Monday, December 17, 2012

Der Rattenfaenger is (not quite) 200!

It's a well-known fact that in London one is supposed to never be more than about 6 feet from a rat. That would be genus rattus rather than genus homo. It's an unpleasant thought, especially for anyone who's ever read any James Herbert novels. Thank goodness for the BBC News page! In a current article they utterly debunk this myth, proving that in fact at any given moment anywhere in the United Kingdom one is most likely a whopping 164 feet from a rat. Read it here.

NB I got all excited when the article noted that the Brothers Grimm story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, aka Der Rattenfaenger von Hameln was 200 years old this year. However, this may not be the case. although the first book of Grimms' Fairytales was published (as Kinder und Haus Maerchen) in 1812, I think that the Pied Piper appears in their next volume, Deutsche Sagen, which was published in 1816. In which case, we must defer all rat-related celebrations for another 4 years.

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