Hamelin a mystical city
The legend of the Pied Piper
The legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin dates back to 1284. He was attired in a coat of many colours and was taken to be a rat catcher, because he promised to free the town of a plague of rats and mice for a fixed sum of money.
The citizens pledged to pay him his fee, so the visitor produced a pipe and began to play. Soon all the rats and mice came running out of the houses and gathered around the Pied Piper in a teeming mass. Once convinced that each and every one followed, he went out of the town straight into the River Weser where the vermin plunged after him and drowned.
The townspeople however, now freed of the plague, regretted their promise and refused to pay the Piper, who left Hameln in a bitter mood.
On the 26th of June in that year he returned, this time dressed as a huntsman, wearing a grim countenance and a wondrous red hat. While the townsfolk were assembled in the church, he again sounded his pipe in the streets.
This time, it was not rats and mice that came out, but children! Many boys and girls older than four came running, amoung them the grown-up daughter of the mayor, to be led through the Ostertor gate and into the very heart of a hill where they all disappeared.
(Brothers Grimm, German Legends, No. 245: "The Children of Hameln")
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