Irish Leprechaun Stories by Bairbre McCarthy
The leprechaun is the shoe-maker of the Irish fairy kingdom. He is a solitary fairy, fun-loving and very crafty. Often he is seen sitting, cross-legged with a tiny hammer in his hand, working on a fairy shoe. Those who have been lucky enough to catch a glimpse of him have described his appearance. He is a very small little fairy, no bigger than three feet tall and sometimes as small as twelve inches. Usually, he wears a suit of green and has fine leather shoes adorned with silver buckles. Sometimes he wears a cap, with a feather.
The leprechaun is the keeper of the crock of gold at the end of the rainbow and he knows where all the wealth of the world is buried. If you are lucky enough to catch him, you must keep your eyes on him at all times and not allow him to distract your attention or he will disappear.
If he does not out-smart you he can make you very wealthy and can make your wishes come true!
A Little Bit of Luck
Long ago, in Ireland, there lived a farmer called Patrick McMahon. He was a jolly fellow and had a hard working wife named Mary. They were a very good and kind couple and never saw a bit of badness in anybody. They lived in a small little cottage, with one cow, a hen and a skinny old mouse who lived under the house. Potatoes were what grew best in the rocky soil of their small farm and they were able to grow enough potatoes to feed themselves, to share with their neighbours and enough to sell at market to keep them going until the following year's crop.
Now Mary and Patrick had a neighbour, Dan O'Leary, who was a right scoundrel of a fellow. Everybody in the village knew that when Dan O'Leary was nearby you should lock up your money and count your cattle. But Mary and Patrick never saw any badness in him at all, they were such a trusting couple they gave Dan the same respect that they showed all of their neighbours.
Patrick and Mary, like all good Irish people, hoped that some day they might see a leprechaun because they knew if they ever set eyes on this lucky little man he would give them a pot of gold and he would give them good luck for their old age. The years passed happily for them, but they never did come across a leprechaun.
One day Patrick said, "you know Mary, I don't think we need a pot of gold, now that we are so far on in our age. But we could always use a bit of good luck and I wonder if we will ever chance to see a leprechaun."
Mary, kind soul that she was, said, "I think that tonight I'm going to leave out a little pan of milk and a bit of bread, just in case a leprechaun does happen by."
Well, the next morning when Patrick and Mary got up they found that the milk and bread were gone. They were delighted, surely a leprechaun must live nearby! Ever after, Mary put out the milk and the bread every night, just in case the leprechaun happened by to give them a bit of luck in their old age. Each morning when they arose, there was no trace of the bread or milk! And who knows if it was the leprechaun who had taken it or the skinny old mouse who lived under the house!
Time went by and one year the rains never came. In spring time Patrick went out and planted potato seeds but still the rain didn't come, which was a strange think for Ireland. The plants that grew up from those seeds were the scrawniest looking plants that you ever saw. Summer came and still no rain and every day Patrick came out the door of his little cottage and looked up at the sky but he saw only the blazing sun shining down. He wondered how would they survive at all if the rain didn't come to save the potato crop. Still, even in these times of hardship Mary managed to put out a sup of milk and a bit of bread, every night, for the leprechaun.
One night a leprechaun did happen by. He was running as fast as he could and as he saw a big fat mouse coming out from under the house. The leprechaun stopped in his tracks. Now the mouse knew enough to salute the leprechaun, and he said, "Good evening to you and how is it that you happen to be here this evening?"
"Well," said the leprechaun, "I wouldn't be here at all, but I was taking a nap in the neighbouring field when that scoundrel Dan O'Leary grabbed me and demanded my gold. It was only by wriggling out of my belt that I was able to escape. But I see a very strange thing here," said the leprechaun. "This is a very poor looking farm with the scrawniest looking potato plants that I ever saw and yet there is yourself a fine plump mouse who seems to be very well fed. Could you explain it to me?"
"Oh, that wouldn't be difficult at all," replied the mouse. "There is a grand couple living in this cottage here and every night they leave out a little bit of bread and milk for the leprechaun in case he should ever happen by to bring them a bit of good luck for their old age. And until this evening such as yourself has never come by, so I've been helping myself to the bread and the milk."
"Do you mean to tell me" said the leprechaun, "that this couple doesn't want my gold at all. that they only want a bit of good luck for their old age?"
He went around the farm to every single potato plant and on each plant he put a little drop of magic that glinted like gold in the moonlight. Wherever he dropped that magic, those potato plants bloomed.
The next morning when Patrick and Mary came out the door of their cottage they saw a most wonderful sight - the finest potato plants that they had ever laid eyes on were growing in their potato patch! All day long, the couple watched with great wonder as the plants blossomed before their eyes.
They danced and sang for joy. "Oh," said Patrick "these potatoes are like pots of gold to us."
At sundown, the potatoes were ready to harvest. Patrick took his spade and he started to dig under one of the plants and he found not one, not ten, but fifty of the finest potatoes he had ever seen.
"Look at this Mary," said Patrick "This is the work of the leprechaun. These potatoes are like pure gold to us, but how in the world will we ever dig them all up?"
"Oh don't worry about that now," said Mary, "we will sleep on it and find the answer in the morning."
Now, hiding in the bushes, still looking for the leprechaun, was their neighbour Dan O'Leary. And it may have been the greed that scrambled his brains and his hearing but he thought that Mary and Patrick said that they were digging up pots of gold!
"Oh I'll soon help them to dig them up," said Dan O'Leary, and that night while Mary and Patrick were asleep Dan Came over and took Patrick's spade and dug up all the potato plants. And what did he find under each of the plants? Why potatoes, of course! But indeed, they were like pots of gold to Mary and Patrick! But Dan O'Leary had only blistered hands after his digging and threw down the spade in disgust and went off home.
When Mary and Patrick got up the next morning they were convinced that it was the leprechaun who had dug up all the potatoes for them!
"I think I'm going to leave out a whole honey loaf tonight," Mary said, "and two pans of milk."
Who happened to be sitting on the fence nearby with his new friend the mouse but the leprechaun. He smiled and said, "well while there is good food like that around here, I think I'll stay."
And as long as the leprechaun stayed, luck stayed with Mary and Patrick.