According to the ultimate reference for all truth, Wikipedia, the Pied Piper of Hamelin is the subject of a legend from the German town of Hamelin during the Middle Ages. The earliest references describe a piper, dressed in multicolored (“pied”) clothing, who was a rat-catcher hired by the town to lure rats away with his magic pipe. When the citizens refuse to pay for this service, he retaliates by using his instrument’s magic power on their children, leading them away as he had the rats. This version of the story spread as folklore and has appeared in the writings of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the Brothers Grimm, and Robert Browning, among others.
There are many contradicting theories about the Pied Piper. Some have been proposed suggesting he was a symbol of hope to the people of Hamelin, which had been attacked by plague; he moved all the rats out from the town of Hamelin, thus saving the people from the epidemic disease.
We get the phrase “pay the piper” from this story and, while rarely used in today’s conversations, most of you of my generation will immediately remember this story if I use that phrase.
Well now, isn’t that interesting. Wouldn’t that be an interesting question for Millennials? Do they know the story? Would they consider it a fable or a myth? Fables are useful stories because they illustrate truths … sometimes much deeper than we can do with real stories. We have the fox and the grapes, the tortoise and the hare, etc. Do we relish the art of fable telling anymore, or are we too callous to entertain them?
To me at least the art of storytelling is better than the harsh realities of today’s truths because it guides our hearts and minds for the long run. We dream dreams and see visions of what can truly be a beautiful future. It acts as a compass to keep us on the right course.
What I also like about stories like this is that they do not contain yelling and bashing of people. They remind us that subtle truths require our minds and hearts to “soak in” these ideas so they permeate our perspectives and result in true balance.
We certainly need to rid ourselves of rats. We also need to protect our customers from rats. There is a lot of work to be done. Perhaps we need a new flute or a better tune to play. At Apogee, our work is devoted to developing cutting-edge tools and technology that help our utility clients build trust and stay engaged with their customers. That’s our tune and we are stickin’ with it.