Weasel was, admittedly, an odd pet but as Mother loathed pets it was as close to a pet as we were ever allowed to have. Being an entity of unknown origin Weasel would make all sorts of dreadfully rude noises at inappropriate moments which infuriated everyone always thought Weasel’s antics in the attic or the house were us. As Weasel grew ever bolder he roamed the upper rooms and then the lower rooms and then brazenly raced across the basement floor right after Maeve finishing scrubbing it leaving very strange paw prints. You could never ever see Weasel head on. Weasel was like the Shadow People, something you could only see out of the corner of one eye or fleetingly as a reflection in a mirror or paw tracks across a wet floor or flour tracks when he raced across the table as Maeve taught us to make bread.
Mother laid rat traps all over the house to no avail. Weasel was too clever. But Charlie lost a toe to a rat trap. The doctor who had to stitch up Charlie’s foot looked at Mother very strangely. Thereafter, whenever Mother beat us bloody we would whine ‘Doctor Jinks won’t like this!” But Mother never invited Doctor Jinks back and indeed changed doctors continuously so they could not keep track of our continuous bruises and bloody floggings. However, no one blamed Weasel. We all blamed Mother even if Weasel tormented her continuously. After all, Mother tormented us continuously. And she usually just flogged me anyway. But whenever she flogged me and locked me in the attic then Weasel just tormented her until she wept and locked herself in her bedroom. Weasel never bothered her in her bedroom so she would be encouraged to stay there and never come out. Then Weasel would run up the stairs and unlock the door so I could creep down to the nursery.
Weasel chattered more and more as he mimicked us. Soon he was able to chatter away quite fluently. The little ones sang nursery rhymes which Weasel repeated gayly. When Alex stuttered then Weasel sang the stutter away until Alex suddenly started laughing so hard he stopped stuttering. Mary sang and played the piano in the forbidden drawing room when Mother was out upbraiding the high street shopkeepers to extent her credit. She had to play around the missing piano wire that caused the piano to miss a note. Weasel did not mind. Weasel copied her singing until everyone laughed. . I read books and Weasel copied me. Maeve recited old country magic rhymes and Weasel copied her too. Weasel even took to calling us by name. Maeve decided that Weasel was a ‘Wee Little Person’ or Elf come to chase away the gloom of this gloomy house. Weasel laughed at that. “You will ever ever guess what I really am Maeve!” Weasel would replied laughing that odd laugh it had. Oddly, that funny laugh Weasel had always did seem to chase away the gloom of the dreadfully gloomy house. Somehow, we kids felt better, happier than we had been since Father died. Alex stopped stuttering. Charlie stopped sucking his thumb. Willie even stopped having bad dreams because Weasel would tickle him in his sleep to make him have laughing dreams. Mary and I stopped bickering. Perhaps Maeve was right and Weasel was a Wee Little Folk.
When Mary demanded to know where Weasel came from, demanding to see it’s calling card or else a formal letter of introduction, Weasel laughed. “You can’t trick Weasel that easy Mary!” But later Weasel sang “Weasel came from India in the pocket of Uncle Hogg’s pajamas! Oink! Oink! Mooo! Meow! Bowwow!”
Mary walked all the way to the library and borrowed a book on India. She held up each picture and pointed. “Is that you Weasel?”
But later Weasel sang “I am a Mongoose from India! I lived with a tall man with a green turban.
“Then make as sound of a Mongoose!” We challenged Weasel, laughing.
“Crook. Crook. Crook.”
“That is a frog!” Alex shouted gayly.
“Oink! Oink! Oink!”
“That is a pig!” Willie laughed gayly.
“That is a cat!” Charlie giggled.
“At least tell us when you were born!” Mary laughed.
“1728″ Weasel replied.
“That would make you ridiculously old!” Mary laughed.
“Then 1828″ Weasel purred. I flinched. I was terribly afraid that was indeed the correct year that Father and Her might have….. well… even children knew that storks did not bring babies.. But I did not say anything. I felt that trunk was officially secret and Weasel might not forgive me if I told everyone about the mummified baby wrapped in old newspapers in a doctor’s bag in the bottom of that trunk. And I suspected that if Weasel got mad or spiteful he could make our lives hell.