The Pied Piper





The following instance is so extraordinary, that I should not repeat it

if the account were not attested by more than one writer, and also

preserved in the public monuments of a considerable town of Upper

Saxony; this town is Hamelin in the principality of Kalenberg, at the

confluence of the rivers Hamel and Weser.



In the year 1384, this town was infested by such a prodigious multitude

of rats, that they ravaged all the corn which was laid up in the

granaries; everything was employed that art and experience could invent

to chase them away, and whatever is usually employed against this kind

of animals. At that time there came to the town an unknown person, of

taller stature than ordinary, dressed in a robe of divers colours, who

engaged to deliver them from that scourge, for a certain recompense

which was agreed upon.



Then he drew from his sleeve a flute, at the sound of which all the rats

came out of their holes and followed him; he led them straight to the

river, into which they ran and were drowned. On his return he asked for

the promised reward, which was refused him, apparently on account of the

facility with which he had exterminated the rats. The next day, which

was a fete day, he chose the moment when the older inhabitants were at

church, and by means of another flute which he began to play, all the

boys in the town above the age of fourteen, to the number of a hundred

and thirty, assembled round him; he led them to the neighbouring

mountain, named Kopfelberg, under which is a sewer for the town, and

where criminals are executed; these boys disappeared and were never seen

afterwards.



A young girl, who had followed at a distance, was witness of the matter,

and brought the news of it to the town.





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