On the 26th of June in 1284 on the day of John and Paul a piper dressed in many colours led away 130 children bornin Hamelin to Koppen by Calvary, where they were lost.First obvious point about this account is its noninclusion of any mention of rats. What, no rats! The first account inwhich the original story merges with the tale of a ratcatcher cheated of his pay dates from the mid sixteenth century.By this stage the Piper had become well and truly demonized. The first version is, for sure, darkly ambiguous with itsominous implication that an ill fate befell the children of Hamelin, as it states that they were finally "lost". But in whatsense? - Lost to the town, lost like sailors at sea or lost in theological terms? Writers in the 16th and 17th centuriesplaced the most severely negative construction on the story by identifying the Piper with the devil. However, it isinteresting to note that the date of the Piper's final appearance was given as the festival of Mary Magdalene (the 22ndof July) about "two hundred years ago" (i.e. in the latter half of the fourteenth century) in a Latin version of the story,the same date quoted by Browning in his poem about the Pied Piper. Both this and the earliest account of the taleconnect the exodus of Hamelin's children with a saint's day, and in line with this precedent Prosper Merime makes thestory an omen of the massacre of Protestants on Saint Bartholomew's day, the 23rd of August, in his novel "Chroniquedu Regne de Charles IX". These datings seems to reflect an ambivalence associating the demonic and sacred, which ascholar Gernot Hsam, cited below, interprets as the attempt of the Church to combat paganism by blotting out thememory of pre-Christian practices and cultic sites by giving them a Christian nomenclature. By the same token, thenegative constructions placed on the Piper could be readily inverted by later authors.Browning's reinterpretation of the Piper as the risen Christ, the Unconquered Sun, accords with the impied connectionwith Mary Magdalene, in the gospels the first witness of the Resurrection. Similarly, "Calvary, associated in medievaltimes with the skull of death swallowing sinners through the mouth of hell, becomes the Calvary of the New Testamentin Browning's poem (click site of Iacov Levi below)In keeping with its power to absorb new narrative elements that in turn reflect major historical developments, the ratsrecall the Black Death and all its havoc and terrors. The Piper associated with the rats also conveys something of thehysteria of an age obsessively fearful of witches, heretics and outsiders in general. Stories about a man who removesvermin from a town by some magical means are in fact quite widespread throughout Europe and farther afield, but tointertwine the original tale with an account concerning a ratcatcher required some fiction or device, clearly in this case,the unkept bargain between Piper and the authorities of Hamelin, an invention which in turn most probably reflected theconcern of people in the mid-sixteenth century with matters concerning money, contracts and the payment of wages.It seems likely that the revamped story expresses deep misgivings concerning the rise of a new wage-earning classthat attended the emergence of money-based non-feudal capitalism and unrest, particularly among the peasantpopulation. The dissatisfied classes had open ears to those challenging medieval Catholicism such as Wicliffe andLuther and Mntzer. I raise this question again at the close of this report. The negative consructions placed on the storycontinue in interpretations according to which the parents of the town were in church when their children were ledaway, implying that the children under the Piper's influence became apostates from the Church. An explanation of theorigin of the Piper story to which I shall later refer could well account for such a negative conclusion.From the Romantic period onwards writers and musicians managed to rehabilitate the Piper, for the devil figure of medieval times became introverted so as to epitomize none less than Jesus Christ. As already noted, in Browning'spoem this identification is at least implicit from a close reading of its text, for a constrast of good and evil emergesfrom a bifurcation in the way the main players in the story are presented. The greedy rats and adults on one side standagainst and the innocent and righteous Piper and children on the other. The Piper becomes the Great Unrecognized. As noted above, the noted psychologist Iakov Levi unreservedly identifies Piper with Christ, evidently on the basis of noting the words found in Browning's poem (see website address below). A question arises. What are the secret ingredients of success in the original story? Is it in any case necessary to tryto unravel origins of tale in terms of some historical event? - Nobody, not even poets like Goethe and Browning, havesolved the riddle - but these poets were still able to interpret it in a new and significant light. However, a discussion of its origins may help us to better understand why the story has gained such vast and apparently contradictoryramifications.