Once upon a time there was a beautiful little girl. She lived near a beautiful castle and would visit often along with the courtiers, the gentlefolk and the King’s beloved servant. One day a piper came to the castle. He charmed the King’s servant, the courtiers and the gentlefolk. He delighted the children with his bright garments. He spoke of freedom from regulations some people were troubled, but the piper dazzled the people, and their laughter drowned out their complaints. The people delighted in the promises of the piper, and thought it was good.
And the little girl grew.
One day the castle held a great feast. The little girl went with her friends to prepare. The piper delighted them with his juggling, and told them about a wonderful feast which had been prepared for them. The children brushed their hair, and wore their finest clothes. The little girl wore a beautiful dress of the finest silk. The piper smiled and told them to enjoy their party. And the people thought it was good.
Later that day the children dined at the King’s table, they laughed and showed off their fine dresses.
No one noticed the King’s son who was the honoured guest. He greeted all of the children, his arms laden with gifts for them, but they did not seem to notice him. They brushed past him, and carried on with the celebrations. The king saw all this, and pitied the children, because the piper had failed to tell them about the Prince. The people saw the celebrations, and thought it was good.
Over the years, the piper grew in strength and cunning. Because he appeared so wise and handsome, the people trusted him with their children. The little girl watched the piper take her friends by the hand, and one by one lead them away from the Castle, and the king, and the Prince they never knew, and the people danced and clapped and thought it was good. We are free! They shouted.
Even the King’s favorite servant joined in the celebrations.
One day, it was the little girl’s turn to be taken away. Enchanted by the piper, she followed him down the path, skipping happily. Just as the path became dark and overgrown with briars, a beautiful lady, radient in a dress of blue beckoned to her, the beautiful lady captivated the young girl, so she held out her hand, and the lady led her away.
“I am Mother!” said the lady, whose eyes sparkled with tenderness, whose hand was warm in the little girls.
And the little girl grew until one day she was all grown up and had little girls of her own.
One day, “Mother” took the little girl to see a Handsome Prince. He was gentle and kind, and as he stretched out his arms, the little girl cried because she remembered now this was the man at the great feast, and how everyone had ignored him. The little girl got angry when she realised how the piper had deceived the people. “If only we had known it was you, we would have got our hearts ready for you, and now it is too late!”, and she stamped her feet. But the handsome prince held her hands tightly in his, and looked at her with such warmth and kindness, that she was sorry. “I told them about the piper, but they wouldn’t listen, said the prince, “And when I sent my mother, the piper turned the children’s heads away, so they couldn’t see her”. The little girls heart was heavy with sadness. She never forgot her friends who now wandered far from the Prince. She often spoke to the King, and asked him to be kind to them, and to welcome them if they remembered his goodness.
The little girl, who was by now not so little any more, went to the castle see the courtiers, and the King’s new faithful servant, in whom she had great hopes, to tell them about the piper, but she could see some of them were still cast under his spell, and so the girl fled in floods of tears.
Everyday the little girl spoke to the Prince, and to his dear Mother, and she could see their hearts were sad, and how much they grieved for the lost children, as did she, and from that day, she vowed always to tell people of what the piper had done.