Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 3, 1892.djvu/236

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The Pied Piper of Hamelin.

ally and per alios, taken much pains to get at the literature of my subject, I hope I may be borne with as I attempt to set a portion of the result before the readers of Folk-lore.

Hameln is a charming old town, and if you go there knowing that it is one of the shrines of folk-lore, and go in sympathetic mood, you will feel as if you had passed out of every-day environment into story-land, and may wonder whether you have done so in a dream, or whether the bliss be yours in tangible reality. If in a dream, that would account for divers incongruities, and take away the shock of intrusive modernisms for which it were folly to blame the 11,000 who make the place their home, and whose main care it cannot be to live up to the picturesque tradition of which it is the scene. A very little make-believe, an equal knowledge of the history of architectural styles, and then, when you are in the quaint main street, whatever season and whatever year it be for other folk, it is with you the festival of SS. John and Paul, the 26th of June 1284; and you set your ears to catch some echo of the strain which wiled the lost but never-yet-forgotten children forth. Shortly after the Osterstrasse is entered on, a fine early 17th century dwelling, on the left, is safe to claim attention; it goes by the name of the Rattenfanger (i.e., Ratcatcher's) Haus, and is probably so called because the end which abuts on the Bungelosestrasse has an inscription,[1] in German, more archaic than the building itself, commemorating the Outgoing. At the other extremity of the Osterstrasse is a similar record[2] on the Wedding- or Hochzeitshaus, a fine

  1. "Anno 1284. Am Dage Johannis et Pauli War der 26. Junii Durch einen Pieper mit allerly Farve bekledet Gewesen cxxx Kinder verledet Binnen Hameln geboren To Calverie bi den Koppen verloren." As given in Hameln und Bad Pymont: Wegweiser (Hameln, Fuendeling), p. 5.
  2. "Nach Christi Geburt 1284 Jahr Gingen bei den Koppen unter Verwahr Hundert und dreissig Kinder, in Hameln geboren von einem Pfeiffer verfürt und verloren." (Fuendeling's Wegweiser, p. 6.)