Today it’s all about the animals and as our trusty steeds have thus far carried us 297 km from Hanau, we are in need of a change of horses. So we are making a quick stop at the ruined castle in Polle, where our hostess, Cinderella, has enlisted her doves (she doesn’t have a fairy godmother in Grimm) to provide a new carriage.
Off we go and now it’s all about avoiding the rats as we approach Hamelin in Lower Saxony. Fortunately we’re not time-travelling and so we don’t find ourselves in the midst of the bubonic plague, or a recruitment drive for the children’s crusade or even a mass emigration into Eastern Europe – all of which are hypotheses for the historical event which gave rise to the legend. What is clear is that the tale of the Pied Piper of Hamelin sends a chill through my heart. I can feel the parents’ devastation and I could weep for that poor disabled boy on crutches, left all alone. His childhood just got so much more difficult.
Best move on quickly before I start weeping. How about some animal magic. What do a donkey, a dog, a cat and a rooster have in common?
Apart from the fact that they talk, can make a lot of noise and are excellent at evicting robbers. They are, of course, the Musicians of Bremen, who now reside in the centre of the city, and whose statue, 600 km (370 miles) from Hanau, constitutes the end of the official Fairy Tale Road.
Our trip, however, does not end here. We have one more surprise stop to make on this Grimm Readathon and it’s another 800 km away. Just as well Cinders loaned us a magical carriage …..