Friday, February 1, 2013

52 Weeks of Fairy Tales Week #44 - The Pied Piper of Hamelin

For Week #44 of my Fifty-Two Weeks of Fairy Tale series I have decided on the tale of The Pied Piper of Hamelin.

The story of The Pied Piper of Hamelin is a short tale with an interesting history, it is worth reading some of the background on Wikipedia's Pied Piper of Hamelin Entry.  The website gives various theories about what might have inspired this story, theories from the plague in which the piper might have represented Death to the medieval Children's Crusade, and other interesting theories.

The story begins with the town of Hamelin being over run with rats.  The Pied Piper, a man dressed in a multi colored bright coat, is called in to lure the rats away with his magical pipe. The town offers to pay him an agreed upon amount for his service.  The piper successfully lures the rats away, down into a river where they all drown. The people are glad to be rid of the rats, but regret having agreed to pay the piper, so they decide to not pay him.  The Pied Pier becomes angry and promises he will be back to get revenge.

The Piper returns on Saint John and Paul's Day (In June), this time dressed in a green hunter style outfit with a red hat.  The adults of Hamelin are in church.  The Piper began playing his magical pipe and instead of rats, this time he lured away the town's children, 130 of the town's children disappeared and were never seen again.  In some versions three children were left, one that was too lame to follow, one that was deaf and couldn't hear the music, and one that was blind and couldn't see to follow, these children informed the town of what happened.  It was said that the children were led away by a piper into a mountain.


In softer versions of this story, The Piper returns the children after the villagers pay him several times the amount of money that they were originally going to pay him.  This story was first recorded on a church window in Hamelin in the middle ages, the rats were not added to the story until the mid 1500's.  Historian's and researchers haven't agreed upon what actually happened, but the story might be based in some truth, which makes it a frightening tale.   You can watch the old Disney Silly Symphonies version on YouTube which is a little nicer.  Although this tale is frightening, I enjoyed it as a child, it was an interesting tale to think about.

This tale was a prime candidate for a paper cutting, to add to my fairy tale scrap book.  Here's how it turned out.

I have really enjoyed making my fairy tale scrapbook during this series, it will be fun to use for storytelling.  When I finish my fairy tale series, I hope to start work on a bible story scrapbook that I can use with my Sunday school class, as well as paper cuttings inspired by nursery rhymes.

What crafting projects are you hoping to do in 2013?

Tomorrow (Saturday Feb. 2nd) is Groundhog Day, here are links to my posts from 2012 and 2010 about how we have celebrated Groundhog Day in the Past.

Groundhog Day 2012   Groundhog Day 2010

I am looking forward to making a special Groundhog Day treat tomorrow, but if tomorrow is anything like today was, a bright sunny very spring like day, I suspect Mr. Groundhog will see his shadow and we will have more winter yet to come, so I will be enjoying this sunshine while I can. :)

Thanks for reading!


  1. This story absolutely terrified me as a child! Perhaps if my copy had had such lovely illustrations as these I might have found it easier. I hadn't heard the 'softer' ending you describe here - it's vaguely therapeutic to know of it ;).

    I think the musical notes are an especially lovely touch for your cut-outs!

  2. I told this fairy tale to my native speakers last year and had a teaching assistant that day who was actually from Hamelin. He found it very amusing to hear the story in English, and to know that this was all I as an American knew about his town.: )

    Your paper cutting is just beautiful, and I can't wait for the Bible scrapbook that you will be starting.

  3. I had never heard of this story does sound a little least the pictures you made are adorable ;-)

    Thanks for sharing at Sharing Saturday!


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