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Pied Piper of Hamelin

Pied Piper of Hamelin

The Pied Piper is the man who rid the town of Hamelin of rats. According to a medieval legend, the north German town of Hamelin was overrun with rats in 1284. Then one day, a mysterious man in a multicolored outfit appeared and offered to take care of the rats for a fee. After the people of Hamelin agreed to the deal, the man played his pipe and led the rats out of town.

medieval relating to the Middle Ages in Europe, a period from about a.d. 500 to 1500

Afterward, the people refused to pay the piper. So he came back a short time later and once again played his pipe. This time however, it was the children of Hamelin who followed him away. He led them to a cave in the mountains, where they disappeared.

* See Names and Places at the end of this volume for further information.

Another version of the story claims that the piper led the children to Transylvania, where they founded a colony The story of the Pied Piper appears in a poem by the English writer Robert Browning.

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Pied Piper

Pied Pip·er / ˈpīd ˈpīpər/ the hero of The Pied Piper of Hamelin, a poem by Robert Browning (1842), based on an old German legend. The piper, dressed in particolored costume, rid the town of Hamelin (Hameln) in Brunswick of rats by enticing them away with his music, and when refused the promised payment he lured away the children of the citizens. ∎  [as n.] (a Pied Piper) a person who entices people to follow them, esp. to their doom.

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Pied Piper

Pied Piper the central character of The Pied Piper of Hamelin, a poem by Robert Browning (1842), based on an old German legend. The piper, dressed in particoloured costume, rid the town of Hamelin (Hameln) in Brunswick of rats by enticing them away with his music, and when refused the promised payment he lured away the children of the citizens.

In extended usage, the term is used for a person who entices people to follow, especially to their doom.

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Pied Piper of Hamelin

Pied Piper of Hamelin, legendary figure of Hameln, Germany. He rid the town of its rats and mice by charming them away with his flute playing. When the citizens refused to pay him the price they had agreed upon, he charmed away their children out of revenge. Allegedly this occurred in 1284. Among those who immortalized this legend are Goethe, Robert Browning, and the brothers Grimm.

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