Wednesday, June 26, 2013

June 26 - The Pied Piper

According to German legend, on June 26, 1284, a mysterious wanderer named the Pied Piper, dressed in multicolored (“pied”) clothing, played his magical flute and led 130 children out of the Saxony town of Hamelin, never to be seen again. As told by the Brothers Grimm, the piper had previously rid the town of a plague of rats by luring the rodents with his flute into the nearby River Weser, where they drowned. When the city fathers reneged on their promise to pay him generously, the piper took revenge by returning in hunter’s attire, entrancing the town's children with his flute, and luring them to a mountain cave, where they disappeared. The legend is apparently based on an indiscernible event, recorded in the 15th century, in which 130 children were “seduced” and “lost at the place of execution.” Theories include an epidemic, natural disaster, emigration to the east, a Children’s Crusade, or the work of a pedophilic killer. The piper may be regarded as a figure in the Dance of Death (or Totentanz), and may be the source of the phrase “pay the piper.”

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