AND WHO DOESN'T KNOW ABOUT THE PIED PIPER OF HAMELIN?
Now, where is Hamelin you may very well ask. Is it just a fairy tale town or is it a real place?
Hamelin is a town on the river Weser in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is the capital of the district of Hamelin-Pyrmont and has a population of 58,696 (as at 2006). Hamelin is also the gateway to the surrounding Weserbergland mountains, which are popular with hikers and bikers.
The town is famous for the folk tale of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, a medieval story that tells of a tragedy that befell the town in the thirteenth century. The version written by the Brothers Grimm made it popular throughout the world; it is also the subject of well-known poems by Goethe and Robert Browning. Although Hamelin has a fine medieval old town with some remarkable buildings, the main attraction is the tale of the Pied Piper. In the summer every Sunday, the tale is performed by actors in the town centre.
The Pied Piper of Hamelin (the Rat-Catcher of Hamelin) is the subject of a legend concerning the departure or death of a great number of children from the town of Hamelin (Hameln), Lower Saxony, Germany, in the Middle Ages. The earliest references describe a piper, dressed in multicolored clothing, leading the children away from the town never to return. In the 16th century the story was expanded into a full narrative, in which the piper is a rat-catcher hired by the town to lure rats away with his magic pipe. When the citizenry refuses to pay for this service, he retaliates by turning his power that he put in his instrument on their children, leading them away as he had the rats. This version of the story spread as folk lore. This version has also appeared in the writings of, amongst others, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the Brothers Grimm and Robert Browning.
The story may reflect a historical event in which Hamelin lost its children. Theories have been proposed suggesting that the Pied Piper is a symbol of the children's death by plague or catastrophe. Other theories liken him to figures like Nicholas of Cologne, who is said to have lured away a great number of children on a disastrous Children's Crusade. The current theory, generally accepted by scholars and historians, ties the departure of Hamelin's children to the Ostsiedlung, in which a number of Germans left their homes to colonize Eastern Europe.
Thank you Claudia for this lovely card. The story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin has enthralled children around the world for ever and ever!