The Further Adventures of the Pied Piper
Now, you’ve probably heard that very famous story of how the Pied Piper bewitched all the rats that plagued the town of Hamelin with the music of his pipe and led all of them to the river where he drowned them and how, because the greedy elders of Hamelin refused to pay him for his services, he took away all their children but have you ever heard about how the pied piper removed a gigantic flood that had put a whole kingdom underwater.
It’s true. Everyone in that Kingdom had to live on rafts and rowing boats because their houses were so deep under the flood; even the King held court on a long barge and the Bishop preached his sermons, mostly about how the flood had been a punishment from god for the wickedness of his parishoners, upon a floating pulpit.
And because all the fields of the farmers were underwater they all had to live off fish. They ate nothing but fish all day and every day and the only reason they had milk was because the dairy farmer had had the foresight to teach all of his cows to swim although, because the cows could eat nothing but fish, their milk tasted of fish too which was not very pleasant.
One day however, who should come by, but the Pied Piper, dressed in a patchwork costume of many colours with a feathered cap upon his head and playing upon his magical pipe.
And to the amazement of all the people of the kingdom, the pied piper was not swimming through the flood but walking, with his pointy shoes, upon its surface.
In fact the piper was not just walking on the surface of the water but skipping and dancing and leaping as he played merrily upon his pipe.
“Oh help us please, Pied Piper”, said the King of the flooded kingdom calling from his barge, “Can’t you see that my kingdom is underwater and we have to live off nothing but fish and I hate fish”.
Hearing this, the Pied Piper laughed,
“Very well”, he said, “But remember that, when I do jobs for rich people I expect to be richly paid”.
“I know. I have heard about how you took away the children of Hamlyn because their parents refused to pay you but don’t worry about that”, said the king shaking his head, “For underneath all this water is my palace and in my palace is a huge storehouse filled with gold. You will get what you deserve, I promise”.
“Then I agree to help you, your Majesty”, said the piper, bowing courteously.
And then, stopping up all the holes in his pipe so that the pipe was water tight, and kneeling down upon the surface of the water he started to suck up the waters of the flood as if he was sucking water through a straw and, amazingly, as he sucked, the waters of the flood started to go down and, even more amazingly, then he sucked up so much water that he drained away the flood entirely.
And when he had swallowed all of the flood waters and the people in their boats were happily back again upon dry ground beside their houses, he turned to the king and, holding out his hand, demanded payment for his services.
“Err”, said the King, “Well, I don’t have the money here, you understand. It is all locked up in my palace store room but if you follow me I shall take you to it and you may have all the gold that you can carry”.
And so the Pied Piper followed the king into his palace and along a maze of corridors and down winding steps until, at last they came to a darkened room deep under the palace.
“In that room”, said the king, pointing into the darkness, “That is where the gold is”.
And then he handed the piper a lit candle and a sack for putting gold coins into and, because the piper needed two hands to hold those, the piper agreed to let the king hold his pipe for him.
However, when the piper entered the darkened room with the flickering candle, immediately, he saw that it was not a storehouse for Gold at all but a dungeon.
By the time that the Pied piper realized he’d been tricked, though, the King had already slammed shut and locked the door of the dungeon behind him.
“Ha!”, jeered the king, looking through the barred window of the dungeon, sticking out his tongue and blowing a raspberry, “Did you really think that I would pay money to a wandering vagabond and rogue like you. Now I have you and your magic pipe”.
Then the king skipped away along a corridor playing the pipe, although because he was no musician, he played it rather off-key.
However, the piper was not dispirited for, unbeknown to the king; round about his neck the piper always carried another magical instrument; a magic dog whistle and, when he blew into the dog whistle, suddenly, in front of him within the dungeon, there appeared a gigantic dog with fur of pure and glistening gold.
“Good boy, Tootles”, said the pied piper, rubbing the enormous dog, affectionately, between the ears in a way that made the dog smile and wag its tail.
And then, climbing upon the back of the dog, the Piper commanded him, “Tootles, break down that dungeon door”.
And rushing towards the dungeon door with its enormous head lowered, the giant golden dog, just like a battering ram, went crashing through it, shattering the wood that it was made of into splinters.
Then, using its gigantic nose to sniff out the treacherous king, the giant dog took the piper to the throne room of the palace where he found the king seated upon his throne and playing the stolen pipe for the amusement of his queen and courtiers.
“You old fool”, said the Queen, seeing the Piper enter the room and jabbing her husband in the ribs with her elbow, “The Piper has escaped your dungeon. Now he’ll take away all the children in the kingdom like he did in Hamlyn”.
“Not so, dear lady”, said the Piper, bowing and doffing his feathered cap before the queen, before, with a gesture from one of his fingers, he summoned his magic pipe to leap out of the kings hands and into his own, “For I have more than enough children. No. What I really need is someone to take care of them all”.
And then, playing a bewitching tune upon the pipe, the pied piper cast a spell over all the pretty young women of the Kingdom and, their eyes filling with the magical glow of enchantment, the women started to dance and skip and whirl happily.
Then, riding upon his dog, Tootles, the Pied Piper led all of the young women of the kingdom away to his magical mountain called Koppelberg hill; even the Kings own wife and daughter went dancing merrily behind him and then, the mountain opening up before them, the women were taken into his secret land of wonder and joy where they would look after all the children of Hamlyn and never grow old and never know a day of sadness.
Only one fair young maiden, sadly, because she had stopped to pick a pretty flower on the way, was left behind and, hammering on the mountain side she wept and begged to be let in so that she could follow her sister into the Pipers land of happiness.
Oh no, wait! That’s not how it ended, for then, hearing the young woman weeping, the Piper bid the mountain to open up again and, taking the young woman by the hand, the Pied Piper led her inside as well.
Unfortunately for the King however, all of the men of the Kingdom who had lost their wives and grown up daughters were so angry with him for trying to cheat the piper that they stormed his palace, dragged him from his throne and threw him in his own dungeon where he has been ever since.
Now if you don’t approve of my tale of a magical piper enchanting and abducting young women, well don’t blame me, blame Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, blame the Brothers Grimm or Robert Browning or any of the many others who have recounted the Piper's habit of taking people away to his secret magical land or just be content in the knowledge that all the women and children lived with the Pied Piper happily ever after.