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Copyright (C) 1997; Janet MacKay First UK Serial Rights
Tales of Hamish Iain Iye Haggis, Q.C.
(Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada)
by Janet MacKay

Chapter 1 - Hamish in Point Pleasant Park

"Ah, this is good!" said Hamish to himself, as he snuggled beneath a cluster of heather bushes near the Soldiers' Monument. Getting that far into Point Pleasant Park was never easy for any haggis, but Hamish knew paths that few humans trod and he came here often.

Like the Haggai, heather is native to Scotland. Scottish soldiers stationed in Halifax after it was founded in 1749 were posted at the Park, to keep watch over Halifax Harbour activity. When they shook out their bedrolls, heather seeds fell to the ground and took root. Today heather grows freely in the Park. The largest heather fields surround the Soldiers' Monument which honours soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice during the great wars.

Hamish often went to the southern tip of the Park, and spent hours gazing out towards the harbour mouth. The lighthouse on Devils Island fascinated him, with its soothing beam of light at frequent intervals. This is the beginning of the sea route from Halifax to the world, and that world includes Scotland. Hamish spent the past year planning a trip to Scotland, and his departure was drawing near.

For now, Hamish was content to rest among the heather and munch on heather seeds which had fallen to the ground. There were always enough to feed a haggis, without depleting the seed needed for next year's crop of heather.

Folks strolling through the park, or stopping to build fires in the barbecue pits by the shore, could not see the haggai who frequented the heather fields. But Hamish could easily see them, when he peered beyond the trunks of the heather plants.

A father and son held firmly on a string as they guided their kite into the sky. Another family were gathered around the fire they built in a barbecue pit. Even in the heather patches Hamish could smell the aroma of steak sizzling over the flames, but it did not tempt him. Haggai are vegetarians, and heather seeds are what they like best.

It was time for a snooze. Hamish curled up under heather bushes beneath some low brush where tall trees stood. No one could detect him here, but he could see the sky and the soft white clouds. Soon he would be in Scotland. He thought of Great-Aunt Sophie, and the stories she told him during his last visit to the mother country. He looked forward to her cheery smile, and to her tasty scones which she baked over an open fire. Great-Aunt Sophie was the best of cooks.

Hamish was born in Nova Scotia (New Scotland in Sassenach tongue), in the Garden of Eden of southern Pictou County. As an adventurous young haggis, he often went to the Garden of Eden cemetery where a life-size statue of Mary Sutherland in her wedding dress stood on top of the tombstone which guarded her grave. Hamish's ancestors came to Pictou County on the Ship Hector in 1773, and settled near Eden Lake. These pioneer haggai named the area `Garden of Eden' after the first home of the haggai, the original Garden of Eden where Gaelic was the spoken tongue (though the serpent was speaking English).

Fate played a cruel trick on Hamish's parents. They accepted an invitation to a banquet honouring Rabbie Burns' birthday one January, and were never seen since. Sinister tales of dining on *real* haggis meat were told by those at the banquet. Hamish, now orphaned as a young teen-age haggis, found compassionate humans to give him shelter and a home. To ensure that everyone Hamish met knew that he belonged with these kind humans, they gave him their personal names. Today, he is known as Hamish Iain Iye Haggis, Q.C.

The Q.C. distinction, Hamish earned himself. A sassy, fun loving haggis with a big heart and much haggis sense, Hamish is a favourite among his kith and kin *and* the humans whom he trusts. They often shake their heads at his latest antics, but admit he is "Quite Cute".

In the summer of 1979, during the first International Gathering of the Clans in Nova Scotia, The Hon. George Haggis, awarded Hamish the Quite Cute (Q.C.) distinction, in a ceremony beside the MacDonald cairn in the Garden of Eden. Great-Aunt Sophie had come to Nova Scotia for the momentous occasion and, at the request of Hon. George Haggis, pinned the Q.C. medal on Hamish's lapel following the tributes and speeches made in his honour.

Beneath the heather bushes, Hamish was soon sound asleep. The fresh sea breeze wafted over him, and soothed his slumber. The sea gulls squawked a lullaby. Hamish dreamed of Great-Aunt Sophie, and of his cousins in Scotland. There was much to do before he embarked on his journey, but today was a day of rest.

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