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The story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin is well known. This dark European folktale with unsettling themes of ingratitude and terrible vengeance has been told and retold for generations. The tale goes something like this:

In the year 1284, there was a serious rat problem in Hamelin, which was at that time a prosperous port on the river Weser in Lower Saxony, Germany. Barges full of corn and wheat arrived every day which was ground in the mills and made into bread and cakes in the bakeries. But the rats came and ate all the corn and the wheat, and the bread and the cakes, and there were fleas everywhere. Life in Hamelin became a nightmare. Desperate for a solution, the town mayor announced a prize of one thousand gold guilders to anyone who could free Hamelin of the rats.

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