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How Copperfield Got Its Name, And Why Pennies Are Iron These Days
Genre: Fairy Tale
Summary: Kiv wanted enough money for himself, but ended up with more than enough.
One day, back when the town of Copperfield was a village named something else, Kiv went into the woods, and heard someone scream for help. He followed the noise and found a gnome stuck in a tree.
That was the king of gnomes, who had got into his head the idea to ride a stag like some humans ride horses. He could not hold on when the stag did a leap, so he had to beg Kiv, "Help me, and I will grant you a wish, if it's in my power."
Kiv freed the gnome, and when that one asked what he wanted as his reward, he said, "I'd like to be able to grow money on my field."
"Are you really sure that's what you want?"
And since Kiv was certain, the gnome gave him a pouch with seeds before they parted.
Kiv sowed a small bed with those and they came up flowers, with each petal a shining copper penny. When Kiv let the flowers bloom until the pennies fell off, they went to seed, so the next year he could plant more, and in this way had enough money to live well.
He didn’t care much about the odd stolen flower, for there were seeds enough. He didn’t even collect all of them every time, and neither did the people who’d taken seeds for themselves, so after a while the penny plants started growing at the edges of paths where a few seeds had gone lost, or blown by the wind, or dropped by a finch or sparrow.
In that way it got to the point that nobody there wanted to give anyone much for a penny, for if they paid just a little attention, they could just pick them up from the street.
When word about the penny plants travelled, visitors came to see them, and take some seeds for themselves. With the flowers spreading as they did, much of the surrounds of the town became gleaming copper instead of straw-gold wheat, so the town became known as Copperfield.
Between wild birds and visitors wanting to grow their own, the plants spread further afield.
Since they had so many copper pennies they were nearly worthless, the people in Copperfield started melting them down for the metal, and making pans and kettles and brooches and rings, and to this day, the best coppersmiths have learned their craft there.
Kiv, however, had long been as poor as before, no matter that he had the biggest hoard of pennies since he started collecting them first. After once too often being attacked for making copper worthless, he went to live out the rest of his life in the woods as a hermit. Maybe he found the king of gnomes again and asked him to make growing money not all that easy; at least pennyweed is not as vigorous as it used to be in the early years.