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Monologue by Ellen Hawkins

Hawkins, Ellen
Kim, You-Me
Date of Interview: 
Stories and Storytellers
Ellen Hawkins tells the story of the pied Piper of Hamelin.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
You-Me Kim interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
EH (Ellen Hawkins): Almost every night, there were a lot of kids in my family and, we would all get together in one of the bedrooms and, they'd tell some kind of story and, sometimes they made them up, sometimes they were real stories, um, but our favorite stories I think were the ones about themselves when they were kids and, um, about, like the funny things they had done or the funny things their parents had done or the bad things they had done, um, things like that. And, um, so our kids actually their, the stories that they like the best are the stories about us when we were kids and, and our brothers and sisters and, our families when, when we were young, and, um, but they also like us to tell regular stories and, one of our, our favorite stories when we were kids, and now one of our kids' favorite stories well actually when they were younger, was the story of The Pied Piper of Hamelin. Um, the parents used to, if we were bad, the parents would say, teasingly, you know we're going to call the Pied Piper of Hamelin to come and take all you kids away. Um, anyway there, the story goes like this. There was, um, this town called Hamelin, uh, a long time ago and, it was a really nice little town with full of nice people and lots of families, and lots of kids, and they were all really happy, and, they, had, um, oh just parties and fun times and never had anything bad happen until, one day they, they developed this serious problem they, had rats, all over the place, all of a sudden the town was full of rats. There were rats, running around the streets, and there were rats in their houses, and rats in their pantries, and, the rats, were eating their food, and the rats were chasing them around, and the rats were fighting with their animals, and, and the rats were, sneaking into their bedrooms at night and, anyway, th-, the way my parents would tell it they'd make it really funny, with the rats doing all kinds of crazy things, and, the rats would jump up and surprise them from behind couches and, they'd go on and on about what the, the rats would do and anyway the rats would, fight with all the animals and, the, the rats, in the story they made them sound more like they were like little bad people or something, but, th-, and the rats were also really noisy so when the people would get together for their lunches and dinners and parties or get-togethers the rats would all be, chittering away in the background and nobody could, could, hear each other and, anyway they didn't know what to do. They tried all the, the typical ways to kill rats which, uh, I, don't really remember what they were back then but you know they tried trapping them and they tried poisoning them and they tried just about everything they could think of to get rid of the rats. And, um, anyway there, there was, the head guy in this town who was the mayor who was a, a pretty good mayor but a really, kind of, um, not a real honest-type guy, a really, and a really selfish guy. And, he, um, was, he was like the richest guy and he liked to eat real well and drink well, real well, and he wore all these fine clothes and everything and, and he was um, thought that, you know he could like do anything he wanted and say anything he wanted, and he also had a council, like a, like a town council and they'd have um, these weekly meetings in the town coun-, council and they'd have, all these great meals and everything and, all these people got treated really good and, um, they, they, uh, they were like really special, I guess, and the people kind of resented that a little bit. But one, one day the townspeople said, "OK. You know, we've had enough of the rats and the mayor and his council sit around doing nothing, while the rats are everywhere and something's got to be done." So all these people group together at one of the council meetings and they busted into the council meeting and, and they, started complaining and complaining about the rats and said, you know, "You've got to do something, you've got to do something." And, the mayor, although he usually didn't like to be bothered with the people he, he was being, bothered by the rats, too. So, he, um, wanted to do something about it himself, but they didn't have any idea what to do 'cause they had also been trying, all of the things that the other people were trying to get rid of the rats and, and same with all the council members, they had been trying all the traps and poisons and, and whatever, whatever other ways you try to get rid of rats. So anyway they thought about it for days and days and they came up with all these ideas and they tried this and they tried that and nothing that they did worked. So, um, one day, shortly after that there, there this guy shows up at the, at the mayor's door, and, and they turn around and they see this, this guy standing there wearing a, a long, red cap and a, and a hat with a feather, and he had, um, he was really different looking for them. He had bright, golden hair and he had a pipe, an instrument a pipe that, that hung on a, hung around his neck and, he said, um, "I'm a piper." And, the pipe is a kind of an instrument and he was a musician and he said and, "I can get rid of all the rats in your town if you'll pay me a hundred pieces of gold." So the mayor said, "Oh, well, yeah, I would, I'd give, a thousand, pieces of gold to anyone who can get rid of these rats." And everybody in the council is going, "Yeah, yeah! We want to get rid of the rats, too. So we'll, we'll give, yeah, we'll give out a thousand pieces of gold." So the Piper of course is really happy. So he says, "OK," and they shook hands on it. So the Piper goes out into the middle of the town and he begins to play his pipe and, it's really beautiful, it's really, really sweet, sweet melody and, um, and all of a sudden the rats start running into the middle of town towards the music and he keeps playing, he keeps walking and walking and the rats are following him and, there's like a few rats and then a lots of rats and then hundreds of rats and thousands of rats and there's just a whole parade of rats that are following the Pied Piper as he's, as he's playing his music and walking on this pathway, like out of town. And, he walks into, to, uh, the to-, there's a river that goes through the, that goes through the edge of town and he walks, playing and he walks all the way down the path to the edge of the river and when he gets to the edge of the river, he keeps playing but he stops walking and he moves out of the pathway and the rats don't stop though and every single one of the rats jumps into the river and drowns. And so the Pied Piper plays and plays and plays until every single rat is, is drowned and not a single rat left in the town. So everybody's all happy and they're all clapping and they're, they're cheering the Piper and everything and so the, and, and, and this whole thing took like just a couple of minutes so the Pied Piper goes up to the mayor and says, "OK. I've, I've come to get my thousand pieces of gold." And, the mayor says, "You know you, you, can't really imagine, you can't really believe that I would give you a thousand of pieces of gold for, for such, I mean you only did worked for few minutes and, and I can't give you a thousand pieces of gold." He says, "Here, take, take this, this is 25 pieces of gold." So the Pied Piper says, "But, you promised me, a hundred, a thousand pieces of gold." And, and he's starting to get a little angry at the mayor and the mayor says, "Well OK, OK. Here, take another 25, and, and just take, take this and just be gone you, you, you only worked for a few minutes. I, I, I can't give you a thousand pieces of gold for that." So the Pied Piper says, "OK then." And he, he walks out into the middle of town, and he starts playing his pipe again. And he plays another really, really beautiful tune on his pipe and this time all the children come running into the middle of town and seeing there's a few children and then there's ten and hundreds and then thousands and then it's like every single child in the whole town is collecting around the Pied Piper in the middle of the town. So he, then he starts walking down the same pathway that he was walking down before and the parents are all worried that the kids are going to go be drowned like the rats were and they are all yelling at the mayor, you know, "Give him the money! Give him the money!" And the mayor just stands there and says he is not going to do anything. Um, you know these are our children and he's, he's, he's not going to do anything, so the children are following and following and following and every time he goes by another house, more kids come out and he keeps walking and then the children are dancing and the Pied Piper is dancing and, and before you know it there's this long, long, long line of dancing children behind the dancing Piper. And, when, when you get to, he went down the pa-, the same pathway but before you get to the river there's, you could there was a fork in the pathway, and you could go, off, and go, up, uh, to the mountain instead and it was a really, really high mountain that they really hardly ever went up or climbed or anything. So, they, thought, well he's, he can't possibly drown our children, but he also, he, he couldn't lead them over that high, high mountain. So, just a little while later the Pied Piper reaches, the, um, the ba-, the base of the mountain and, and the parents they're all, crying and saying, you know, "Please, please, you know bring our kids back." And, and then all of a sudden a, a door opens in the side of the rock, like a magical door I mean the Pied Piper stands there and plays his music and, and all of the sudden the door opens in the side of the mountain and, and as everyone was standing there watching the Pied Piper led all of the children through the door into the mountain and then as, as the last child went in, the magical door shut behind them and, and they all ran over to the mountain and they couldn't find the door, it was just gone, it was magic. And they never saw their children again, the he never brought them back they never saw him again. And they were really sad for what the mayor had caused and the children of Hamelin though, just, so that you know the Pied Piper wasn't a really bad guy. Yeah, he stole their children but he brought them to a place beyond the mountain to a land where, where it was filled with happiness and laughter and the sunshine and the children were happy and so I mean, there was a good ending for the children and a bad ending for the parents. And, and, um, anyway so that, that the moral of that was that if you make a promise to someone then if you don't keep the promise, then there are dire consequences. And that's what happened to the people in the town of Hamelin.