“But you need not fear John!” Grandmother continued quite merrily. “Authorities do not burn anyone for Second Sight now! This is the modern world! Nowadays Hoggs go to India, like me and my brothers, and make fortunes and become nabobs! Or do you think it was just chance that we all decided to got to India and become rich? India is the graveyard of many a fortune hunter my boy! But us Hoggs, being second sighted, could see the magic in the air and smell the way to money and prosperity!”
“Did you see Ganesha the Elephant God flying in the sky?” I asked dryly.
“Now John! Are you pulling my leg? If you really did learn your Indian myths then you surely must know that while elephants might have originally been born with wings they lost them a very long time ago when a herd of flying elephants landed a branch of a tree which broke under their weight, causing it to crash down, thus landing on top of a god who was sleeping underneath the branch, thus vexing him, thus causing him to curse Brahma for giving elephants wings, thus causing Brahma to correct his mistake of creation leaving elephants all over the world today wingless…..” Uncle Hogg grinned as one finger tapped one side of his nose.
“And Ganesha was born a beautiful baby god anyway” I added. “But his father Shiva, just arriving back home from his annual Dance of Destruction, saw his newborn son for the first time and laughed so loudly that Krishna, in a moment of mischief, turned the boy’s head into that of a baby elephant. But then Krishna laughed so loudly he forgot the spell he used and thus Ganesha stayed a baby with the head of an elephant and so he grow up. But his doting parents still saw him as so beautiful he grew up beloved and happy and thus became the god of wisdom and prosperity and the patron of traders and scribes and accountants and businessmen and therefore the patron of ‘John Company’.”
Uncle Hogg was impressed and clapped his hands as Grandmother hugged me. They, like Shiva and Parvati, saw nothing wrong with a deformity anyone else would abhor. Mother however, saw the elephant’s head ie the Hogg Second Sight on my forehead as clear as the third eye on Shiva’s forehead. Alas, she saw the third eye as the Mark of Cain. I had second sight. I had a magical third eye that saw what no normal person saw. That is why Mother lived in fear of me and the Hogg Clan she was born into. That was why she struggled so hard to not come back home. That was why she wept all the way to Hogg Heaven Seymour Street Lisburn City Ireland.
That night I knocked on Mother’s bedroom door but she did not let me in. I cried out “Oh Mother! When I grow up I will go to India and make lots and lots of money and give it all to you!”. But there was no answer. Then I went to the bedroom of my sister Mary and knocked. She did not let me in. I bent down and tried to look through the keyhole but she furiously turned the key to lock me out. “Mary. Mary. Please Mary. Don’t lock me out Mary. I have not changed. Nor you. Open the door Mary. Please.” But Mary did not open the door.
I went down the hall and found the little ones roughing it in a pillow fight. “Come in John! Join the fun!” Alex shouted, no stutter now. Willie and Charlie beamed at me. So I picked up a pillow and we waged such a pillow fight the pillows exploded into a cloud of feathers. Then guilty, we swept up the feathers in our hands and furtively hide them in a drawer. Uncle Hogg burst in furious!
“Damnation! You knaves! You had a pillow fight and you did not invite me! Roar!” Then he opened the drawer and threw the feathers around the round roaring with laughter. Later Alex asked “How did Uncle Hogg know?”
“Hogg Heaven” I replied.
I plunged into my studies with Ranjit Sahib to cover up the pain of my ejection by Mother and Mary. I guess I could see how Mother lived in terror of Hogg Heaven but Mary? Why did Mary turn against me? After all she loved Weasel didn’t see? And she had been a brick during the Ouija board seance. But the little ones were happy even though they were not that little anymore. Alex rolled with the punches just fine. His stutter did not come back or anything. Only Mary seemed to have shriveled up. I would raze her. “You are going to be a dried up old maid Mary if you go on wearing that lemon face!” but she just ignored me. Uncle Hogg pulled strings at the school to admit me before I was quite twelve. Ranjit Sahib said I was bright and fast in catching up. I could not explain to Uncle Hogg that I was always better one- on- one rather than in a school environment. I did not do good in school. After Gallstone School I feared the Royal School of Dungannon. But Uncle Hogg assured me this school was totally different. Alas his second sight rather failed him on that score.