The Pied Piper
Ah the little town of Hamlin, there are not many who know where it's at,
but as the story goes, Hamlin was infested with an evil horde of rats.
"We have tried everything to be rid of these rats", the townsfolk wailed
"But all for nothing, all of our greatest minds, and many plans have failed".

Then entered a strange man all  dressed in robes of a depthles black.
This stranger leaned against a stack of bricks and said "let me give it a whack."
A man in the crowd asked, "Who is this stranger that leans on our bricks?"
Then another joined in, "get rid of the rats, there must be some tricks."

The stranger then stood, "you will be rid of the rats, for The Pied Piper am I"
"There is no trick merely a minimal fee", the piper said in a voice oh-so-sly.
"A fee, how much will we pay to be rid of the rats", cried the voice of the crowd.
The piper most humbly replied, " Not much. For you see, I am not proud"

The piper's fee: a pouch of gold, a hot meal, and a horse to get him down the road.
The townsfolk were shocked, the proposal was not outrageous or dramatically bold.
So their bargain was struck " get rid of these rats and you shall have all of that."
At this the piper smiled, and with a little flute began playing a song to the rats.

The dirty creatures came from deep inside the town's cracks, and went to the handrails.
They formed ranks in the streets from the points of their noses to the tips of their tails.
The piper then marched his rag-tag army of rodents out to the edge of the little town,
up into the mountains, to the top of a cliff, where he made them dive down down down.

The piper was prompt as a clock, he returned to the town in the morning of the very next day.
But the townsfolk became corrupted by greed, they had decided to refuse the piper his pay.
With a dark rage the piper did warn, " deny me my fee and it will certainly and dearly cost you," 
"I will take away from you your future, then this town will die and never see anything new!"

Then in a flourish of black and a grey cloud of smoke the piper seemed to simply disappear.
The townsfolk were scared the dark stranger's words had left them all quivering in fear.
For weeks the townsfolk kept a vigilant watch through bright day and through dark night,
but no monsters were sent by the piper and thus the townsfolk forgot about their fright.

They laughed and scoffed, "It must not have been more than merely an idle threat,"
" our vigilance has not seen piper's vengeance, twas no more than hot air I just bet."
The watches were stopped and the townsfolk prepared for winter's first freeze.
It was now that the piper would choose to come collect on his fees.

During this first freeze darkness, like a thick-warm blanket, fell over the land.
The vengeful piper crept silently out of the mountains to play his dark hand.
When the town was aslumber there came a faint-soft sound, that of a flute,
It sang to the children, but to their parents the piper's instrument was mute.

Hamlin's young formed ranks in the street and marched out of town as had the rats.
The following morning herd cries of," where are our children? where are they at?"
The townsfolk searched around the little hamlet of Hamlin for the rest of that day.
At dusk a weary father said with a sigh, " the piper must have come for his pay." 

That night Hamlin, like the townsfolk's hearts was covered in a thick bitting frost.
Because of their pride the parents wept, due to greed their children were lost.
Without the vibrant energy of youth, the little town of Hamlin soon dried up and died. 
The towns folk simply could not save it no matter how hard they would try.

Hamlin is no more, but it is said that the hills still ring with children's laughter,
a ghastly reminder that it is better, by far, to pay before rather than after.

Elton4562   Elton4562 wrote
on 4/28/2010 4:31:30 PM
Hey, Interesting version of the old classic. My father read the Browning version to me as a child and then I read it to my daughter. Elton

writing John_Drydin
"History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it" ~Winston Churchhill~
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an old morality tale revisited