Pied Piper character jug modeled by Geoff Blower and produced by Royal Doulton of Burslem, England, between 1954-1981. The mysterious piper wearing a pied, or partially-colored suit, first appeared in a medieval legend, but it was Robert Browning's poem of the Pied Piper that popularized the tale. Written in 1845, it tells of a strange fellow who appears in the village of Hamelin, Germany, and offers to rid the town of its plague of vermin for 1,000 gilders. This he does by bewitching the rats with his magic pipe; but when the reward is unpaid, he returns to entrance the town's children and lure them away as well. As he plays his tune, they follow him, skipping and dancing to a mountain where they disappear. The legend is thought to have its roots in the Children's Crusade of 1212 when 40,000 German children set off across the Alps for Italy. Another possible origin is the bubonic plague of the seventeenth century that affected both rats and children. Browning's subtitle for his poem, "A Child's Story", has led to the appearance of this gruesome tale in many children's books. Three brown rats atop pipe form the handle of this jug. Along with this large size, a small size (D6462) and miniature size (D6514) were also produced.