THE WEAN GRASS ("MILK GRASS")

APPEARANCE - TERRITORY - USAGES - REPRODUCTION - MYTH/LORE

Wean Grass (or "Wean's Hair" or "Milk Grass") is a type of plain grass with very fine, short blades. Turns a pale yellow in the autumn and bleaches almost to white in colder zones. The main pasturage for the Auroran plains.

The Wean Grass
Image description. The short, fine Wean Grass on a heath - note the comparison with the size of a damselfly. Picture drawn by Bard Judith.
Appearance. This short, delicately-bladed grass is nonetheless sturdy and prolific. A light yellow throughout most of its growing season, it bleaches almost white in strong sunlight. Growing evenly only to a height of one palmspan, its smooth blades have a silky sheen and a thin centre rib. Under the surface of the soil its roots are thin and tightly matted, like most grasses. Return to the top

Territory. Wean's Hair is the main pasturage for the Auroran plains. It transplants easily, due to its well-matted root structure and love for bright sunlight. It is not very cold-resistant and dies off into greyish shrivelled knots if kept below freezing for more than a few weeks at a time.
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Usages. Mostly used as pasturage and animal feed. Not suitable for hay bedding, as the blades are too short to pack well. However, horses, sheep, cows, and goats all thrive on this low-silicate, high-calcium ground cover. When grazed, the plant regenerates swiftly to its original height, emitting tiny bursts of whitish juice to seal off the bitten blades while it regrows.

In times of famine Wean Grass can even be boiled down into a kind of creamy soup which will sustain human life. Though the taste is sour and "greenish", something like rather ancient milk, starving humans have had no complaints, and unlike other grasses, it will not cause cramping or other bad reactions.
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Myth/Lore.
One of Wean Grass's alternate names probably comes from its delicate appearance and bleached blond colour which resembles a baby's hair; however, there are always people willing to provide stories and rationales for perfectly logical nomenclature. One Auroran minstrel, when asked, dug into his script and found us a short story which we give you below.

"They say that when people first came to this area it was dry earth - no trees, no grass, no flowers - just dry earth. So they prayed to Jeyriall, Goddess of the Harvest, to send them plants. When vegetation did not immediately spring up out of the ground, they grew impatient, and turned to Grothar, asking for His rain to come down. To propitiate Him and hasten the rain, they sacrificed a child, a baby boy, letting his blood drip over the barren ground as a symbol of the fertility they craved. As the child's heart stopped, the skies went black and thunder and lightning split the air all around them, yet there was no rain. The dead child's lips moved and a voice issued forth: "I am Jeyriall of the Harvest. You have grieved both Me and Grothar Rain-Lord. Since we do not desire death, even yours, we shall grant you your plants and foodstuffs. But for your impatience, your lack of trust, and your impiety, and that you shall remember, the grass we give you to cover this ground shall be made of this babe's hair, and you shall always recognize that your life here depends upon his death...." And the rain came down, and the grass grew, and the Aurorans believed and henceforth worshipped Jeyriall and Grothar above all others."

-- Story of an unknown minstrel
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