Hamelin was a beautiful town in Germany. The people who lived there were happy.
Then, one day, rats came to Hamelin in their hundreds!
There were brown rats, black rats and grey rats. There were small rats, large rats and giant rats.
“How dreadful!” said the people.
“How dreadful!” said the mayor.
“Do something!” demanded the people.
“But what?” the mayor asked. He didn’t know what to do.
Suddenly a man spoke up. “I am a rat catcher. I have a magic pipe, and the rats will follow me.”
“We will give you a thousand marks,” said the people.
“Five thousand marks,” said the mayor.
“A thousand marks is enough,” said the rat catcher.
The rat catcher began to play his magic pipe. He left Hamelin, and the rats left with him.
There were brown rats, black rats and grey rats. There were small rats, large rats and giant rats. They all followed the music.
They followed him right to the river’s edge, and then the rats fell into the River Weser.
Forty minutes later, the rat catcher was back in Hamelin.
“Thank you! Thank you!” said all the people.
“Thanks,” said the mayor.
The rat catcher said, “Give me my thousand marks.”
The people laughed. “A thousand marks? We’ll only give you a hundred.”
The mayor laughed. “A thousand marks? I’ll give you just fifty.”
The rat catcher didn’t laugh. He began to play his magic pipe again. He left Hamelin.
Suddenly, behind the rat catcher, the children of Hamelin were dancing.
They danced away over the hills to a new land.
The children went to live in a beautiful land and were very happy.
However, their parents in Hamelin were not happy. Without their children, they were sad, very sad.Enjoyed this story?
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Gordon Moulds CBE, KidsOut CEO