The Pied Piper of Hamlin A legend from the north of Germany
It was in the year 1284 when a strange man came to Hamlin, a town in Germany. He was wearing a coat of many colours. That is why he was called Mr BUNTING, which means Mr Colourful. He said he would free the town from all mice and rats for a certain sum of money.The citizens and the catcher came to an agreement and the citizens promised him some money.
Then the catcher of the rats took out a pipe and started whistling. A moment later all the rats and mice came out of the houses and joined the man. As soon as all the rats and mice had left the houses the catcher left the town and all the rats and mice followed him.So he led them to the Weser,a river near the town,lifted his clothes and stepped into the water. All animals followed him, fell into the water and drowned.
The citizens who were happy they had got rid of the plague didn’t want to pay the money they had promised the catcher of the rats and mice. They had many excuses why they couldn’t give him the promised money. Mr Colourful became very angry and left.
But on 26th June at 7 o’clock in the morning he appeared again in the town now looking like a hunter. He was wearing a strange hat and he had a terrible expression on his face. While walking through the streets he was blowing his pipe. And soon all girls and boys of the age of 4 and older, among them the Mayor’s daughter, left their homes and followed him. He led them to a mountain where they all disappeared.
A nanny with a baby in her arms had watched all this from a distance and reported the story. The parents ran in huge numbers to the city gates and started looking for their children. The mothers were crying and calling for their children. At once they sent messengers to all the villages in the country, but nobody had seen only a single child. All in all they had lost 130 children.
It was said that two children were late and had come back. One of them was blind and couldn’t show the others the place but remembered that they had followed the hunter. The other one was not able to speak but could point out the place where the children had disappeared.One boy escaped this destiny because he had forgotten to put on his coat and wanted to fetch it. When he came back all the other children had gone.
For a long time the street the children had passed on their way to the cave in the mountain was called the soundless street because it was not allowed to play music or dance there. Even when a bride and bridegroom were accompanied by a group of musicians to church they had to stop playing in this street in memory of the children who had disappeared.
You can still see two stones arranged as a cross at the Poppenberg Mountain in Hameln where they say the children disappeared.