This weeked flint died. It was a rather interesting experience. Flint was a
Russian hamster (real name flin - but his teet had a rather cutting edge).
Now although I didn't particularly mind flint, I can't say I particularly
like having rats in the house - it's that pungent odour that wafts your way
as you watch TV and the way, hamsters insist on staying asleep all the time
the children are awake, and waking up just in time for all the later night
To put it further in context, we are about to get some hatching eggs and as
cockerals don't lay eggs, half the chickens will not be living long ... and
guess who will do the dispatching. Which makes it all the more strange that
having found flint unconscious, cold, but still limp and so presumably alive
in his tube I spent a good two hours trying to coax him back into life.
Unlike my own hamster which I kept as a batchelor, and simply flushed down
the loo when it committed suicide, for flint I made a nice "coffin" out of
cereal box, took my son out into the garden, asked him where he would like
Flin buried and duly dug a 40cm hole and gently laid the rat in it. I spoke
a few words about how good a friend he had been (which is what I find so
incredible - the compulsion to have a ceremony) and then put back the earth
trying to restrain my gardener's instinct to jump on it - which would
flatten the coffin.
Now of course my son wants something to mark the grave. A cross would be the
obvious choice, but a bit ironic given my views on the Roman Penchant of
torturing people to death. A simple marker engraved "Flin" would be next
best - but best of all would be none and anything would interfere with the
The question I would appreciate an answer to, is why I went to all the
trouble over this "rat"? - When if I kill the cockerals, we will eat them
and boil up the bones, which like the hens we had were put in the dustbin
when they died.
Is this final ceremony a way of providing one total and final "caring"
gesture to reassure we have completed our social obligation to care?
(although my son was never very good at cleaned his cage!) And, if we do it
for the hamster, will I have to do it for the chickens? - Or don't we have a
social obligation to our food?