Monday, June 26, 2006

The Piper Of Hamelin; The Judgment Of God

The state of TIAH

June 26th, 2006

in 1284, a man who claimed to be able to rid the German town of Hamelin of its rats struck a strange bargain with them – he would lure the rats away with the tunes from his pipe, and, if successful, the village would pay him 10,000 pieces of silver. If they failed to pay, he would do the same to their children. Amused at the audacity of this Pied Piper, the town fathers agreed to these terms, hoping for at least a little musical interlude among the squeaks of the rats crawling everywhere. When the piper began to play, though, they saw all the rats listen intently, and a great river of the little beasts began to flow from all corners of Hamelin towards the piper. When he was satisfied that he had all of the rats, he began walking to the Weser river, playing and dancing, followed by his own little army of rodents. Obviously enraptured by the music of this man, the rats didn't notice that they were drowning in the river until it was too late. The piper returned to the astonished townsfolk wet, but triumphant, and demanded his silver. They paid him quickly – a man of such obvious magical ability would be impossible to deny, they reasoned, and their children would follow him into the river as readily as the rats did.

in 1483, evidence is produced in Parliament that young Edward V, son of the late King Edward IV of England, is the product of a bigamous marriage, and therefore illegitimate and ineligible for the crown, as is his brother Richard. Their uncle, Richard of Gloucester, is urged by many nobles present to seize the crown for himself. Torn between love for his family and righteous indignation at the thought of a bastard on the throne of England, Richard proposes a compromise. He would adopt the boys as his own, rule as regent till Edward came of age, and then abdicate to the boy. After much wrangling, Parliament agreed to this, and Richard was crowned Richard III ten days later. He named Edward his son and heir, and upon his majority, willingly surrendered the crown to him. Richard’s reign is remembered for his fairness in civil matters and mercy to his enemies.

in 1807, a gunpowder factory in tiny Kirchberg, Luxembourg exploded violently after what surviving witnesses called “the judgment of God” struck it. Lightning from a clear sky hit the factory and destroyed it and large parts of the city around it in the resulting explosion. A local Catholic priest, Father Ludo Marberg, called it a sign from Heaven that God was displeased with Luxembourg's status as a vassal nation to the French Emperor Napoleon, and rallied most of the small country's men to his side. With the large amounts of ammunition that Napoleon had stored in their country, they fought a guerrilla war against the French, freeing their country and proving to be a thorn in Napoleon's side when the larger powers of Europe assembled against him later. After Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo, Father Marberg took control of Luxembourg and turned it into a theocracy to rival Vatican City, itself. There was a small movement within the church to have the Holy Father, as the Luxembourgers called him, named the next pope, but he died before the pope in Rome did. He was canonized almost immediately, and is the patron saint of Luxembourg and gunpowder.

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