The Pied Piper – II

The Pied Piper of Hamelin is one of those creepy fairy tales that has always fascinated me as a child. The first time I read, it spooked me. Never read it again after that. However, very recently, fueled by some thoughts, I googled the story and here’s what I found.

Hamelin is a town in Germany and this story is a part of a legend which spread as a fairy tale! The story was first mentioned on a stained glass window placed in the Church of Hamelin c. 1300. The earliest written record is from the town chronicles in an entry from 1384 which states:

“It is 100 years since our children left”

[The oldest picture of Pied Piper (watercolour) painted in 1592[3][4] by Freiherr Augustin von Moersperg, after the glass window of Marktkirche in Hamelin]

According to the Brothers Grimm, the Pied Piper lured 130 children of Hamelin away on 26 June 1284. Robert Browning and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe have written poems about it. However, Wikipedia (which is my main source) says “Although research has been conducted for centuries, no explanation for the historical event is agreed upon.” Eehh?!

Never mind all that, what got me interested were the hypothesis of the origin of the legend!

A William Manchester says that the Pied Piper was a psychopathic pedophile. Another one proposes that the Piper was a symbolic figure of Death and the children died of natural causes. Others suggest that the children left the town on their own maybe as a part of a military campaign, pilgrimage or maybe even the Children’s crusade. “The theory with the broadest support” Wiki says, “is that the children willingly abandoned their parents and Hamelin in order to become the founders of their own villages during the colonization of Eastern Europe….. The Piper is seen as their leader.”

The common concept is that a group of children left their families to follow someone unknown to go somewhere unknown. This symbolism of the seduction of innocent minds and the blind following of someone or something without knowing what or who sounds very familiar to me. It reminds me of the time I sang ‘Like a virgin” when I was 8 in front of my dad and got a nice whack. I am pretty sure it was not my voice!

Richard Bach, in his book Illusions says:

“The simplest questions are the most profound.

Where were you born?
Where is your home?
Where are you going?
What are you doing?

Think about these once in a while, and watch your answers change.”

Do we do that anymore? Do we even dare to do it? Or are we just going to be led by the superficial materialistic culture we have today, popularly known as Popular culture?

I think if we do not start asking Real questions, we will keep following this Piper until like mist we disappear.