“I will obey you as a scholar obeys his master”
Each of the critters responds to the Strange Musician in this way, to which he replies “follow me.” Then he leads each down the path into, well, (spoiler alert) something unpleasant.
One can wander beyond the frame of the trickster shapes into a revolutionary theme. If a student only does exactly as the master, then the individuality is lost. The hidden message of the Strange Musician might be this: don’t lose yourself in imitation.
The animals being at least somewhat crude and also from the natural realm, desire to learn from the civilis(z)ed being the ways of art and specifically music; however, we could truncate the path to an easier end: if you follow a scholarly master, you will fall into a trap.
Then, the trap is inauthenticity, which each animal eventually escapes from.
“Whatever system that you adhere to, to it you must adhere, that is “stick” yourself. Through some mental force, whether it be by studious examination and logical conclusion or via foreclosure to ideas beyond the childhood ideologies installed within us by our parents. We must actively, either through continued research or continued sheltering, maintain these systems. For some of us, dwelling mindfully inside of such an enclosure of stories (be they historical, sociological, metaphorical, metaphysical, or even a melange of these) proves difficult; especially when it contradicts our experience. Others avoid this uncomfortable circumstance altogether through a mechanism commonly referred to as “denial”. Still others revel in travelling in an out of the structures, maintaining a plasticity of personality that is uncommon, adventurous, and useful for the traveller (though it may seem dangerous, dishonest, or irresponsible to others).” – Josh Kent