MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) _ Fiddle Edd, a 71/2 -foot-tall fiddlehead fern, came from Canada Wednesday to urge an end to the international war of words being waged between New Brunswick and Vermont over the tiny delicate fern.
Edd met with the governor, wooed the Legislature and appeared before a legislative committee. He said not a word, but left smiles on every face.
″I’ve never been hugged by a fern,″ laughed state Rep. Gwen Bronson as the cuddly fern wrapped his arms around her in the House chamber.
The international tension began recently when Vermont legislators began debating a plan to name the fern as state vegetable. It immediately drew outraged protests from the province of New Brunswick, which has treated the plant as a native son since Canada’s salad days.
Over 900 acres of the ferns are harvested in New Brunswick and the plant is featured on the province’s new coat of arms, unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II last fall.
Vermont’s claim of the fern brought salvoes of poetic wrath from the Canadians.
″Stand up to the grasping Yankee, I say: It’s time for the worm to turn. You can have the trees, take the damn fish, But not our beloved fern,″ said a rhyme broadcast by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
As Vermont readied a counterattack, the Canadians sent word that their goodwill ambassador, Fiddle Edd, would mediate.
The fiddlehead - with an anonymous man inside - came with open arms. His message: There is enough of him for all to share.
Fiddle Edd is actually the official mascot of the Canada Games, to be held this summer in Saint John, New Brunswick. He was dreamed up by a 7th-grade student and has become the games goodwill ambassador.
Donald Leet, the vice president of the games who accompanied Fiddle Edd, told lawmakers, ″It seems our population has strong, possessive inclinations toward the fiddlehead. We have come, however, to wish you well in making your weighty decision.
″We wish to assure you that there will be no attacks on your border should this bill be passed,″ he said.