A Strange Tale
The legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin has a strange and long lineage dating back to 1284. Hamelin was a little town in north central Germany and only a couple dozen miles from Hanover.
Enter the legend of the Pied Piper. It is well documented that 130-children went missing in 1284, which was 700-years prior to George Orwell's 1984. The legend is based upon the issue of a rat infestation affecting Hamelin. The legend begins with a business deal between the Pied Piper (the word pied means many colored) and the townsfolk.
The Pied Piper promises to rid Hamelin of their plague-like problem with rats for an undisclosed amount of money. The deal is done, and he goes playing an undisclosed song, which rids Hamelin of the rodents. My personal theory is that song was a musical rendition of an early version of Michael Jackson's song, Ben. Regardless of the melody, the piper rids Hamelin of all but one rat by having the rats follow him to the Weser River where they drowned.
However, the people of Hamelin reneged on their promise to pay the Pied Piper. He was more than outraged with being dissed. This time, the Pied Piper plays another undocumented tune, which I believe could have been Marching to Pretoria. The Weavers explain the song's lyrics very well.
Regardless of the tune, all the children disappear from the town. As with the rats, all but three children disappear: a lame, a deaf, and a blind child. The lame child could not follow the piper, the deaf child could not hear the piper, and the blind child could not see piper.
Now, what were the components to the loss of the rats and children? There are dozens of theories and/or themes and variation of the basic legend.
Whatever caused the legend of the Pied Piper has not been resolved nearly 750 years after the disappearance of 130 children, which occurred in Hamelin. Nonetheless, the legend remains. According to some who live in Hamelin today, when parades take place and the procession reaches Bungelosenstrasse, which is the street next to the Pied Piper's House, the music must stop until the parade passes the house and the street.
Additionally, the people of Hamelin still have a festival on June 26, which is called Rat Catcher's Day.
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