Big Tobacco: the Pied Piper of Modern Times

Most people know the fairy tale of the Pied Piper who was hired to rid the German town of Hamelin of rats in the late 1200s.  He did his job, but the townspeople reneged on their promise to pay, and so the Piper returned and his magical flute lead the children away, never to be seen again.  Our participant Dr. Juan Céspedes, from Miami-Dade Public Schools, compared the marketing of tobacco to youth by Big Tobacco with the Pied Piper of Hamelin in his refusal skills assignment.  His clever comparison to the fairy tale should open our eyes to what is happening in present day with the lives of our children.  Thank you, Dr. Céspedes, for allowing us to share your assignment.

It is said the northern German town of Hamelin, in Lower Saxony, was infested, indeed completely overrun, by rats during the Middle Ages. The townspeople were desperate, but to their relief in 1284 a mysterious man appeared who would achieve legendary fame as the Rattenfänger von Hameln (in English literature, the Pied Piper of Hamelin, or the Pan Piper. Naturally, the Piper had to find a means to earn his livelihood, thus the service he provided was not to be gratuitous (Macmillan Reference, 2001).

pied_piper1 Most people are familiar with the fairy tale of the Pied Piper, probably having first heard it as a child during bedtime (although I cannot fathom how they would sleep peacefully after hearing it). The townspeople of Hamelin welshed on their commitment to pay the Piper, who left angrily vowing revenge. He returned and led the children away, and they were never to be seen again. Nonetheless, a few of the children were spared (depending on the version of the story being told). One child could not keep up with the others because he was lame, the other was blind and could not see where he was going, and another was deaf and could not be enchanted by the music (Ancient Origins, 2014).

You can read the entire assignment submission at this link:








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