THE PIED PIPER ?

The Pied Piper of Hamelin, whom you will meet in one of Robert Browning's poems, was a gaily attired and skilled musician whose playing could charm men and beasts alike. It so happened that the town of Hamelin was afflicted with a vast plague of rats, who " fought the dogs and killed the cats," and " bit the babies in their cradles," so that the Mayor and Corporation enlisted the services of the Pied Piper to charm the rodents with his music and lure them to destruction. A bargain was struck, and the Pied Piper faithfully performed his part of the contract, ridding the town of its plague by piping the rats into the river. The Mayor and Corporation, however, refused to pay the piper his money, and the latter, in revenge, lured all the children from the town, precisely as he had lured the rats, and they were never seen or heard of again in Hamelin. The term " Pied Piper " is sometimes used to denote a musician whose playing has power to charm and entrance.