What About The Carnival Shill vs. The Pied Piper?

While there may seem to be some similarities in comparing these two, it is easy to confuse the difference. Both are quite adept with their various abilities. One is all about deception while the other is equally adept in a different sense.

We see this same scenario played out on a daily basis in cultures and societies around the world. There are different names and faces, but it seems to be true that history repeats itself. The difficulty is many times it comes in disguise and not in your face.

By definition a shill is one who is an accomplice of a hawker, gambler, or swindler who acts as an enthusiastic customer to entice or encourage others that whatever they are promoting is safe.Ride 'Em, Cowboy Indian  (5)

Now let’s compare that to the infamous Pied Piper. Legend has it a city in Germany had an infestation of rats. Along comes a “rat catcher” who happens to play a type of flute. His multicolored dress was referred to as “pied.” So the name “pied piper” or a piper with multicolored dress stuck.

The story continues the Piper offered the mayor of the city removal of the rats for a sum that in it’s time was quite expensive. None the less the mayor agreed and the task was completed. Yet the mayor then reneged on his agreement, paying a paltry sum, also claiming that the Piper likely created the infestation in the first place.

The Piper swears revenge, which is supposedly carried out by using his flute on another occasion to lure all the children away from the village, never to be seen again.
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This story seems to have modern day implications. Major differences are the choice of instrument and dress. Who might the Piper be? One who is offering to do the seeming impossible task for what may be a fair recompense, and could be seen as a representative of the public.

The “Mayor” could only refer to one in political power, who first agrees to resolve a very difficult situation in the best interest of the public, only to renege on the agreed terms, exposing the public to an even graver danger.

Does this sound like anything going on at present, or that has been going on since time began? The story of the Pied Piper may be all fiction, but there is nearly always an element of truth. History does an incomplete job of fully documenting the true events, but there does seem to be some references to the day all the children left in the town chronicles, although no proof is ever provided.

The struggle for power that does not result in an outright war, is very much like this story. In the end all are losers. No amount of power creates a lasting peace or happiness, as there will always be the attempts to right the wrongs that so often accompany the rise to that power.

History has shown that no power endures forever, and generally implodes. Was the Pied Piper right in exacting his revenge? What did the Mayor accomplish in refusing to uphold his word? Did any proof exist of wrongdoing by the Piper?

Here is the age old accusation being cast about with no evidence, or in other words a lie. How many times have we seen this played out today? What damage will be done and who will pay the price?

Just as in the story, it is the public that always pays the price! Did the Mayor pay a price for his actions? Since there is no recorded indication or information to that end, it can be assumed he did not. Had the public tarred and feather him, running him out of their fair town, that might have made news. None such exists.

A whole generation of children gone. Since this supposedly took place in the year 1284, and the only reference was a depiction in a church window that was destroyed in 1660, there seem to be no reliable records. Is it simply one of those legends that contain just enough truth to be believable?

When compared to more current events during the last 100 years, there are many similarities, which I will leave to the imagination of you readers to ferret out. One that might create some interest is the historical facts behind the cause of WWI.

So who is the Shill, and the title of Pied Piper might by applied to whom today? I think I’m going to check my wardrobe for multicolored clothes…just in case.

Alan Written by:

Alan is retired and resides in Quito, Ecuador. Writing is a passion which has resulted in two eBooks thus far, with more in the works. Married 47 years with four sons and 13 grandchildren, provides potential grist for the mill! Alan is a charter “Boomer”, a Viet Nam veteran, committed to roasting his own coffee and writes about whatever pops into his mind. He loves to build and ride recumbent bikes, play racquetball, writes almost daily, travels Ecuador, and talks to anything that does not move fast enough! The twinkle in his eye is a combination of the sun, and an active sense of humor.

His desire to encourage others to write is being answered through his articles on the Internet.