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'Heaven Bless Hashish,' Wrote 'Little Women' Author Louisa May Alcott

Nineteenth-century novelist Louisa May Alcott is best know for writing children's stories like Little Women. But the American author - who was born 184 years ago this week - also had a wild side. Well, the cannabis-munching characters in her adult writing did, at least.

Although Alcott was an outspoken proponent of sobriety, hashish once played a crucial role in her short story "Perilous Play" (1869).

Here's how authors Gregory Eiselein and Anne K. Phillips summarize the story in The Louisa May Alcott Encyclopedia (2001):

"In 'Perilous Play,' Rose St. Just and Mark Done are able to confess their feelings for each other because of the 'heavenly dreaminess' effect of hashish. Initially reluctant to experiment, they both secretly indulge in the drug at a party and end up in a boat together, fighting for their lives in a storm. The 'heavenly dreaminess' of hashish is deceptive, however, since it robs one of reason and becomes a 'cursed folly.' Luckily, the drug does very little harm and much good: The story ends with a marriage proposal and the line, 'Heaven bless hashish, if its dreams end like this!'"

So you could say that Alcott was a pioneer of the stoner comedy. Now if only we could get Seth Rogen and Sarah Silverman to adapt "Perilous Play" for the big screen.

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