The Pied Piping Lesson
One Spring time, a long time ago, the Pied Piper was strolling through the forest when a little blonde haired girl, named Pippa, ran up to him.
“You’re the Pied Piper, aren’t you?”, she said, “Oh please, please let me play your magic pipe”.
“My pipe is not a toy for children”, said the Piper, “It was given to me by the great god Pan. How old are you, anyway, little girl?”.
“I’m only 6 years old”, said the little girl, “But my father has a flute and I often play that and, when I do, he says that I play very well. Oh please, please let me play your magic pipe, I beg you”.
“Oh, alright then”, said the Piper, relenting and then, lying down beneath the shade of a chestnut tree and taking out his pipe, added, “Play little girl and let me hear how well you play”.
Then, sitting down next to him, Pippa took hold of the pipe, that was carved with all kinds of woodland creatures and, placing it to her lips, began to play and, listening to her, the Piper thought that she did indeed play it well.
“Oh yes”, he said, “You really do know how to make music. Now let me tell you how to summon the animals. When you wish to summon a bird, you must play a tune like a bird softly fluttering, circling and dancing; when you want to summon a rabbit, you play a tune like a rabbit jumping up and down and when you want to bring a horse, you play at a gallop. Now let me hear you try”.
And so the little girl played a gentle tune upon the pipe like a birds wings softly fluttering back and forth and the bird circling and dancing in the air and, when she did, little birds of the springtime started to gather round about her to listen.
“That’s good”, said the Piper, “Now play a tune like a rabbit that’s jumping”.
And so the little girl started to play a faster tune like a rabbit jumping and, when she did this, rabbits, pricking up their long ears, heard the tune and, jumping and hopping and skipping closer, gathered round about the girl to listen.
“Oh yes, that’s good”, said the Piper, “You’re really playing well. Now play like a wild horse when it gallops”.
So then the little girl played a galloping tune and, when she did this, wild white stallions came galloping towards them, through the forest, just to listen to the girl play.
“Oh that was wonderful, wonderful”, said the Piper, taking hold of his pipe again, “You really play well. In fact, you play so well that I’ve decided, I’ll be your teacher from now on and I’ll teach you all the secret songs, like the song to make a cow give milk and a hen lay eggs”.
“Oh I would love to learn those things”, said the little girl, her wide blue eyes glowing with excitement.
“Then meet me again, in the woods tomorrow at about this time”, said the Piper, “And I will teach you some more”.
Then the little girl went away, skipping; so happy that the Piper had picked her to be his pupil.
Unfortunately, a female hunter; a devotee of the goddess Diana, was nearby and she, whilst hiding behind a tree, had seen how the little girls playing had brought the forest animals near.
“Why, if I had that magic pipe”, she thought, “Then I would be the best hunter in all the world. I’d play it and then all the animals would come to me and hold still while I’d shoot at them with my bow”.
And just then, she saw the piper lying beneath the tree, yawning, begin to fall asleep and she spotted the end of his pipe sticking out of his pocket.
“Now’s my chance”, she thought, “While that pied fool is asleep”.
And then, quietly creeping closer to him, she leant forwards then, snatching hold of the pipe, ran off quickly with it into the forest.
“Ha! Ha!”, she said to herself, laughing, “How clever I am. Now I have that Pipers pipe and, with it, all his power”.
But then, a little while later, the Piper woke up and saw that his magic pipe was gone.
“Who could have stolen it?”, he wondered, “Not that little girl, I hope. She seemed like such a good little girl”.
But then he heard a loud scream; it sounded like a woman screaming and, running through the forest towards where the sound was coming from, to his astonishment, he saw the hunter in a tree surrounded by roaring, hungry lions.
“Help me”, said the woman, seeing the piper,“Make them go away, please”.
But then the Piper saw that the woman in the tree was holding his pipe.
“Hmm?”, he said, “So you’re the pipe thief”.
“Yes”, admitted the hunter, blushing with embarrassment, “But I played upon it so badly that, instead of summoning a herd of deers as I’d hoped, I summoned a pride of ferocious lions”.
Hearing this, the Piper laughed, “Well, that will teach you not to take what doesn’t belong to you”.
But then the piper, reaching into his pocket, took out a tiny lute no bigger than his thumb which he started to rub and, as he rubbed it, the lute grew larger and larger until it was the size of a normal lute, then he began to strum and pluck its strings, playing an enchanting tune that made the lions, yawning, fall asleep; their angry roaring turning to loud snores.
Now, seeing the lions fast asleep, the woman climbed down from the tree and, when she had tiptoed past them to safety, the Piper snatched back his Pipe, saying to her,
“If you want to learn to play the pipe properly; then I’ll teach you”.
And so, the next day, both the little girl and the woman came to the woods and took turns playing the Pipers magic pipe as the Piper instructed them and all the birds and animals gathered round to hear the music lesson and the beautiful music that was made.