Pay­ing the piper

The Southern Gazette - - NEWS - Edi­tor; Tony Rockel, Pla­cen­tia

Read­ers are prob­a­bly fa­mil­iar with the story of the ‘Pied Piper of Hamelin’ – a story in which a mag­i­cal fig­ure ap­pears in a time of need and ( for a fee) prom­ises to deliver a town from its trou­bles.

The gist of the story is as fol­lows: the town is over­run by rats, which are plun­der­ing the town’s re­sources, tor­ment­ing the people and be­ing ter­ri­ble nui­sances in gen­eral.

For a pre-de­ter­mined fee, the Pied Piper prom­ises, by means of his en­chanted pipe, to lead the rats out of the town and into the nearby river.

The lo­cals, de­lighted by this of­fer, agree to the trans­ac­tion.

But af­ter the town is freed from rats, the lo­cals refuse to pay the piper for his ser­vices. In a rage, he uses the same magic to lure the chil­dren out of the town and through a mag­i­cal door into a moun­tain.

The door closes and the chil­dren are never seen again. Lo­cal ver­sion … This prov­ince has had its share of Pied Pipers, all of them of­fer­ing mag­i­cal so­lu­tions to our so­cial and eco­nomic woes: Joey Small­wood, Frank Moores, Clyde Wells, Brian Tobin, Danny Wil­liams and, last but not least, Kathy Dun­derdale, are a few that come to mind.

In one re­gard, the end re­sult of their promised magic has been pretty much the same as in the story, ex­cept our young people have dis­ap­peared be­cause there is no work for them in the prov­ince.

The ma­jor dif­fer­ence be­tween this story and the orig­i­nal is here, al­though the people have paid the piper many times more than the agreed amount, the rats have never left town, and have been pro­moted by the piper to prom­i­nent po­si­tions in govern­ment and busi­ness, where they re­main firmly en­sconced to this day.

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