked up their little ears and Mayor Mauldin was sold right then and there.
“A bag of brass coins?” asked Mayor Mauldin knowing full well that he did not really have a bag of brass coins but desperately needing to get rid of the rats so he would not loose his job.
“Agreed,” said the Piper. “A bag of brass coins it is!” They shook hands on the deal and the Mayor gave the Piper a slap on the back and a big Mayor type grin.
The Pied Piper tapped his instrument on his hand and put it to his lips. The town’s people had been looking in the window of the Mayor’s office and as he raised the pipe, they held their breath as waited excitedly. He tooted a few practice toots, looked out at the people, and began to play.
It was a sort of dance tune with a lively rhythm that made you want to tap your feet and snap your fingers. He gave a little hop, skip kind of step and out the door he went. He started down the street playing his pipe and dancing his little dance and sure enough, out came the rats.
Rats of every siz, shape and color came racing out of places you have never imagined a rat could hide. There must have been a million of them! All heard the call of the Pied Piper and all followed him up and down the streets of Hamelin: side streets, alleys, lanes, avenues, and roads-he didn’t miss a single spot in the whole town. And on the rats came. In the end, as he approached the town gate, it looked like a giant parade of rats with the Pied Piper in the lead.
As he danced out of the gate, with the rats trailing behind, the people of the town lagged along to see what was going to happen next. Over the countryside he went until he came to a very large hillock not too far from the town. As he approached, a great cave opened in the rocky bottom at its base. The Piper danced into it with all of the rats following along behind and lo and behold, the cave closed behind them all!
Well, that is the end of that they all thought. As they walked back to town they talked about what had happened and how it almost seemed to never have happened because the whole thing was so strange. But something even more strange was yet to come. As they approached town, what should they see but the Pied Piper standing at the gate.
“Well, that is a job well done, and the worker now deserves his pay,” he said.
Oh, Dear! Mayor Mauldin was in a bit of a jam. He did not have a bag of brass coins and really, and, as you will remember, he had never had a bag of brass coins at all. He had said that because it seemed the only way out at the time.
“My, my, perhaps you could come back next week and I will have your brass coins for you. I don’t remember where I put them right now because of all the fuss and bother with the rats, you know, ” he said. Again, he was taking what he thought was the easy way out. But the Pied Piper was having none of it.
“All now because I have kept my end of the bargain. Pay what you owe me now or pay the consequences,” said he in a very angry voice.
“Nonsense,” said the Mayor. “ What can a little fellow like you do to us. The rats are gone. They followed you into the cave in the hillside and they will never come back.”
“I warn you. There are some things of much more value than brass coins. This is your last chance,” said the Piper in a low and dangerous sounding voice.
The mayor only laughed. The townspeople laughed too. The rats were gone and now they could go back to life as usual-right?
Well, as you may know or remember, that is not the way things happened. The Piper looked at Mayor Mauldin sadly and began to play a different tune. It seemed jolly and lively but it also had something about it that made the townspeople want to cover their ears. Strangely enough though, just like some rock music today, the children loved it. The young people of the town came out of their houses dancing and laughing.
And just as he had done with the rats, the Piper danced and piped up and down all the side streets, lanes, avenues and roads playing his tune. The grown ups watched in amazement, unable to move, as he led all of their children out of town! He led them to the same hillock and into the same cave as he had led the rats earlier in the day.
When the people realized what the Piper was doing, they began to cry and scream.
“Our children, our children! Our wonderful children are all gone. Oh, what have we done?” they moaned.
Then, as one person, they all turned to, you guessed it, Mayor Mauldin.
“Brass coins, brass coins, we must have brass coins to pay the Piper,” he cried out in desperation.
Then the truth came out. When the townspeople found out what he had done, they were furious.
“How could you?” they all cried.
“Well, how could I know this would happen. You all wanted the rats gone and what was I to do? It was great to be Mayor when things were going well. I am happy to give the job to someone else now.” said he in a whiny little voice.
Oh, what to do, what to do. How could this problem be solved and how could the town of Hamelin get their beloved children back home.
There are many possible endings to this story boys and girls. Perhaps you could think of some of your own, but here is the one I like the best.
Then, Mayor Mauldin had an idea.
“I know what to do. Why don’t we all work together to solve this problem. I made a mistake but to be honest, we have all been part of the trouble. We have looked for an easy way out of a hard problem and that never works really. Let us all work together for a good solution.
I do not have a bag of brass coins and neither do any of you, but between all of us we could surely each give a little bit to make up the whole amount. And that, boys and girls, is exactly what they did. Each of the townspeople went home and found one, two, sometimes even three brass coins and when they all met in the town square, they had just exactly enough to fill the bag for the Piper.
Just as they had finished tying up the bag, who should appear but, you guessed it, the Pied Piper himself.
“So, you have the coins now I see. I knew that if you thought of a way to work together you could see the right thing to do. See, I have done much more than rid your town of rats. I have shown you the value of caring about each other, not looking for only the easy way out, and most important of all, I have shown you that the most important things in life have nothing to do with brass coins,” he said in a very deep sincere voice.
And, just as he finished speaking, over the hill just outside of Hamelin, came all the children. They were laughing and singing and calling out to their parents.
“Oh, Oh, what a lovely time we have had at the Piper’s party. Lots of food and music and fun,” they all cried. The parents ran to greet them and the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin had a very happy ending.

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