Many years ago in the land of Luna there lived a young otter named Markly. Everyday Markly would follow his father, Caill to work on his damn. Markly wanted to learn everything his dad knew about building damns. You see, Caill was a master builder and had won the timbla for the strongest and most well crafted damn in all of Luna.
A timbla is a branch from the Timblam tree. None of the otters in Luna had ever seen a Timblam tree but its legend had been passed down through generations. The legend started 200 years ago with the great Wolf Roam. The wise otter, Saymerla had heard that a large pack of wolves were traveling through Luna and instructed all the otters to work on their damns. The otters worked diligently but it wasnít long before the Wolf Roam entered Luna and brought hundreds of hungry wolves. When the roam ended there was one damn that survived the attacks and saved many otters in Luna. When the builder was asked where he found such strong wood, he described the Timblam tree. It was a tree as tall as the sky but brilliant crimson branches (timblas).
Since the great Wolf Roam only one timbla remained and Caill proudly displayed it in his damn. He would tell Markly to look at its magnificent color and how it was such a great honor. Markly would stare at the timbla for hours and wonder how strong it really was. One day curiosity got the best of Markly and he decided to remove the timbla and tests its strength. All day he performed tasks to test its strength and was amazed to find it never even bent under pressure. When Markly was satisfied he heeded home with the timbla and carefully searched for its exact place in the damn and tried to replace it but to his dismay the timbla would not stay. Night fall and Markly became worried that if he left the timbla during the night it would get swept away in the stream. So Markly brought the timbla into the damn, hiding it from his father.
The next day Caill went out to admire the damn and noticed the timbla was missing. He became angry with the thought that someone had stolen the timbla and went into town to confront the other otters. While Caill was gone, Markly worked feverously to replace the timbla but was unsuccessful. Night fell again and Caill returned home without the criminal. As Caill became obsessed with finding the culprit, Marklyís guilt grew and their damn began to show signs of its neglect.
One night as the moon climbed the night sky, Markly and Caill slept, exhaustedly. That night a pack of hungry wolves happen to be walking by the stream and saw the tattered damn. With one quick glance, they got in position and attacked the damn. Markly and his father woke quickly to the sound of the scratching. They knew they had to flee, as the damn was in no shape to hold back the wolves. Luckily, Caill was renowned not just for the strength of his work but also its design. He had created an escape path which allowed the two otters to escape. Once safely away from the wolves, Markly confessed to taking the timbla. Caill was disappointed in Markly but also in himself for not neglecting the damn and putting them in danger. The next day Caill began repairs on their damn and showed Markley how to easily replace the timbla.
Moral: 1) It is better to correct a problem early rather than let it escalate. 2) Sometimes the solution to a difficult task can be found simply by talking with the user that routinely performs the task. 3) Do not focus too heavily one aspect of the project because itís easy to lose sight of the goal and cause the project to fail.
These stories are adapted examples written in my class, IS 6840 (formerly MSIS 488).
© Vicki L. Sauter. All rights Reserved.