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The Piper's Revenge
Author - Robert Browning

In 1284, the town of Hamelin in Germany was plagued by rats. A man dressed in strange clothes appeared at the town hall and offered to rid the town of the rats for 1000 guilders. The authorities agreed. The man began to play on a pipe and to the astonishment of the townspeople, the rats came tumbling out of the houses and began to follow him. The piper led them through the streets of Hamelin till they came to the banks of the river Weser. There, as the piper played on, the rats jumped into the river and were drowned. The townsfolk were delighted to get rid of the rats but they refused to pay the piper.
The piper left the town playing a merry tune on his pipe and the music cast a spell on the town's children. They followed him laughing and shouting till they arrived at the foot of a hill. Then a door opened in the side of the hill and when the piper and the children had gone in, closed.
Nobody ever saw the piper or the children again.
Is the story true? The people of Hamelin say it is. Some scholars say the piper could have been a labour agent sent to recruit child labour. Whatever the truth, Hamelners are proud of the legend and regularly enact the story in the streets of the city.


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