Friday, May 24, 2013

True Fae Tale: The Pied Piper

This is one I'm looking forward to using in one of my upcoming games as I like the sense of otherworldly creep-factor that I get from the very idea of this one.  The story I've included here is pretty much the same as the one you would have heard elsewhere but it's nice to gather up all of the information in one place.  Besides, sometimes the classic tales are more terrifying than anything I could have dreamed up.  You can read more about the Pied Piper, other True Fae Tales, and other Changeling-specific articles over here.

The Pied Piper is a famous myth that may be inspired by reality.

The Pied Piper

Hamelin, Germany.
Sometime in the Middle Ages.

Some say that this was his beginning or perhaps it was his end.  Whether True Fae or Changeling at this time, who can say what inspired the tale?  Perhaps it were even a vampire whose tale was later absorbed by a True Fae to fix what it had become.  Perhaps it began as a simple cautionary tale and has no roots in history at all.  But on one day the town of Hamelin was visited by a man in pied clothing who claimed to be a rat-catcher and promised to clear the town of Hamelin from a rat infestation.

The rat-catcher went to the mayor of the town and offered to remove the rats in exchange for payment.  Upon the mayor's acceptenace, the rat-catcher used a wondrous pipe to sing the rats into following him into the Weser River where every rat but one did drown.

The Mayor, from greed or ignorance or spite, refused to fulfill his end of the deal and declared that he would not pay the rat-catcher that amount.  The man left town in a rage, promising revenge. 

On Saint John and Paul's day, the inhabitants of that town were in church when the rat-catcher returned, all dressed in green like a hunter, and played his pipe to lure the children of Hamelin into a cave, perhaps leaving only three children behind (one was lame and fell behind, the second deaf, and the third too blind to follow).

The Pied Piper began in Germany in the Middle Ages though he ventures across Europe and the United Kingdom these days.  However, in these days he never speaks though it is said that when a person makes an offer that he can fulfill under the night's sky and within earshot of a visible rat, he will appear in multicoloured clothing with only a nod for greeting before turning to fulfill his end of the deal.  He will return in expectation of payment and, if rebuffed, which happens often since the dealmaker often understands little about the deal, he will come back to exact his revenge.

Sometimes he might take what is most beloved - cleaning the street of its children though only one resident took part in the deal - and sometimes he simply sends a swarm of rats with oddly childlike faces after the deal breaker to consume them slowly.  Those who stumble onto his Arcadian Realm often find its entrance in caves or sewers, a single wrong turn landing them in his Realm, or hear the sound of music that when followed takes them there.

Oh, by the way, there is a startling historical reference connected to this.  You can read about it on the wikipedia about a reference to: "It has been 100 years since our children left."

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