Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Pied Piper of Hamelin

Written by: Robert Browning

First line: Hamelin Town's in Brunswick, By famous Hanover City; The river Weser, deep and wide, Washes its wall on the southern side; A pleasanter spot you never spied, But, when begins my ditty, Almost five hundred years ago, To see the townsfolk suffer so From vermin was a pity.

Why you should read this book: I'm looking at the classic text, illustrated by Kate Greenaway's classic drawings, both of which evoke the gentle romanticism of the nineteenth century, when tales of lost children and other such horrible events could be sighed over from a distance of time. In some places, the language and meter may trip up modern young readers, but overall, it's a document that has truly stood the test of time and deserves its many reprints. Whether read as a cautionary tale, a historical document, or a fairy lark, it's an evocative story about a strange man who enters into a good faith business contract, fulfills his end of the bargain but finds his partners renege on remuneration, and takes his revenge with style.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You don't pay your debts.

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