November 19, 2008

Hamlin seeks new ‘Pied Piper’ for rats

Officials in Hamlin, Germany -- the city known as the setting of the Pied Piper legend -- said life is imitating myth as the town is being invaded by rats.

Hamlin town spokesman Thomas Wahmes said a makeshift trash dump at the edge of town has become a real refuge for the vermin ahead of planned festivities for the 725th anniversary of the town's founding, The Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday.

He said the trash heap is serving as a takeaway food center for the rats.

The town's rat problem echoes the infestation of The Pied Piper of Hamlin legend, which postulates a pipe-playing man rid the town of rats by playing a song that led them out of Hamlin in 1284. When the townspeople refused to pay for his services, the piper is said to have played a second tune that led 130 children out of the city, never to be heard from again.

Famous versions of the legend have been penned by the Brothers Grimm and Robert Browning.