Trust me that they each were dead:
- One inhaled refrigerator insulation (Dad's negligence)
- The second had wet tail
- The namesake fell into a squirrel-dug hole and fell 16 feet before meeting another six (Dad's negligence)
- And the fourth died naturally
With the namesake, by the way, Dad actually named the namesake one to make us think that the name-honored one had survived. At least I give that he used minhag Ashkenazi, even though that wasn't exactly his intent.
What I don't give—or get—is his intent to deceive—which could be called both lashon hara and perhaps shem hara, maybe even chillul shem (and since we're discussing deceit here, chillul HaShem). Even worsely is that we—that is, my sister and I—found out about it only long after both the name honoree and the namesake had been deceased, and even long after the final hamster had been deceased—and we found out when we were having lunch with my father and my grandmother.
To sum this up, then:
- Dad allows Santa Little—whom, by the way, was named as a compromise for "Santa Claus" and "Stuart Little"—to dig a hole in the closet after escaping from his ball—and all of us agree that Dad should've gotten Santa out of the closet and back into the ball right away, as one cannot compromise wherein negligent rodenticide is involved.
- Dad lets the second Frisky meet a similarly-ignominious end after not even telling us that the first Frisky died of Wet Tail—let alone that he searched around for a similar-looking hamster to make us think that the first Frisky had survived—and then the second Frisky ends up meeting the kind of ending that the first overall hamster met.
- Dad lets Anastasia die naturally—because what better way to let a hamster die after her predecessors die is there, especially since she was named in honor of a princess whom was caught up in the middle of how her Anti-Semitic parents angered Lenin, Trotsky, and quite a few others?
A "tail" of four hamsters that has fur-flying irony, paradoxes, and plenty of "Oy veys!" to accompany it—and with the reflection that a third-generation pogrom survivor uses minhag in a bad way while he at least has no mishaps with the namesake of a secondary victim of Anti Semitism.
As I said, more shit and other stuff that I can't make up!
Meanwhile, at least Fudge (whose story I just read on the news and thus inspired me to recall the story of my own hamsters) is apparently living a sweet and warm life in contrast to the cold and bitter endings that my own hamsters met—though at least they all had decent levayot in my grandma's backyard!