he Reed or Broom has always been associated with music, mainly because of its use in the making of pipes and flutes. The Greek God Pan for example played a Reed pipe. In mythology we know the story of Pan and Apollo who entered into a contest with one another to determine who could play the sweetest music. Pan played his panpipes while Apollo played his lyre. Pan was chosen as the winner which in turn angered Apollo who in his rage turned Pan into half man and half goat.
Pan is thought to be the offspring of Hermes. He was thought to haunt the woodlands, hills and mountains. Pan was known for dancing through the woods playing his pipes. He was somewhat of a lusty leader of the satyrs and loved nothing better than to chase nymphs. He was often associated with Dionysus for this reason. Pan’s symbol was the phallus and of old he was invoked for the fertility of flocks or an abundant hunt.
In folklore the Pied Piper of Hamelin also played a magical tune on a pipe made from reed. It was this song that was said to rid a town of a plague of rats. It was said that in 1284 the Pied Piper was hired to rid the town of Hamelin of a plague of rats. He walked through the streets playing a magical tune on his pipe. When the rats heard the music they would follow him. The piper then led the rats all the way to the banks of the river Weser where all the rats fell into the water and drowned. The town council then refused to pay the piper for his work.
The piper then walked the streets again only this time he played a different tune. On hearing the music he played, all the children in town began to follow him as he led them out of town and into the foothills of the mountains. They were led to a secret entrance into the mountains where they entered and vanished never to be seen again. After this disappearance the spirits of the piper and the children are to forever haunt the town of Hamelin.