The story of the Pied Piper is absolutely one of the darkest of the fairy tale genre (on par with the formerly mentioned Hansel and Gretel). It began as a legend explaining the mysterious deaths of all the children in the town of Hamelin, Germany, and later chronicled by the famous Brothers Grimm.
In the tale, the Pied Piper began as something of a hero. When the town became infested with rats, he offered the mayor his services, luring the rats to the river with his hypnotizing pipe songs, where they all drowned. However, when the mayor refused to pay him, the Piper vowed revenge, using his pipe to lure the town's children away, never to be seen again.
The moral of the tale is obvious - keep your promise or suffer the consequences. But the consequences seem far, far greater than the original crime. It's one of the tales that leaves me cold, and one of the most frightening villains in fairy tale history. I only hope that the Pied Piper of Hamelin doesn't have any real basis as some suggest . . .
This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme (in case you didn't already guess) is Fairy Tales. Stay tuned for the rest of the alphabet, and if you'd like to check out the other participants, simply click here.