Alas, Uncle seemed to be as entirely unconcerned with what Mig wanted as her mother and father had been.

Miggery Sow called the man who purchased her Uncle, as he said she must. And also, as he said she must, Mig tended Uncle’s sheep and cooked Uncle’s food and scrubbed Uncle’s kettle. She did this all without a word of thanks or praise from the man himself.

Another unfortunate fact of life with Uncle was that he very much liked giving Mig what he referred to as “a good clout to the ear.” In fairness to Uncle, it must be reported that he did always inquire whether or not Mig was interested in receiving the clout.

Their daily exchanges went something like this:

Uncle: “I thought I told you to clean the kettle.”

Mig: “I cleaned it, Uncle. I cleaned it good.”

Uncle: “Ah, it’s filthy. You’ll have to be punished, won’t ye?”

Mig: “Gor, Uncle, I cleaned the kettle.”

Uncle: “Are ye saying that I’m a liar, girl?”

Mig: “No, Uncle.”

Uncle: “Do ye want a good clout to the ear, then?”

Mig: “No, thank you, Uncle, I don’t.”

So poor Mig went from a neglectful caregiver to an outright abusive one. This girl just never gets a break.

The discussed clout to the ear was always delivered . . . delivered, I am afraid, with a great deal of enthusiasm on Uncle’s part and received with absolutely no enthusiasm at all on the part of Mig.

These clouts were alarmingly frequent. And Uncle was scrupulously fair in paying attention to both the right and left side of Miggery Sow. So it was that after a time, the young Mig’s ears came to resemble not so much ears as pieces of cauliflower stuck to either side of her head.

And they became about as useful to her as pieces of cauliflower. That is to say that they all but ceased their functioning as ears. Words, for Mig, lost their sharp edges. And then they lost their edges altogether and became blurry, blankety things that she had a great deal of trouble making any sense out of at all.

That strikes me as an apt metaphor for hearing loss. But it only gets worse from there.

The less Mig heard, the less she understood. The less she understood, the more things she did wrong; and the more things she did wrong, the more clouts to the ear she received, and the less she heard. This is what is known as a vicious circle. And Miggery Sow was right in the center of it.

Which is not, reader, where anybody would want to be.

But then, as you know, what Miggery Sow wanted had never been of much concern for anyone.

Until next time…

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