Tanith Lee’s Paid Piper is an interesting twist on the tale of the Pied Piper. Cleci, a woman in the town of Lime Tree, meets a handsome and mysterious man, the Piper. He plays beautiful songs and the townspeople, having a festival for the rat god Raur, invite him to play. He plays, but in return does not want gold or materials, he wants the townspeople to stop worshipping Raur and worship the Piper instead. They are highly against this idea, and in return for their stubbornness, the Piper puts a curse on the town where no new babies will be born. Cleci has always been willing to worship the Piper instead, and is therefore allowed to have babies.
I liked this story because it still includes rats, children, and a mysterious Piper, but adds the main character Cleci and her being enticed by him. I also liked the difference between the Piper leading the children away from the town in the original story, and the Piper not allowing any new children to be born in Tanith Lee’s version.