Saturday, February 24, 2007

Der Rattenfänger von Hameln

"The Ratcatcher of Hamelin" is a version of the Pied Piper fairytale written by the Brothers Grimm in the nineteenth century. The idea of "paying the piper" has made its way into common usage at all levels of society, and for good reason. If one does not eventually pay the piper for specific services rendered, bad things happen. Karmic boomerang.

We all know the story of the Pied Piper, right?

Rats have infested Hamelin like the "stars for a day" at Taco Bell in Greenwich Village recently. Plague. Disruption. Ratcatcher hired for money. Plays the pipes; rats follow and drown in the nearby river: all die except one crippled survivor that swims to the other shore and lives to tell the tale to other rats. Burghers rejoice and chase ratcatcher out of town. Revenge of the Pied Piper: plays his pipe, children follow him to a mountain. They are then sealed inside and presumably, like the drowning rats in the first cycle, perish. One crippled child survives to tell the tale.

The crippled survivor is the modern writer. Remembrance, memoir, poetry, fiction.
The tale is used perfectly in Atom Egoyan's 1997 film adaption of Russell Banks' 1991 novel, The Sweet Hereafter, with Sarah Polley's character Nichole Burnell as the crippled survivor.

As for Taco Bell, do we need any more reasons to avoid the place altogether? The chintzy fast food joint was a favorite of one of my exes. I haven't been in over a decade -- and I live to tell the tale.

Today's Rune: Fertility .
Birthdays: Wilhelm Grimm (1786-1859), Emmanuelle Riva (b. 1927), George Harrison (1943-2001), Michelle Shocked (b. 1962) .


1 comment:

JR's Thumbprints said...

Hot damm! I feel like a crippled survivor. Does that mean I can write? Also, I'm all for not going to Taco Bell. Wife likes their food though. Also also, rats make good pets--I should know, have two of them in my living room.