Mary E. Lowd
* * *
Copyright © 2011 by Mary E. Lowd
* * *
Most genies offer three. Where do they get them? The Harvester is an old woman, who wears a four-leafed clover in her locket and a garland of dandelions on her hair. The locket was a gift from a suitor, many years before, bought at the Crossroads Station bazaar. The dandelions have to be supplied fresh, daily. So, she keeps a greenhouse in the aft of her ship. The Harvester tells her genie customers that the wishes she harvests come from the overripe gold flowers gone to fluffy white seed. This, of course, is not true, but the genies love it.
Occasionally, a particularly sneaky genie will "pocket" a sample of the dandelions, hoping to grow a harvest of his own. But, the Harvester altered the dandelion DNA long ago, and the flowers will only grow in a soil laced with her secret mix of protein supplements.
The most ingenious genie that the Harvester ever encountered tried to track down the original planetary source of dandelions. He reasoned it must be a magical world full of happiness, rainbows, and joy. Unfortunately, the founders of New Earth erased all traces of the original Earth's location during a nasty legal battle with Earth IX. Neither planet won exclusive rights to "Paris" or "Rome;" New Earth won the rights to "New York." The genie won nothing and skulked his way back to the Harvester to buy a year's supply of wishes, packaged in bundles of three.