Rat Catchers Day

Grimm’s fairy tales always terrified me, and so I guess I didn’t listen very hard, because I always thought the Pied Piper of Hamelin was a cheerful guy who paraded around the town playing the flute, followed by all the happy children. I didn’t know he led them into a mountain cave and sealed them in there, all because he didn’t get paid for also leading all the rats away.

And it also may be true, or at least the part about the children leaving, because there’s a 1384 record in the town that says “It is 10 years since our children left.”

It either happened on June 26, 1284, according to the Brothers Grimm; or, according to Robert Browning who for some reason thought he knew better, on July 22, 1376; and so rat catchers, unlike secretaries, actually get two special days.

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