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Professor Turnabout Rewrites History: Hamelin, 1284

Avigail Sharer

Rats! They’re everywhere! Big, black rats, squeaking and crawling and nibbling and chewing, brushing past beds in the dead of night, running over babies in cribs, scampering through the streets of the town. Ugh! I’m going straight back into my time capsule and heading home. Apart from the pet rabbit I had when I was eight, I’ve never been fond of creatures with four legs. As for rats … dirty vermin. They make me shudder.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

illustrationHere I am inHamelin,Germany, and if they think I can solve their rat problem, they’ve got another thought coming. I’m a scientist! I’m a professor of high velocity quantum physics. You might even call me a historian. But a rat catcher I am NOT.

I go back to the time capsule. Oh no, the doors won’t open. Silly machine, I must return it to the manufacturer. Oh, I think that means me. Hmmm. I’d look it up in the manual, but I never did get around to writing that manual. So … I guess that means I have a job to do. As long as it’s nothing to do with those rats….

Back in the town square, there’s quite a commotion. “One thousand florins to anyone who can get rid of the rats!” the mayor calls out. He doesn’t know what else to do.

All of a sudden, every head in the place turns. A tall man, wearing a tall hat and a multicolored coat, pipes a tune into the crowds.

Everyone is silent. “One thousand florins, you say?” he asks.

“I’ll give you 50,000 florins if you get rid of them!” cries the mayor. His cheeks are red and he wipes the sweat that drips down his forehead. “We’ve always had a few rats around Hamelin, just enough to keep the cats fed and happy. But this is a plague, an infestation. We don’t know what to do!”

The tall man with the pipe stretches out his hand and grasps the small, plump hand of the mayor. “Consider it done,” he says.

Does that mean I’m off the hook? Phew…


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