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Rated: ASR · Poetry · Folklore · #2289243
The familiar fairy tale, told in rhyme
Hamelin Towne

Fair Hamelin Towne of olden days,
with busy market square,
wealthy burghers buy and sell,
and lay up treasure there.

Nestled on the mountainside,
a pretty alpine scene.
But 'neath quaint streets of cobblestone
lurked pestilence unclean.

A town sore plagued by swarming rats,
a filthy, vermin tide.
'Can any stem this vicious horde?'
the desperate mayor cried.

A shabby looking piper spoke,
in patched and pied array.
'I'll rid your town of rats' he said,
'If you're prepared to pay.'

'The price is high to save a town,
and this is what I ask:
a child's weight in purest gold
for such a worthy task.'

The burghers muttered nervously,
agreed at last to pay.
The piper grinned triumphantly
and then began to play.

A mystic, squealing, wheedling tune
that human scarce could hear,
echoing through Hamelin Towne
attuned to furry ears.

Bold rats pop out from everywhere,
each crack and hole in town,
and prance along in perfect time
to mesmerizing sound.

Pied piper led the rats away,
entranced by shrillish song.
They vanished into chillish mist
like shadows in the dawn.

And when the job was neatly done,
the piper claimed his due.
But greedy burghers kept their gold,
and bid him curt adieu.

The mayor offered haughtily,
with oily, unctuous smirk,
'One silver coin is ample pay
for thirty minutes work.'

'A curse be on such town that spurns
a bargain fairly made,
take comfort in your bags of gold!'
the angry piper raged.

The mayor laughed and bade him go,
well pleased with dealing sly.
The piper went but soon returned
when darkness touched the sky.

At midnight's stroke the village sleeps,
beneath a fullish moon.
Pied piper plays his song again,
a simple dancing tune.

Parents slumber unaware,
as to a lullaby.
But children hark the tempting song,
and leave their beds behind.

Skirling, whirling, notes come curling,
calling down the miles.
Ringle, mingle, ears a tingle,
kids share secret smiles.

Higgle, piggle, Betsy giggles,
slips out the garden gate.
Groovy gravy, there goes Davy,
dancing to his fate.

Hustle, bustle, here comes Russell,
tripping Mary Lee.
Stumble, bumble, take a tumble,
jumping up with glee.

Angelic Grace joins the race
nightgown all aflutter.
Right behind comes Caroline,
running with her brother.

Willy-nilly cousin Billy
scampers down the road.
Slipping, sliding, Suzy's gliding,
twirling on her toes.

Scoot and scurry, Mikey hurries,
bringing up the rear.
Tiddle, toddle, baby waddles,
the last to disappear.

One by one and two by two,
then groups of three or four,
the Hamelin children join the mist
and vanish evermore.

A sadly silent village wakes,
a gloomy day unwinds,
No lilting laughter greets the dawn,
no children rise to shine.

Frantic parents rush about
Searching wide and long.
Mourning that which can't be found,
all their treasure gone.

A tale of greed and vengeance,
a moral for all time:
If gold is what you hold most dear,
then treasure you'll not find.
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