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Crazy Literary Fact: Rats Reinfest Hamelin

Jeevan Sivasubramaniam Posted by Jeevan Sivasubramaniam, Managing Director, Editorial, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.



Crazy Literary Fact: Rats Reinfest Hamelin

The Pied Piper of Hamelin is a famous fairy tale about a notorious piper who helps the town of Hamelin rid itself of a particularly nasty rat infestation problem. But sometimes fiction becomes fact.

In a twist of pure literary irony, the town of Hamelin became a tourist attraction because of the fairy tale, but the influx of tourists also resulted in more garbage and trash strewn about the streets by said tourists. Hamelin is a small town without the public works and cleaning resources of a large city and so faced great difficulty in maintaining the public spaces. And so with all of the garbage came, inevitably and yet ironically, a rat infestation problem.