Chi non ha amato la favola del pifferaio di Hamelin da bambino? Io moltissimo ed è per questo che ho scelto di leggere Wild Magic e non sono rimasta affatto delusa.
Poi ho inquadrato meglio la situazione ed ho scoperto di trovarmi proprio a Hamelin e che il pifferaio era un bellissimo ragazzo vestito di verde e turchese. Infine Cat ha attirato l'attenzione su Jakob, che sarà il grande protagonista della storia… anche se all’inizio non sembra. A poco a poco ho conosciuto gli abitanti di questo paese e in men che non si dica mi sono accorta che tutti i bambini di Hamelin erano stati intrappolati dal pifferaio in un luogo inaccessibile. Tutti tranne uno... Jakob naturalmente.
L’abilità di Cat Weatherill in questa versione rivisitata della favola dei fratelli Grimm è proprio quella di partire dalla tradizione per deviare successivamente percorrendo strade nuove e impreviste.
Ho anche trovato su YouTube una film di animazione del 1981 che mi è sempre piaciuto moltissimo, in cui la poesia di Browning accompagna le immagini. Ha la particolarità di essere stato girato con la tecnica del claymation che va molto di moda recentemente. Peccato che sia in tre parti:
Who didn’t love the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin as a child? I did… I adored it and that’s one of the reasons why I decided to read Wild Magic by Cat Weatherill… and I was not disappointed at all! The beginning is simply delightful: while I was clinging to the suggestion of the fairy tale I found myself in the role of a child following the piper’s music like under a spell. I mean… I felt like being launched into the most interesting part of the story. Then I tried to frame the situation and I found myself right in the streets of Hamelin and the piper was a terribly handsome boy dressed in green and turquoise. Then Cat drew my attention to little Jakob, who’s the great hero of the story… even if you don’t have that impression at the beginning. One by one I met the inhabitants of Hamelin and I found out that all the children had been trapped in an out-of-reach place. All except one… little Jakob, of course. Cat Weatherill’s expertise in starting from tradition and then diverting to take new and unpredictable directions is the main feature of this revisited version of Grimm’s fairy tale. What I found peculiar in Cat Weatherill’s style –while I was reading the book- was the number of similes from the animal world: from time to time some behaviours and emotions were compared to those of animals (e.i. like a wolf, like a hare, like a donkey, like sheep…). Then I understood it was probably related to the fact that the piper turned all the children into animals. Why? It seems he was the victim of a spell, too. Actually, a curse. The truth is that we are reading the story of a child rather than that of a piper. Why is Jakob so special? He was born of a man and an elf and he’s deformed. He walks using a crutch but, as soon as he enters the magic world of Elvendale, his crutch turns out to be magic. He’s the one to take the curse on himself, setting the piper free. Cat Weatherill is a very skilled storyteller… with a powerful imagination, great descriptive abilities and with a nose for fairy tales: there are in fact allusions to Pinocchio, Beauty and the Beast, the Wizard of Oz. I’ll never forget places like Elvendale, the Whispering Forest and Hamelin itself. After reading the book I surfed the net because I wanted to deal with the origins and development of the Pied Piper’s story in my post, but I soon came across the Wikipedia pages on the subject –both English and Italian- and I thought… well… that’s it: there’s the plot of the story, a section on historical events happened in the German village of Hamelin, a section on literary works inspired by the tale with the obvious and due references to Browning’s beautiful poem. Finally, there’s a section for cinematic adaptations and literary versions. Just when you think the page is over you can find the most interesting links such as the Wikimedia Commons page on the Pied Piper (bottom right corner): it’s a collection of images, stamps, postcards, statues and pictures related to the story. The most useful thing about those images is that they are free of copyright restrictions, i.e. everyone can use them for presentations, lessons, etc. The Italian page of Wikipedia on the Pied Piper has also an important link to IMDB (The Internet Movie Database, which is a very complete archive of information about movies) where there are pages on the cinematic versions of the story from 1903 to the most recent ones. You can also find the link to Browning’s complete poem… for those who are nostalgic –like me. Wikipedia and Wikicommons spared me considerable time, so I decided to explore recent illustrations of the tale. I didn’t have any doubts about it… I immediately visited DeviantArt. It’s a sort of community of artists who share online their works and to me it’s a kind of top hat from which I can pull out amazing things. Just type a keyword in the Search Bar and you’ll get access to a fantastic monothematic universe. Here is a gallery of my favourite results for Pied Piper, Yuuza’s being the most similar to the Piper as described by Cat.
I also found my favourite animated film on YouTube: you can listen to Browning’s lines as you watch the animated story. It was filmed in claymation, that has recently come in vogue.
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