Dear Mr Key, writes Tzipi Blankette, again, Thank you very much for the helpful information about the little stint. I now wish to raise a completely unrelated matter. I read with great interest your piece on the feeding of a pigtape, and I find myself in something of a quandary. I would very much like to obtain a pet pigtape for my tiny infant, Bathsheba, but I have been told in no uncertain terms by a number of religious and spiritual authorities that she does not have a soul. One particularly forbidding Jesuit announced, in a booming voice, that little Bathsheba is the spawn of the devil. Apparently, it is rare for a baby to be born with vivid markings resembling the number 666 emblazoned atop their skull. Now she is some six years of age, her hair has grown and the markings are no longer visible, but Father Tonguelash S.J. says this makes no difference.
Spawn of the devil or no, it does seem to be the case that Bathsheba is soulless, for her innards have been examined with probes, plungers, x-ray scanners, and geothermal imaging systems, and in among all the bones and veins and tissue and sinew and liver and lights etcetera there is indeed no sign of anything resembling a soul, which as we know is about the size and shape and colour of a plum tomato, though intangible and shimmering and glorious and immortal in a way that a plum tomato is not. That being so, Bathsheba has no suitable home in which a pigtape might nest, but I so want her to have one, especially now she is going to kindergarten. You know what children are like, and I fear she will be teased mercilessly.
Please let me know if there is any advice you can give a poor addled parent at this difficult time. Yours even more sincerely than yesterday, Tzipi Blankette.
Well, Tzipi, I suggest you ignore the Jesuits and just go ahead and buy a pigtape for your daughter. Most townlets have a pigtape supplier, usually located down one of the less salubrious alleyways near the railway station. Pigtapes may need a few days to acclimatise themselves to their new environment. Set aside a small nook or cranny in your home to settle the pigtape in, and before bringing it home lay out plenty of newspaper and throw the windows open. Place in the nook a small box or carton, lined with a scrap of fabric taken from a piece of clothing worn by its new owner, in this case Bathsheba. Some wool from one of her bonnets would be ideal. To help the pigtape get used to its new surroundings, avoid making loud noises or sudden movements in the vicinity of the carton. When it has had a few days to adjust, you can introduce it to Bathsheba gently, for two or three minutes at a time. If she is clutching in her little fist a leaf of lettuce, a radish, or some breadcrumbs, all the better. It is also a good idea to put out a saucer in which you can pour the dregs from a can of Squelcho!, but make sure Bathsheba doesn’t lap this up herself. After a few days, or weeks, or months, or in some cases even years, the pigtape will be thoroughly at home, and will creep, grunting, to its permanent nest, or sty, when you are not looking.
NOTE : Mr Key wishes to thank Miss Dimity Cashew for her help with pigtape advice.