As a special Christmas gift to all the fans of Hairy Pothead, I am releasing a new Weedster Fairy Tale called "The Girl Who Could Turn Hemp Into Gold."
Last week I also sent out a Weedster Pot Poem called "Green Buds and Hash."
These are both advance previews from a lavishly illustrated collection of of Weedster Fairy Tales which we aim to publish in late 2009.
The final book will include other stories, including Jack and the Magic Seeds, Blackbeard's Closet, Little Green Riding Hood, and The Pie-Eyed Piper of Petrolia.
Meanwhile, Hairy Pothead and the 420 Code is scheduled for release in Spring 2009.
Have a Merry-Juana Christmas and a Hempy New Year!
* * * * *
THE GIRL WHO COULD MAKE HEMP INTO GOLD
Once upon a time there was a poor peasant farmer who worked the land for the King. The farmer lived with his wife and daughter in a small hovel, and they grew hemp on their small plot of land. From the hemp they made food and fabrics, of which they gave most to the King, but they were allowed to keep a little for themselves.
One year, as she worked in the hemp field, the daughter found that her hands become sticky whenever she touched the flowers. Since this made her hands smell so delightful, she decided to keep the stickyness to make perfume, and so she rubbed her hands together and created a tiny ball. At the end of each day she rubbed off the stickyness from her hands, and each day the perfume ball grew a little larger.
By the time of the harvest season, the ball was as large as her fist. Then one evening her father spied her rubbing her sticky hands and adding to the ball, and so she told him what she had done.
"That is a fine perfume," said her father. "It reminds me somewhat of my sweetest tobacco. Come, let me try some in my pipe."
Then the peasant farmer drank the smoke of the fine perfume, and presently he smiled as if in a dream, and loudly pronounced it "as good as gold, and fit for a King."
As fate would have it, the King was passing by at that very moment, and he heard the words of the peasant farmer. Now he was a greedy King who loved nothing more than treasure, and so he commanded the man to come forth, and show him the gold of which he had spoken.
The farmer gave the King the perfume ball, which was indeed the color of unpolished gold.
"This is a strange gold indeed," said the King. "Where did you get this?"
"My daughter," replied the peasant. "She made it from hemp."
"Your daughter can make hemp into gold?" said the King, and he commanded her to be brought forth.
When the King saw that the maiden was young and fair, he took her and the golden perfume ball, and returned to his castle. There he locked the girl into a high tower, and had brought to her room a large bushel of hemp.
"You shall turn this into gold by morning," commanded the King. "Or else the headsman shall have your neck."
The poor girl wept as she lay alone on the cold floor, for she knew not what to do. But when she opened her eyes once more, she saw that a strange little man was now in the tower with her.
"My Queen," said the little man in an odd, high-pitched voice, "I can save you, but what will you give me in return?"
"I am no Queen," replied the maiden, "but I will give you anything, anything I have."
"Done and done," said the little man. "Now, eat of this cake and all will be well."
Trusting in his words, the maiden ate the cake, and fell into a deep sleep. When she awoke, the bushel of hemp was gone, and in its place was a small ball of the sticky, golden perfume.
When the King returned in the morning, and saw that the deed had been done, he was most overjoyed.
"This is marvellous indeed," said the King. And he told the girl how he had examined the ball during the night, and that at last he had put a piece into his pipe, and then fallen into a wonderful dream.
"I shall need more of this strange gold," said the King, and he brought the girl to a higher tower, putting her into a larger room, with seven bushels of hemp. He commanded her to turn them all into gold by morning, else she should lose her head.
Again the girl wept in despair, and when she opened her eyes there had once more appeared the little man. Again he offered to help, and again she promised him anything in return. He proferred a cake as he had before, which she ate and then fell into a slumber.
In the morning the King smiled and clapped his hands when he saw that all of the hemp had been replaced by a larger ball of gold.
Today the King's eyes were reddened, and the maiden asked him if he had been crying. But he confessed that he had piped another morsel of the gold that morning, which had somehow reddened his eyes, but also considerably improved his disposition.
"My wife, the Queen, died some years ago," said the King. "Since her death, I have been embittered, and came to love only gold. But this new gold has somehow opened my eyes and freed my heart to love once more."
"This strange gold is truly fit for a King," he continued, "and none shall have it but I. So come my dear, for one more night shalt thou toil as my servant, and then I shall make you my bride."
The King looked upon the maiden with kindliness and love, and then the maiden knew that she too loved the King, for she saw him becoming once again the good man he truly was.
That night the King placed her in a large, comfortable room, with fifty bushels of hemp.
"The gold you make this night will last me the rest of my life," said the King. "For as my Queen you shall never work again."
The door was not locked, but the girl did not wish to escape, for now her heart belonged to the King. So she cried out, and called for the little man, and presently he did appear.
For the third time they struck their bargain, and she promised him anything in return for his aid. But this time she did not eat the cake, and hid it instead, only pretending to fall asleep. She kept one eye open a sliver, and watched the proceedings before her.
Once he saw that the maiden was sleeping, the little man went to the corner of the room and opened a secret door in the floor, from whence he retrieved a number of objects.
Moving quickly and in silence, the little man used small stilts to prop up what at first appeared to be a rumpled set of skins, but was soon revealed as a sort of an upright canvas bag with two inner linings of silk. He filled the bag with water and ice, then quickly broke the flowering heads from off of the hemp, and placed them into the bag. He stirred the flowers into the ice water, then let it settle while he set up another set of bags.
Soon he had five sets going at once, and after each bag had been stirred and allowed to settle, he pulled out the top bag and disposed of the mushy green contents.
The girl watched in amazement as the little man removed the inner silken bag which now contained a muddy, wet gold. He set this aside to dry, and then repeated the whole procedure.
The little man worked throughout the night, extracting the golden perfume from the hemp flowers using only iced water and his ingenious bags of silk and canvas. Before the dawn came he was done, with everything cleaned up and him and all his tools gone back down the secret tunnel. All that he left was a very large ball of the golden perfume, and a note which read "I will return in one year to claim on your promise." The girl took the note and hid it away.
The King cried with joy when he saw the great golden ball. Then he pronounced his true love for the maiden, and they were wed that very day.
The King and Queen were very much in love, and soon the Queen fell pregnant, and bore a fine son. But while the babe was still a suckling and only days from the womb, the little man appeared before the Queen, and reminded her of the promise she had made.
"Anything is what you promised me," said the little man. "Thrice you promised me anything you had. So now I come to claim my prize." He pointed at the infant. "I will take your son."
"No!" cried the Queen. "Anything but that. Gold and jewels I can give you aplenty. But do not take my child."
"Will the Queen break her promise, thrice given?" asked the little man.
Just then the King entered, and seeing the little man, ordered him arrested as an intruder.
"I am no thief," said the little man. "It is your wife, the Queen, who seeks to break her promise, thrice given in her time of need."
The King asked the Queen of what the little man spake, and she replied that she had indeed promised him anything for which he might ask.
"Then you may have the child," said the King, "for the Queen will never break her promise. But the child shall then become an orphan, as you have entered my castle without permission, and the penalty for this is death."
"If you slay me," said the little man, "then the secret of the perfumed gold shall be lost, for I alone possess the knowledge of its making."
"You are wrong," laughed the King. "My wife the Queen knows how to make the perfumed gold from hemp."
"Most surely she does not," replied the little man.
"A wager then," said the King. "If the Queen can make the gold from hemp, then the child remains and your life is forfeit. If she cannot, then the child and my kingdom is thine."
"Done and done," said the little man. "And now we shall see."
And so a bushel of hemp was brought forth, which the King asked the Queen to fashion into gold.
The little man's smile faded as the Queen commanded that water and ice be fetched, along with stilts and lengths of canvas and silk.
Soon the Queen had fashioned a contraption similar to that which the little man had used, with two silk bags layered inside one of thick canvas. She broke off the flowering heads, added them to the iced water in the bag, and in no time at all she was pulling out the middle silken bag and removing a small mound of the wet, golden mud.
The little man watched in amazement, and when the Queen was done he fell to his knees.
"Oh most noble Queen, thou has proven most clever and most wise. Spare my life, and I shall serve and protect thy child for all of my days, and my children shall serve and protect his children forevermore."
So the Queen forgave the little man, and he and his sons became loyal and brave protectors to her son and all of his line. She also commanded him to teach the secret of making the golden perfume all across the Kingdom, so that every person could enjoy its fragrance and its power.
Soon the kingdom was renowned for its plentiful supply of golden perfume. Merchants came from far and wide, offering their finest wares in return for the strange new gold. Thus there was peace and prosperity throughout the land for ever and ever.