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Fiber Fairy Tales

Besides for its beautiful palaces, parks, and the Documenta international contemporary art exhibition (starting June 16!), the German town of Kassel is renowned for the Brothers Grimm who lived and worked there in the early 19th century.

Both brothers were professors of language. To preserve historic data, they took the task upon themselves to write down traditional German folk stories. I’m sure you’re familiar with tales such as Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, the Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella.

Cinderella Castle A 600 km long Fairy Tale Road runs from the town of Bremen (the Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany) to Hanau (near Frankfurt), passing many sites and gingerbread towns that have contributed stories to the brothers Grimm archives. It is a popular route with both young and old children.

Based on tales in the public domain, these folk stories often also include the less positive side of human nature: Only the Disnificated versions have happy endings.

One of the darker stories is that of the Pied Piper of Hamelin (German: Hameln): A tale about a piper that uses his magic flute to rid the town of Hamelin from the burden of a rat plague. The town magistrates, however, refuse to recognise his effort and deny him his fee. In response, the piper uses his magic to lead all the children away from the town, never to return.

Although related to an actual event from the 13th century, the moral lessons of the Pied Piper story are still applicable in today’s world. The same appears to be true for the rat plague part.

Some weeks ago, our operations organization received fault reports about fiber outages in Germany. Several rats apparently managed to dig or chew their way through the concrete and metal isolated walls of an optical amplifier station.
Once on the inside, they developed an appetite for dark fiber connections, with a special preference for Italian fibers. It’s unclear if these fibers offered the rat family a higher nutritional value than other fibers.

It will not come as surprise to you, that the site of this event happens to be along the German Fairy Tale route, only a short distance away from the town of Hamelin. Luckily, our field support organization has several modern pipers standby on a 24x7 basis, so the damaged fibers have been replaced and repeat will be avoided by installing new overhead duct trays for these tasty fibers.

The only thing that still needs to be done is to get rid of the rats. We will probably outsource their animal-friendly evacuation to a specialised company.
As long as we don't forget to pay the bill we won’t have to worry about our kids.

Gert Nieveld, 07/05/22


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