The protagonist was a young man about to head off to University to study maths (physics) and he's been awarded an important scholarship. He hears about experiments with tachyons going on at the university and manages to get an internship working for the project. He spends some months involved, getting close to the scientists and other students. The project leader is really charismatic.

He keeps seeing random children running around, and then on the day the device gets brought up to full power he sees a group of these children run out of the machine and never come back. The implication is made that these were the children stolen from Hamelin and that the project leader was the Pied Piper and the time machine was the source of the legend.

I read it in the late 1980's or early 1990's.

  • 1
    My father recently wrote a screenplay about a very similar topic. I am very interested to see if this is a potential source of unknown influence!
    – ZenLogic
    Aug 13, 2018 at 20:19
  • 1
    I think I read this, or one with a very similar theme. Were there adults in the book who were soulless, because the lost children were their souls? Aug 14, 2018 at 0:33
  • And I think one of the girls was called 'Hare'?
    – sueelleker
    Aug 21, 2018 at 11:25

1 Answer 1


Sounds like 'A present from Brunswick' (1951). Short story by John Wyndham. It's in the collection 'Jizzle' from 1954.

Wikipedia mentions:

[the story] sees the Pied Piper of Hamelin's enchanted pipe reappearing in America after World War II, with unforeseen consequences for the inhabitants of a small town.

  • 1
    Hi there! That seems like a possible answer indeed; I edited a basic summary I found on Wikipedia but if you have the original text, could you please edit in some quotes that match what the asker remembered? I can't seem to find it online and I'm curious :)
    – Jenayah
    Jan 3, 2019 at 23:03
  • It would be especially helpful to note whether or not you know of/recall the story involving time travel, as the original poster certainly thnks that's a significant element of the story they're looking for.
    – RDFozz
    Jan 3, 2019 at 23:17
  • @user14111 nice, I know what I'll do after work tonight. Thanks! :)
    – Jenayah
    Jan 4, 2019 at 5:37

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