Once upon a time, there was a lovely little town called Hamelin. The people of the village lived in peace and harmony for years. Harvests were good and the people prospered. There was tunes and dance from dawn to dusk. However one day, almost everything in Hamelin changed.
Thousands and thousands of rats instantly ran into the town. There were big rats and small rats, skinny rats and fat rats. The plague of monsters scratched their way into houses and swarmed through the streets. By nightfall, not just one part in Hamelin was untapped by the rats.
The plague of rats drove the townspeople outrageous. “There are rats on my desk! ” cried one man. “There are rats in my shoes! ” shouted another. Women ran from their kitchens in panic. Great black rats scurried into their shop cupboards and swarmed over their food. Kids cried and held one another. All the while rats nibbled their toys and tugged at their dresses.
Night-times were more painful. Bands of rats darted over the bedclothes and scratched on the floorboards all over village. “There are rats in my mattress! ” sobbed one little girl. “There are rats on the roof? ” shrieked her brother. Hamelin was loaded with the sound of gnawing and thousands of scuttling feet. The people put out mousetraps and prayed for the rats to go away, but nothing at all worked.
The residents of Hamelin hurried out to find the mayor. “Get rid of these mice! ” shouted the public. The mayor held out his hands in hopelessness. “What can I do? ” he questioned. “There are rats in my house as well. “
A couple of days later a stranger requested to see the mayor. The curious fellow was dressed up from head to foot in red and yellow. He was holding a fluted pipe. “I am the Pied Piper: he smiled. “I could make the rats disappear, if you pay me a 1000 silver coins. ” Although he knew this was a small fortune, the mayor agreed. He would do anything in order to rid the town of this daunting plague of rats!
“Don’t forget your promise, ” warned the Pied Piper, sweeping out of the door. The mayor watched from his window as the stranger walked across the main square. Then the Pied Piper started to play a interesting tune. Rats streamed out of the houses and stores, enchanted by the melody.
The Pied Piper travelled towards river, still playing the unusual tune on his pipe. The roads of Hamelin changed black with a torrent of deserting rats. The plague swept its way to the riverbank. Rat after rat tumbled into the waters, never to be seen again.
When each and every rat had perished, the Pied Piper came back for his payment. “I’ve nothing for you, ” announced the mayor. The foolish man sent the Pied Piper away without paying him a single penny. “Now I will perform another tune, ” promised the stranger. “And you will not be so pleased with the end result! “
The Pied Piper walked out on to the streets. He began to play a new refrain on his pipe. This tune was extremely haunting compared to previous. In all the homes and in all the streets of Hamelin, the children stopped playing. One by one, they jogged following the Pied Piper.
The people called to their children to stop, but they also didn’t appear to hear. The kids followed the Pied Piper through the town and over the river. The Pied Piper brought the captivated kids towards a great mountain. All of a sudden an entrance shown up in the rock. All the children of Hamelin skipped inside. The Pied Piper danced on, leading the kids to a wonderful land blooming with trees and shrubs and flowers.
Just one little boy did not vanish into the mountainside. the little one had hurt his leg and could only hobble on crutches. He witnessed his friends enter in the mountain, but he was too slow to follow along with them. The small kid made his way back to the village. The mayor ran up to him, his face filled with tension. “My friends are inside a mountain with the Pied Piper, ” cried the boy. “They will never return. “
The townspeople stormed into the market square. Furious parents pointed their fingers and shook their fists at the mayor. “Where are our kids? ” they demanded. The mayor hung his head in shame. “You must locate them! ” yelled the villagers. “Bring our kids back to us! “
The mayor fled the town at once, ashamed by his greed. He spent years and years roaming the mountain trails, looking for the missing kids of Hamelin. Even when he grew aged and his clothes turned to rags, he never gave up on his journey. Some say that he is still out there exploring today.
MORAL OF THE STORY - ‘The Importance of Keeping Promises’.