Monday, 9 July 2012

Folktale Wisdom Meets Ethnobotany

Todays nugget of wisdom comes from the Irish folktale of a boy called Guleesh and goes like this:

"cannabis saves the princess".

Here's the crucial botanical moment of recognition:
And, indeed, he was not long searching till he observed a large strange herb that was growing up just by the gable of the house. He went over to it, and observed it closely, and saw that there were seven little branches coming out of the stalk, and seven leaves growing on every brancheen of them and that there was a white sap in the leaves. 

And here's the pharmacological experiment in detail:  
It was not bitter, and, indeed, had a sweet, agreeable taste. He grew bolder then, and drank the full of a thimble of it, and then as much again, and he never stopped till he had half the cup drunk. He fell asleep after that, and did not wake till it was night, and there was great hunger and great thirst on him.

I found that story via Librivox - listen all about Guleesh's adventures over here. (ED: Or check out the text version - this is where I copied the quotes from.)

(And check out the rest of that story collection over here.)

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