6 Things You Never Knew About the Pied Piper

6 Things You Never Knew About the Pied Piper

6 Things You Never Knew About the Pied Piper

Pied Piper is perhaps one of the most haunting of stories and it gets even more interesting

We’ve all heard the Pied Piper story. The Pied Piper just like the Bogeyman, is a good way to scare children. “The Pied Piper will come and get you! Be a good girl/boy, alright?”

Let us revisit the the Pied Piper story.

There used to be a small town infested with rats. The residents were fed up of the infestation. One day a young man around 30 approached the town Mayor. This man was a little strange. He wore pied clothes with different colours and guaranteed that he would make the rats disappear.

The town Mayor promised the young man a fee upon his success. The strange man then brought out a wooden pipe. Playing a tune on the pipe, he began walking on the street. Lo and behold, the mice followed him. 

The Pied Piper led the entranced mice to the river where they drowned themselves, still in a trance.

The locals watched this in astonishment. When the Pied Piper asked for his promised fee, he was denied. What he did was too easy they said, he didn’t deserve a payment for simply playing a pipe!

6 Things You Never Knew About the Pied Piper

The Piper saw red and vowed to come back and take revenge.

One fine day when all adults were at Church, the Pied Piper returned. He played the pipe and as if in a trace all the young children followed him. The adults, unbeknownst, were at church. 

The town had about 130 children. They followed the Pied Piper and disappeared forever, never to be seen again.

The Pied Piper folklore would have been your first encounter with a horror or thriller story. The Pied Piper has also seeped into movies and other series. 

Did you know though, that there is more to this story than meets the ears?

Here are 6 things you never knew about the Pied Piper

1. It is a true story

It just get’s creepier, doesn’t it?

The Pied Piper story is true, at least part of it. 

The story took place in a small German village called Hamelin in 1284. The children, all 130 of them, supposedly disappeared on 26th June, 1284.

A stained glass that stood in the church of Hamelin depicted the Pied Piper being followed by children. The church can be dated back to 1300 AD. However the stained glass perished in the 1600s. Luckily the copies of the picture survive to this day.

The Hamelin town’s chronicles also recorded an entry in 1384, it reads ‘it is 100 years since our children left.’

The second account of this story is in the Lueneberg Manuscript where it is mentioned that the man was around 30. He came on the day of Saints John and Paul, 1284 wearing colourful clothes and led 130 children away at the place of execution.

Yet another inscription on a gate reads in latin, that it (this gate) was constructed ’272 years after the magician led the 130 children from the city.’

6 Things You Never Knew About the Pied Piper
The oldest picture of the Pied Piper taken from the stained glass that once adorned the Church walls

2. The Rats Were Added Much Later

All these previous records however do not talk about the mice.

However, the town Hamelin is really infested with rats. If you ever visit this town, they have a special walking tour where you’ll find many rats!

However the original accounts of the folklore we know today has no mention of the rats being lured to their death by a Pied Piper.

The first time that the mice are mentioned in the story comes much later in the mid 16th century.

Maybe adding the mice in the story was just a way to change an actual historical event into a moral story. It would also be convenient that the town of Hamelin is really infested with vermin.

3. There were Survivors 

It is but natural that you’d ask- if the adults were at church, how could they know what happened? It is believed that three children survived the Piper’s revenge. 

Of these three children, one of them was crippled and could’t keep up with the other children, another was blind and didn’t know where to go and the third was deaf and never heard the Piper’s tune.

It is however unknown why no one informed the adults or why there was no one around to ensure the safety of the village.

6 Things You Never Knew About the Pied Piper
The crippled child couldn’t keep up and lived to tell the fail of the mysterious disappearances

4. How Did They Disappear

How the children exactly disappeared is not known. Some accounts suggest that the Piper lead them through the town’s east gate never to be seen again. Other accounts say that a mountain opened up and swallowed the children.

It all depends on the story you’ve read.


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5. Do Not Play Music or Dance on Bungelosenstrasse

According to the original account, the children were last seen on the Bungelosenstrasse street. There is an old law which forbids anyone from playing music or dancing on this street. It is a way the townsfolk pay their respects to the doomed children.

Don’t be under any false notions though, the town of Hamelin is not grieving the loss of the children, 733 years after the tragedy. On the contrary they are happily cashing in on it.

Needless to say, many enthusiasts happy flock to this small town to get a feel of the Pied Piper story.

A clock tower in Hameln tells the story and another plays the tune that the Piper would have played. Fortunately, there haven’t been any more disappearances. 

6 Things You Never Knew About the Pied Piper
The town of Hamelin, Germany

6. Interesting Thoughts and Scientific Conclusions 

The inquisitive head of sense always questions unexplainable things.

How could a piper have entranced 130 children? That’s not possible, according to the sensible, right?

There are multiple theories saying that the Pied Piper is just a story. It is however a story with a deeper meaning. Maybe a representation of what might have happened in reality.

Some people are under the opinion that the rats and children leaving fits perfectly together. They believe that the Pied Piper story is about the Black Death. The Black Plague that spread across Europe caused many people to die. Rats were also a major cause of it. However, the Black Death didn’t spread till the 1300s, and the Pied Piper story occurs a decade and a half earlier.

6 Things You Never Knew About the Pied Piper
The Pied Piper indirectly drowned the vermin, according to some stories

The other theory is that the people in Hamelin were extremely poor. They had to sell their children away or simply ask them to leave. The Pied Piper might have been the person they sold their children to.

The third theory suggests that the Pied Piper came to recruit the children for war.

The last theory is that the people from Hamelin migrated eastwards. The ‘children of Hamelin’ would then refer to the local people that left along with their families.

Metaphorically it is possible that the Pied Piper represents death. Maybe something occurred in the town of Hamelin in 1284 which lead to the death of the children. It may have been an epidemic, massacre or extreme poverty.

However it is safe to say that the missing children still live on through the tale of the Pied Piper.

The scheming theorist in me still believes and hopes that the spooky story is true.

What about you? Share your theory via a comment below.


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Post Author: Shanaya Wagh

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