A poem by Robert Browning, based on a German folk tale from the Middle Ages. The town of Hamelin is infested with rats, and the citizens hire a piper in multicolored (pied) clothing to lure the rats out with his charming music. The rats follow the piper into the river and drown. When the townspeople refuse to pay the piper, he lures away all the children of the town.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.