Tuesday, June 26, 2012

This Day in History, June 16, 1284

I will wager that most of us have heard of the Pied Piper of Hamelin.  It is one of those old fairy tales, and I honestly thought that is all he was.  Until I did some research that suggests that on this date in 1284, the Pied Piper of Hamelin lured 130 children away, and they never returned.  There is historical evidence suggesting that there was some tragedy that caused these children to disappear, and there are a lot of theories concerning this story.

In the original story, the Pied Piper comes to the town and rids it of rats.  The town refuses to pay him what was agreed upon, and so he lures the children away with this same magic flute on John and Paul's Day (June 16).  Because there is no written record, there has been a lot of conjecture.

Possibly the Pied Piper is a symbol of the Plague (too early for the Black Plauge) or death.  Possibly the children all moved away and began their own town.  Or maybe there was a child molester who kidnapped them.  The earliest evidence was a stained glass window in the Church of Hamelin around 1300.  This window was destroyed in 1660, but there is enough evidence to know what it looked like.

Why 1284?  The town's earliest written record dates from 1384, and this record states that it is 100 years since our children were "lost."  The question is how?  A very plausible story regards Children Crusades in which children were involved in the conversion of Muslims in the Holy Land to Christianity.  Hard to say, but it is interesting to think about.

Why "Pied"?  The word means colorful/multi-colored and may denote the fact that he had patches on his clothes.  That would mean that he was poor.  Whatever the story, it is interesting to note that this story may very well have been based on historical fact.

For more information, please check out:


Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Your Ad Here