Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Discovery at Little Hog Island, Part 37

Part 1, Part 36

"You might be interested in this," Rheta said, fishing a browned clipping out of the bottom of the heap in the folder.

"I can't read it," Dana said, mournfully. “It’s too faded.”

"Here, wait a sec." Rheta fished out a photocopy that must have been taken years ago. It too was yellowed and faded, but still legible.

Dana read it aloud to Ross, "Cletus Orgenmyer has been arrested and is awaiting trial for poaching the Hogs on Hog and Little Hog Islands. RCMP constable Josiah Elander reports that Orgenmyer has removed and sold every pig on the two islands. Myrtle Elander says the terns on the island will have a chance to recover from eggs and chick losses to the hogs, and suggests changing the name back to First Shipwreck Island and Second Shipwreck Island, as they were formerly called. Orgenmyer claims to be innocent of all charges and says he was framed by Elander."

"I have another clipping somewhere that says that Myrtle Elander hired Orgenmyer to kill the pigs because she wanted to save the terns and pigs were eating their eggs and chicks."

"How did the pigs get there?"

"Well, let me see if I can remember. It seems to me that long after the first settlement was abandoned, but before the lighthouse was built, another extended family tried to homestead the island and thought they could let their pigs run wild on the island, but they got so wild they couldn't catch them. They started on Little Hog Island but either swam the channel or were released there by someone. For a short time, they ran rampant on both islands and were decimating the tern population. It’s amazing to me that anyone cared. In a way. Those were different times."

"They never changed the name back," Ross observed.

"I guess they did, legally. But the Hog Island name stuck and eventually, they changed it back."

"So what happened to the settlement?" Dana asked.

"I guess there was a huge storm. Parts of the buildings were knocked down, nearly everyone was killed, and the meager crop they has was ruined. The few survivors went elsewhere."

"And the lighthouse?"

"The same. Apparently there was a little boy living there, the sole remaining child of the lighthouse keeper, who was a woman. She had been the wife of the keeper, but he’d been killed earlier and she stayed on, even after all her children but one were drowned. He was a painter. A painter and a poet. Both of them were killed in the storm that knocked down the lighthouse."

"I thought you weren't even sure it was a lighthouse," Dana said.

"Oh, that was on my first trip to the lighthouse site. I was pretty sure, even then. Since then, I've never really stopped researching. Not that it obsesses me or anything, I just keep an ear to the ground."

"Speaking of keeping an ear to the ground, do you have any idea why Garret wanted you to take my tent?" Dana asked.

Ross and Rheta exchanged glances.

"What's going on here? Do you know something that you're not sharing?"

Part 38

No comments: