The myth of The Pied Piper

This piece folklore was gathered at the San Fransisco trauma recovery center. I met with a group of social workers and over the course of one hour we all got came together in a meeting room and in one big group we decided to go around the table and each discuss folklore from their lives. At the beginning of the discussion I gave a brief description about what folklore could be. After that everyone shared pieces of folklore from their lives.

“This is the story of the pied piper. The Piper is a man who one day just shows up in a kingdom and the king has a rat problem. The king is trying to figure out how to get all the rats to go away and the pied piper says, “Well if I play my flute and get all the rats to go away if you let me stay in your kingdom.” The king agrees but he has now idea how the piper is going to do that. Well, the piper plays his flute and every time he plays his flute the rats follow him. So what the piper does is he plays his flute  and gets the rats to all simultaneously jump off a cliff. What happens then is that the king doesn’t keep his end of the bargain and so the pied piper was supposed to get money and he was supposed to be able stay in the kingdom and when he learns he cant do that he plays a song on his flute and freezes the whole kingdom but the children and stole the children and now no one knows where they went. and now we have the story of the lender man who is this big man showering a tuxedo who is said to be seven Feet tall and he takes children.”

Background information about the performance from the informant: “This was a story I learned when I was little because my mom owned a picture book of midivil short stories and in one of them was the story of the pied piper and I thought he was really creepy and then later when I started hearing about the whole modern internet folklore Slender man it reminded me of the original story.”

Final thoughts: Again this story features a monster taking away children however this story focuses a great deal on the fears of a parent. Rather then focusing on scaring a child into saying put this story seems to be accessing the fear that parents have that their children could be taken away from them at any moment without warning. This fear is meant to teach people that they need to keep an eye on their kids and keep them safe. As such this folklore is designed for a older audience then some of the other monster stealing children tales.

Annotation: For another version of this legend read The Pied Piper of Hamelin by Robert Browning, London & New York, Frederick Warne and Co., 1910.