Pied Piper

Dan Shane danshane at bellsouth.net
Sat Apr 20 13:40:34 CEST 2002


> I think the poem re-tells a much older legend. And the German place is
> actually called "Hameln". English-speaking people changed that to
> "Hamelin",
> because they can't pronounce it otherwise.


Indeed.  I used the English spelling since I live in America and referred to
the English language poem that most American kids have grown up with.  But
you're quite right -- "Hameln" is the German name of the real town on the
river Wessen, and the legend dates back to a real event in 1284 when most of
the children of the town "disappeared."  There are many theories about the
missing kids, from simple emigration to Transylvania (alluded to in the
poem's epilogue) to a quarantine of banishment because the children suffered
from a dread disease.


"Pied" is similar to "piebald," meaning patches of color.  This obviously
refers to the piper's unusual garment.

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