The cranberry's appearance on Cape Cod is the subject of an American folklore tale, which sees a test of religions between a Mashpee Indian shaman and a Puritan missionary (Reverend Richard Bourne) who was trying to convert the native inhabitants to Christianity.

Bourne's attempts to convert the tribe were not welcomed by the shaman - he became so irritated with the Reverend that he cast a spell which caused Bourne's feet to become stuck in quicksand. Also clearly irritated and fed up, the stationary Bourne challenged the shaman to a test of religion and will...magic versus prayer.... The stakes: Should Bourne win, the shaman must stop harassing him and foiling his conversion attempts. If Bourne lost, he had to serve the shaman.

Their contest went for 15 days and nights, with the two debating the virtues of their religions with no food or sleep. The shaman began to weaken, but Bourne did not - he was sustained by God at this stage, who sent a white dove carrying a single cranberry to his lips whenever he fell silent. One such berry fell to the ground, with the shaman wasting his energy (for some crazy reason) on trying to stop its fall.

Not fortunate enough to have a God to help him 'cheat' in the competition, the shaman fainted. His feet still bound in quicksand, Bourne (ever the good samaritan), became released and went to fetch the shaman some soup in a silver bowl. Upon finishing it the Mashpee saw a vision in the bottom of the bowl, depicting Judgement Day and the awful fate of sinners. Understandably, this frightening picture caused the shaman to convert to Christianity (he never considered that his vision was a result of delirium from lack of food...).

And thus, the berry that fell to the ground during this epic contest of wills grew and became the first cranberry bush on Cape Cod. To bed with you all now.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.