On the banks of a river in northern Germany, lies a picturesquely landscaped city called Hamelin.
One day, the city was attacked by an unfortunate plague: it was full of rats!
So many were the rats that they dared to challenge the dogs, they chased the cats, they hid under the beds, in the cupboards, in the pantries and even stole the whole cheeses to later eat them, without leaving a crumb.
Life in Hamelin was becoming unbearable!
The town, fed up with the situation, met with the mayor and the members of the Municipal Council to find a solution, but after an hour of discussion, an idea to exterminate the annoying rodents did not come up.
Hardly had the unsuccessful meeting ended when those present heard something unexpected. A light tapping sounded at the door of the City Council.
Then the strangest man you can imagine entered the room.
He wore a long cloak made up of black, red, and yellow squares. He was tall, thin and with bright blue eyes, he wore a smile that he directed from one to the other, as if he were among old friends.
‘It’s well known throughout Germany that Hamelin has a rat problem. If I chase away all the rats, what would be my reward? said the stranger.
For a moment, the mayor was stunned. It was hard for him to believe that the quirky man could free them from the problem.
“Ten gold coins from the municipal treasury if you can keep what you promise,” the mayor said.
The stranger nodded and left.
Being in the street, he took a flute that was hanging around his neck and began to play it. In every corner of Hamelin a beautiful melody could be heard.
Suddenly there was a rumble, thousands of rats came from all directions following the sound that came from the flute. The stranger headed towards the river, all the rats, mice and little mice dove into its waters getting caught in the current. Not a single rodent was left in the streets of Hamelin; the strange piper had kept his promise.
After a few hours, the stranger returned to the Municipal Council to claim his reward. But the mayor, the councilors and the townspeople had changed their minds.
“You’ve done a great job, but ten gold coins is too much payment for playing the flute. We’ll pay you a gold coin and nothing more,” the mayor said.
The stranger looked at them with bright blue eyes, then turned and left.
Finding himself in the street, he again took out his flute and began to play it. This time the melody coming from the instrument was different, but just as beautiful. All the boys and girls of Hamelin came out of the schools and houses and began to follow the stranger; They danced, sang and clapped.
The stranger left the city, crossed the river and disappeared into the thick of the forest… all the children followed him.