Today is National Rat Catchers Day; http://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-rat-catchers-day-july-22/
And being a cat, well...
Many are familiar with the story of the Pied Piper Of Hamelin.
Few realize however that the story is based on actual events.
For those unfamiliar with the tale it is set in 1284 in the town of Hamelin, Lower Saxony, Germany.
The town was facing a rat infestation and a piper dressed in a coat of many colors appeared. This piper promised to rid the town of the rats in return for payment to which the towns people agreed. Although the piper got rid of the rats, the people of Hamelin reneged on their promise to pay him.
The furious piper left, vowing revenge.
On July 26th of that year, the piper returned and this time led the towns children away, never to be seen again.
Never the less one or two of the children where left behind, depending on which version of the story you hear, one of them was lame, one was blind and one simply could not hear the music.
The earliest known record of this story is from the town of Hamelin itself depicted in a stained glass window created for the church of Hamelin which dates to around 1300AD. Although it was destroyed in 1660, several written accounts have survived. The oldest of which states that in the year 1284 on the day of Saints Paul and John, on July 26th a piper clothed in many colors, 130 born of Hamelin were seduced and lost at a place of execution near the koppen.
The supposed street where the children were last seen is today called Bungelosenstrasse
(street without drums), as no one is allowed to play music or dance there.
It is said that the rats were absent from earlier accounts of the story and were only added in the mid 16th century but sources do not speak of a plague of rats.
If the children's disappearance was not the case of revenge then what was the cause?
There have been numerous theories to explain what happened...
One theory suggests that the children died of natural causes and that the piper was the personification of death.
By associating the rats with The Black Death it suggests that the children were taken by the plague, yet the plague was most server in Europe between 1348 and 1350 more than half a century after the events in Hamelin.
Another theory is that the children were sent away by their parents due to extreme poverty and ended up in modern day Romania. While yet a third and darker theory is that the piped piper was actually a pedophile who crept into the town and abducted the children as they slept.
You can check out more on the historical aspects of the story at; http://www.examiner.com/article/the-pied-piper-of-hamelin-the-facts-behind-the-fairy-tale
Happy (rat free) Wednesday!
Noodle and crew