St Patrick’s day is a fun holiday, throwing a little bit of fantasy into our lives. I enjoy exploring the stories and traditions of holidays. Previously, I’ve shared some research about the histories of holidays and seasons. Last year I wrote about how St Patrick utilized symbolism in his career. But today, I am going to share a true story that will share some insight into the real going-ons of leprechauns.
You may have heard the stories about the little people that can lead you to a pot of gold. I heard all those stories, same as you, but I found out first hand, that it isn’t all quite as it seems in those stories. Now I wasn’t out looking for the little imps, I was just taking a rest after a long day.
There’s nothing your tired bones like more than a nice patch of grass and clover after a day of hard work. So, I let my aches just sit a while one spring day. I got to thinking about some things, don’t you worry about what that was, that’s not the important part. Then I started plucking at the grass I was laying on, like you do when your mind is busy on something. While I was thinking like this I pulled up a piece of clover and noticed four leaves on that shamrock in place of the three I was used to seeing.
Finding a Leprechaun
Before I could think about what this meant, I as a tiny little man drop down onto the ground. See, he was holding on to the bottom of that clover when I pulled him up. I was real quick and snatched him up to get a good look at him. He looked just like they say in those stories. He had a top hat and vest, like a respectable little gentleman. His clothes were green and his hair was fiery red. He didn’t have a beard though, so he must’ve been a young one. He was wiggling and hollering, but I just held on to the back of his coat and looked at him.
The First Trick
“You’re one of those leprechauns.” I said.
He stopped wiggling, folded his arms, and glared at me. His face was darn near as red as hair.
“So, what?” he said, “That’s no reason to be snatching a lad off the ground when he was minding his own business.”
I didn’t explain that I hadn’t meant to, I just stared at him.
“Okay, so are you going to ask for a pot of gold, or what?”
“Well, I guess that is what a fellow does when he’s found a leprechaun. So, I reckon I ought to take advantage of this.” I said.
“Alright, alright.” The leprechaun let himself dangle from my hand. “But wait, look!” he pointed his finger over my shoulder.
But he wasn’t looking that way, he was just looking at me, so I didn’t look.
“It’s- Aaah!” he pointed harder, but I caught on now.
“I’m not supposed to look, that’s your trick. If I look away, then you can disappear with your magic.”
The Second Trick
“Oh fine, you got me, but you have to wish for it, and you only get one wish.”
“Okay, I wish for a pot of gold.” I said.
The leprechaun snapped his fingers and a pot of gold appeared right under him, sitting on the ground. He wiggled out of my hand and walked around on the gold coins, he picked one up and showed it to me.
“Now, look at this, don’t you wish you had another pot of gold just like this?”
The coin was real pretty, but I shook my head. “No, I don’t know what to do with more than this. This will feed all my family for the rest of their lives.”
The leprechaun threw the coin down with a big huff.
“Oh, that was one of your tricks.” I said, “Because I only get one wish.”
He sat on the pile of gold coins and put his head in his hands. After a moment, I realized he was crying.
The Real Story of the Leprechauns
“Why are you crying? Isn’t this what’s supposed to happen? Don’t you just go find more gold?”
“You don’t understand. I’ve only just been married for a wee bit and now I got to go tell my sweet wife that I failed.”
“Now, you don’t need this gold for your wife, you leprechaun’s just collect it because it’s shiny. Don’t you? Is this another trick?”
The little man dressed in green looked up at me, and his face wasn’t flushed with anger anymore. “Just collect it? You humans have no idea how precious this is, in fact this isn’t even gold at all!”
“My wife spends all day long collecting these precious things and making them look like gold coins to protect them. It’s my job to protect them once she’s done her best to conceal them.”
“Them what? If it isn’t gold, what is it?”
“Now who’s trying tricks? You think I’m going to tell you? You’ll just go telling everyone and make my job even harder!”
I stared at him, he looked more and more distressed as he spoke, not angry, but sincerely concerned.
“You can’t imagine what this will do to my little wife. She’s been exhausted for months for this very pot. Telling her I lost it would kill her!”
The leprechaun leaped up on my chest, taking fistfuls of my shirt.
“Please, don’t make me devastate my young wife like this. Not this soon, it’s not her fault you’re too clever for me to trick.”
Saving the Leprechaun
“You just calm down now,” I pulled him off my shirt and set him back on the pot of gold. “I know what it’s like to make the missus upset, I don’t wish it on any man.”
I looked at him thoughtfully for a moment. He was still distraught.
“Now if this isn’t really gold, I don’t see how it’ll do me any good anyhow. So, if I take a glance over my shoulder, I suppose it’s my fault I didn’t keep a close enough eye on you.” I shrugged and turned over my shoulder. I heard little fingers snap, and when I turned back, I saw the little leprechaun’s smile. Now it must just be the nature of those creatures that their smiles of relief look just like a mischievous smirk.