Pied Piper of Hamelin

The Pied Piper is the man who rid the town of Hamelin of rats. According to a medieval legend, the north German town of Hamelin was overrun with rats in 1284. Then one day, a mysterious man in a multicolored outfit appeared and offered to take care of the rats for a fee. After the people of Hamelin agreed to the deal, the man played his pipe and led the rats out of town.

medieval relating to the Middle Ages in Europe, a period from about A . D . 500 to 1500

Afterward, the people refused to pay the piper. So he came back a short time later and once again played his pipe. This time however, it was the children of Hamelin who followed him away. He led them to a cave in the mountains, where they disappeared.

* See Names and Places at the end of this volume for further information.

Another version of the story claims that the piper led the children to Transylvania, where they founded a colony The story of the Pied Piper appears in a poem by the English writer Robert Browning.

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