September 23, 2009

to pay the piper

...'Cross the hills to God knows where
The piper pranced, a leadin'
Each child in Hamlin Town but me,
And I stayed home unheedin'.
My papa says that I was blest
For if that music found me,
I'd be witch-cast like all the rest.
This town grows old around me.
I cannot say I did not hear
That sound so haunting hollow --
I heard, I heard, I heard it clear...
I was afraid to follow.

(Shel Silverstein, "The One Who Stayed")

Illustration from The Pied Piper of Hamelin, by Robert Browning
1888, illustrator Kate Greenaway
from Project Gutenburg


Ms. Moon said...

So beautiful. Words and picture.

downtown guy said...

You know, I have our old copy of the version that picture was taken from. It's a little worse for wear, what with the chew marks and the crayons. That story fascinates me, because Hamelin did, evidently, have an exodus of children back in the way back.

Ms. Moon said...

I know. Isn't that strange?

downtown guy said...

Yes! The current main theory is that they were all recruited to go settle areas in Poland.