Mythology: Leprechauns

Most people know that Irish leprechauns have a pot of gold, which they have hidden at the end of a rainbow.  But do you know how to find the treasure?

If you see a leprechaun – they are small, grotesque, and dress in red or green with a leather apron, silver buckled shoes, a red cap and spectacles – it is very important that you never take your eye off it.  If you lose sight of it for even a second, it will disappear.  However, if you manage to keep your eyes on it, it will have to show you where it keeps it’s treasure.  Try complimenting it’s shoes – it may be distracted enough to not disappear!

Even then you must be careful that it doesn’t trick you, for they are very cunning creatures.

Once there was a farmer who caught a leprechaun.  The leprechaun had to show him where it had hidden it’s pot of gold.  When the farmer found out that the leprechaun had buried the gold underneath a particular ragwort plant on his farm, he tied a red ribbon around the plant and made the leprechaun promise not to remove it.  Then he let the creature go and went to get a shovel.

To his dismay, when he returned, he found that every single ragwort plant on the farm had been tied around with red ribbon!  So the farmer never got the treasure, and the leprechaun had the last laugh!

You should also beware of gifts the leprechaun gives freely once captured.  They are known to carry two coins in a pouch – one is silver, and will return to the pouch no matter how many times it is given away, and the other is gold, but will turn to leaves or ashes as soon as the leprechaun disappears.

Leprechauns are known for making shoes, and doing it very well.  They will not make a pair of shoes, only one at a time.  They can often be found practicing their art underneath foxglove plants, but they live in hollows inside the earth, either in caves or in the roots of trees.

We're the Irish leprechaun,  Guiding strangers when forlorn.
We’re the Irish leprechaun,
Guiding strangers when forlorn.

They are mostly solitary creatures and like to play tricks on humans, but they are not truly evil, just “high spirited”.  They sometimes ride shepherd’s dogs all through the night so that they are exhausted in the morning.  Leprechauns also like music, dancing and fox hunting.


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