Title: Paid Piper
Author: Tanith Lee
In: Red as Blood (Tanith Lee)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Fairy tales, Retellings
Dates read: 23rd October 2019
Format: Short story
5th sentence, 74th page: And Raur’s image would be taken out of its sanctuary, though veiled – the Lime Treeans were only permitted to look at him face to face on special occasions – and up and down the byways on the shoulders of his priests.
The Piper has come to help the small town celebrate their yearly festival. But, when they refuse to stop worshipping a false god, he quickly turns cruel.
The Piper has always kind of freaked me out from fairy tales. No matter how much the tale has been Disney-fied, it’s still kind of dark and twisted. After all, it’s a man that steals an entire town’s children and skips off into the sunset with them. Plus, I find the sound of a flute a little haunting and creepy.
Tanith Lee takes that creepy aspect of the original fairy tale and makes it a little more plausible. It’s still entirely creepy, still makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable. But, now there is sympathy for the piper. And understanding for his actions, no matter how dark they are. It’s this ability to turn something that I thought I knew so well that drew me into this collection completely. And now I can’t wait to continue onwards with the Red as Blood collection.
Paid Piper is a little melanchology, quite a bit dark and a really nice read. The perfect fairy tale retelling to read just before bed time… if you want to be slightly unsettled, but not entirely freaked out. Although, I think that that’s mostly because of the true creepiness of the original fairy tale.