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High John the Conqueror was an African prince who was enslaved in the south. However, he was freed, and it was because of his will and guile that he managed to be liberated. His undying spirit and ability to trick his master allowed him to be freed even at the time when everyone was being enslaved for no specific reason. The folklore goes like this: after High John the Conqueror was freed, he left his power and spirit in a High John root. He did this so that he could care for the people and if a person takes the name of High John the Conqueror, they get a sense of protection and power.
Although High John the Conqueror root has become enormously popular amongst people, historians and rootworkers are still not sure whether this herb has any magical power or not. Regardless of the facts, it is the belief of the people that have made the case stronger in favor of High John the Conqueror. He is the all-powerful, mythic, trickster figure that will continue to inspire the Loki of the Norsemen or the Coyote of Native America.