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Pied Piper (Legend)

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The Pied Piper
PiedPiper

Real Name

Unknown

First Appearance

Stained Glass from Church of Hamelin c. 1300

Original Publisher

German Legend

Created by

Unknown

Origin

The Pied Piper was the subject of a legend concerning the departure or death of a great number of children from the town of Hamelin in Lower Saxony, Germany during the in the Middle Ages. According to the legend, in 1284, while the town of Hamelin (in Germany) was suffering from a rat infestation, a man dressed in pied clothing appeared, claiming to be a rat-catcher. He promised the mayor a solution for their problem with the rats. The mayor in turn promised to pay him for the removal of the rats. The man accepted, and played a musical pipe to lure the rats with a song into the Weser River, where all but one drowned. Despite his success, the mayor reneged on his promise and refused to pay the rat-catcher the full amount of money. The man left the town angrily, but vowed to return some time later, seeking revenge. On Saint John and Paul's day while the inhabitants were in church, he played his pipe yet again, dressed in green, like a hunter, this time attracting the children of Hamelin. 130-160 boys and girls followed him out of the town, where they were lured into a cave and never seen again. Depending on the version, at most three children remained behind. One of the children was lame and could not follow quickly enough, the second was deaf and followed the other children out of curiosity, and the last was blind and unable to see where they were going. These three informed the villagers of what had happened when they came out of church.

Some stories suggest that the Pied Piper was in fact a demon or the devil himself. The earliest references describe a piper, dressed in multicolored clothing, leading the children away from the town never to return. In the 16th century the story was expanded into a full narrative, in which the piper is a rat-catcher hired by the town to lure rats away with his magic pipe.

Golden Age Comic Appearances

Fairy Tale Parade #8: An account of the Pied Piper's experience in the town of Hamelin.

Kid Eternity #10: Kid Eternity summons the Pied Piper to call rats to battle Master Man and Berta.

Uncle Sam Quarterly #6: The original Pied Piper shows up in the Serbian town of Linjvecki nearly 700 years after his appearance in Hamelin. He leads the children into a huge cavern, but is stopped by Uncle Sam. The Pied Piper escapes into the caverns, but he leaves behind his magic flute. Buddy uses it to draw out Nazis.

Captain Marvel Jr. #2: Freddy Freeman is hypnotized by the Pied Piper, but is not able to keep up with him, due to his handicap. Free of the Piper's spell, Freeman confronts the villain as Captain Marvel Jr., and learns he has kidnapped American Children to serve the Nazis. This version of the Pied Piper could play notes that would cause brain damage and eventually kill a person, even one as powerful as Captain Marvel Jr. The hero manages to break the Piper's flute and capture him. It is unclear if this is the original Pied Piper, but he is probably just a Nazi who obtained the flute.

Captain Marvel Jr. #3: After escaping from prison and repairing his flute, the Pied Piper, still working for the nazis, broadcasts his song over the radio. It causes extreme depression, resulting in many people comitting suicide. After an epic battle, the Pied Piper is once again captured by Captain Marvel Jr. This time the Pied Piper also demonstrates that he is a master of disguise and voice immitation, with extraordinarily physical strength. He regularly uses the flute as a weapon.

Jackpot Comics #7: A man named Pelham uses a magic flute, and the identity of the Pied Piper to hypnotize his enemies into committing suicide. He may be using the true Pied Piper's flute. He was stopped by the Black Hood and died soon after.

See Also

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