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Saturday, December 15, 2007

On the Pied Piper of Hamelin - ALTERNATIVE ENDINGS

So tonight I read The Pied Piper of Hamelin to my five-year old daughter for her bedtime story. Aside from questioning my judgment on this choice of nighttime reading (which wouldn't be inappropriate on the facts presented so far), I was so thrilled and fascinated by my daughter's creativity in our discussion after we finished the reading.



First, I asked her who were the bad guys in the story. She thought the Pied Piper was a bad guy and also that the Mayor (in our version it's the Mayor of Hamelin (and his four-person town council) who breaks the promise to pay the Pied Piper) was a bad guy. I think she's right.

Next, we talked about what the Mayor did that was bad and what the Piper did that was bad. She didn't think that the Piper should have stolen the children. (I agreed!! And I wished her sweet dreams and left the room. (Not really, I just made that part up.)) And she thought that the Mayor was bad because he tried to pay the Piper only 25 and then 50 gold pieces (instead of the promised 1000). (I agreed again.)

Next, I asked her if she had any ideas for how the story could have ended. And she asked me if I did. Turns out we both did.

The best alternative ending I came up with was that the Pied Piper should have demonstrated his power over the children of the town to the Mayor and then asked the Mayor to reconsider whether the Mayor wanted to honor his promise and pay the entire 1000 gold piece.

My daughter came up with the correct answer (the correct alternative ending). She said she thought the Piper should have told the police about what the Mayor did and the police could have put the Mayor in the dungeon because he broke his promise.

And of course that's the right answer - the executive branch and the judicial system are the mechanisms by which contractual grievances should be addressed in a civilized society.

I chose a threat. I recommended a version where the original wronged party (the Piper) threaten to commit a reprehensible crime. Not optimal!

My five-year old daughter selected justice. She recommended a version where the original wronged party (the Piper) allow the enforcement mechanisms of a nation of laws to operate.

Wow. I was so proud of her. I can't even begin to tell you folks.

3 Comments:

Anonymous D Brow said...

That's a good story, I read my daughter the same book. She hasn't come up with alternate yet because she can't talk yet.
DB

4:05 PM, December 28, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with your daughters solution is that usually the police and the mayor are in cahoots and that would never work.

12:30 PM, July 25, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It can work. Take a look at former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick of Detroit.

12:05 PM, October 18, 2012  

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