In a shady nook one moonlit night,
A leprechaun I spied
In scarlet coat and cap of green,
A cruiskeen by his side.
'Twas tick, tack, tick, his hammer went,
Upon a weeny shoe,
And I laughed to think of a purse of gold,
But the fairy was laughing too.
With tip-toe step and beating heart,
Quite softly I drew night.
There was mischief in his merry face,
A twinkle in his eye;
He hammered and sang with tiny voice,
And sipped the mountain dew;
Oh! I laughed to think he was caught at last,
But the fairy was laughing, too.
As quick as thought I grasped the elf,
"Your fairy purse," I cried,
"My purse?" said he, "'tis in her hand,
That lady by your side."
I turned to look, the elf was off,
And what was I to do?
Oh! I laughed to think what a fool I'd been,
And, the fairy was laughing too.
Robert Dwyer Joyce 1830-1883
Legends Of Irish Leprechaun
Legend has it, that should you be crafty enough to capture a leprechaun, he will be obliged to lead you to his treasure. As long as you can keep an eye fixed on your wiley little captive, he can't escape, but the moment you blink, or turn your gaze, he's vanished...poof...just like spit on a hot rock!
They are very clever spirits, who enjoy making mischief for any human foolish enough to try and abscond with his treasure. They are known to be quite wealthy, and have many crocks of gold buried all over the "Emerald Isle".
At just two two feet tall, leprechauns are hard working, industrious little fairy cobblers who, though fond of a snort, and often seen with a *cruiskeen of beer or *poteen by their side, are never so intoxicated that they fail to create the most exquisite shoes for all the fairy folk.
They can be found working their ancient craft all over the soft glens, and forrest briers of Ireland, where the tippy tap sounds of their busy little hammers betray their where-abouts.
If you should capture a leprechaun, you must demand very rudely (according to protocol) that he take you to his treasure at once! The startled elf will have no choice but to do so.
But the cute little darling isn't so benign as to roll over like a puppy and give up quite so easily. After all, he is a cunning little devil, who wasn't born yesterday. To be sure, he has more than a few tricks up his sensible sleeve, or I should say belt? For on his belt, he wears two small leather pouches, in one he keeps a magic silver shilling that has the lucky habit of returning to the pouch, every time he pays it out. In the other, is a brilliant coin of gold, and this he uses for bribing his would be captors.
You musn't accept this shimmering gold coin though, for the second he places it in your hot little hand, he knows well, that you (being a greedy money grubing human), will avert you're gaze just long enough for him vanish like a pipe-dream.
Oh well, at least you still have the golden coin, or do you? Look again, hi-ho, you'll find you have nothing more than a worthless hand full of dried leaves, ashes or even a stone for you're trouble.
It isn’t clear where the name leprechuan sprang from, but here are some reasonably good guesses: leath bhrogan, Irish for shoemaker, though its origins may lie in luacharma'n, which is Irish for pygmy. There is also the Gaelic word Préachán, forming the later part of the word leprechaun, which means crow, or when used to describe a person it means, mischief-maker, or gossip.
There is a similar little fairy fellow called the cluricaun, who is said to forever be "deep in his cups". As such, you can always count on the the weeny bugger to be thoroughly tanked, plowed, housed, pissed, sauced, blitzed, shnockered, ya’ know drunk!
The Clurichaun, like any thrill seeking tippler out for a joy ride, receives great satisfaction from hopping up onto the backs of unsuspecting dogs and sheep or anything else with legs he can get his sticky little mits on. The raskal will then ride the poor traumatized creature, willy-nilly into the night, causing as much mayhem as possible, before finally succumbing to exhaustion, from his nocturnal shenanigans, and enough liqueur to kill an average football team.
Solitary and cranky (terminally hung-over), these little fairies are not made for social gatherings, and they have'nt much use for humans. But if you treat the little booze hound well, he will gladly protect (wink-wink) your wine cellar. But beware, if he feels at all slighted by you, or your kin, the wee blighter will likely wreak havoc upon your dwelling’s, and bespoil your entire stock of wine and brew.
*Cruiskeen; a small jug
*Poteen; a home-brewed irish whiskey
Still More leprechaun lore to come: