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Rats rampant in Hamelin, break fountain

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This rat prefers chocolate. Photo: DPA
12:03 CEST+02:00
Of all the cables powering all the fancy fountains in all the towns in all the world, rats have chosen to gnaw through those in Hamelin, the German city famed for its rat catcher legend.

If anyone was in doubt about the Brothers Grimm fairytale which told the story of how the pied piper rid the town of its rats, proof that rodents still roam the Lower Saxony town can be found in the chewed cables and broken fountain.

The story has it that the last rodent left town in 1284 hot on the heels of the piper who led to them to River Weser where they drowned. He later returned and stole the town's children in revenge for not having been paid for his rat-catching services.

And although Hamelin still employs a - regularly paid - rat catcher, his role is ceremonial and involves more piping than rat catching.

Now the pesky rodents have made their presence felt by ruining the fountain near the town's station.

“Rats bit through the electric cable,” Thomas Wahmes, spokesman for the town council, told the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

It seems the rats are attracted to the area by food that people sitting near the fountain scatter for birds, he said.

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The Local/hc

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