Jul 20, 2010

Little Betty, the Poor Leper Girl

                                               (Verses below from The Pied Piper of Hamelin, by Robert Browning)


They fought the dogs, and killed the cats,
And bit the babies in the cradles,
And ate the cheeses out of the vats,
And licked the soup from the cook's own ladles,
Split open the kegs of salted sprats,
Made nests inside men's Sunday hats,
And even spoiled the women's chats,
By drowning their speaking
With shrieking and squeaking
In fifty different sharps and flats.

Once more he stept into the street
And to his lips again
Laid his long pipe of smooth straight cane;
And ere he blew three notes (such sweet
Soft notes as yet musician's cunning
Never gave the enraptured air)
There was a rustling that seemed like a bustling
Of merry crowds justling at pitching and hustling,
Small feet were pattering, wooden shoes clattering,
Little hands clapping, and little tongues chattering,
And, like fowls in a farm-yard when barley is scattering,
Out came the children running.
All the little boys and girls,
With rosy cheeks and flaxen curls,
And sparkling eyes and teeth like pearls,
Tripping and skipping, ran merrily after
The wonderful music with shouting and laughter.

The door in the mountain-side shut fast.
Did I say all? No! One was lame,
And could not dance the whole of the way;
And in after years, if you would blame
His sadness, he was used to say,--
"It's dull in our town since my playmates left!
I can't forget that I'm bereft
Of all the pleasant sights they see,
Which the Piper also promised me.
For he led us, he said, to a joyous land,
Joining the town and just at hand,
Where waters gushed and fruit-trees grew,
And flowers put forth a fairer hue,
And everything was strange and new;
The sparrows were brighter than peacocks here,
And their dogs outran our fallow deer,
And honey-bees had lost their stings,
And horses were born with eagles' wings:
And just as I became assured
My lame foot would be speedily cured,
The music stopped and I stood still,
And found myself outside the hill,
Left alone against my will,
To go now limping as before,
And never hear of that country more!

note: Robert Browning has it wrong. It was Little Betty, the Leper Girl, who was left outside the mountain when the other children disappeared. (See Geronimicus, volume IX, The True Truth About Hamelyn)

note also : ref http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/hameln.html#grimm245  for general folklorish references to the Pied Piper.

All verses from

The Pied Piper of Hamelin
by Robert Browning

Thanks to Aspa, for the idea of making children's blocks from recycled children's books.
Thanks to Ces who encourages us all to think of  Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights in her own work.
And thanks to Ginger Pixels who's amazing work constantly reminds me (guiltily) that I should make my work more child friendly - one day!

Thankyou for everyone who commented on my last work.
I will be back asap. One for a visit and two to thankyou personally.



  1. It is incredible how you make these worlds come together. You have such a great and unique style. I love the lighting, the charm and the mystery of your work. Bravo.

  2. Right. I'm gate-crashing this party! :))

  3. Hey Gina thankyou very much. I had fun with this one, but it too a long long time to make !!

    Amalia, I'm sure they would be all very happy to see you!



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