In the town of Hamelin the Mayor was plagued by a horde of rats. Everywhere he turned the townsfolk complained about the rats stealing their food, biting their children and destroying their properties.
After a heated town meeting the Mayor contacted a renowned rat charmer, a Pied Piper who agreed to visit Hamelin. On doing so he demanded a sum of one hundred thousand gold florins to rid Hamelin of its infestation, a sum far beyond the towns resources.
Disheartened the Mayor walked home but got lost and found himself down a dark alley. At the end glowed a low light and a shop window. the sign above it read Potions and Plagues. He found himself pushing the door open and a tinkling bell quickly summoned a bent over man leaving heavily on a stick
The Mayor explained the problem and the man smiled and pointed to a golden rat in the window.
"Take the golden rat and hold it above your head. March around the town anti clockwise three times and then when you get the bridge, hurl the rat as far as you can. If you truly believe the rats will all drown."
The Mayor was doubtful , but asked the man how much.
"Thirty gold florins" came the reply.
The Mayor shrugged and handed over the coins as he felt he had nothing to lose. The next morning he found himself marching around the town, golden rat held aloft. The townsfolk pointed and scoffed but then came a rumbling of feet as thousands of rats began to follow the Mayor. Having followed the Mayor around the town three times he made it to the bridge, whereupon he hurled the rat far into the middle of the fast flowing waters. The rats followed and drowned.
The Mayor was hoisted on the shoulders of the townsfolk and paraded around the streets. Eventually, a little the worse for wear from celebrating he found himself again outside Potions and Plagues.
He pushed the door open and walked in. The wizened old man, as if by magic, appeared again.
"You have returned sir. I am afraid if the golden rat did not work then it is your belief that failed, not its power." He tapped. a sign above his head the Mayor had not previously seen, that read "No refunds".
"No No!" said the `Mayor. "It was just as you said. In fact I wondered , how much is that Golden Manchester United Fan in the window?"