Friday, July 17, 2015

Exiled leprechaun

The leprechaun has been sent to Austria.

It is my fervent wish that it never return.

I try to appear nonchalant when storytelling. I even answer questions on anything a visitor might ask. It's good fun, and helps me find an audience's level.

But, no matter what stories I present, a hand always rises above the assembled heads.

It's the leprechaun hand.

The question comes in many ways; but it is always the same:

"What's the deal with the leprechauns?"

By which normally sane people mean they would like me to explain to them where the leprechaun stands in the Ireland of today.

There is only one leprechaun story. It tricks itself out in many costumes but it's the same story.

The duty of the leprechaun is to mend the shoes of the sighe, the fairies, for which he is paid a coin. These coins he keeps to himself. If you catch him he is supposed to give it all to you if you can survive three distractions he offers to you. Having bested him he will tell you where the haul is to be found. Then he bests you again and you get nothing.

The problem is that tourist traps sell a little leprechaun doll to passing visitors.

Somehow, one of these dolls came to live with me in my work space.

I hung it from a nail as high up as I could manage.

The other day, in frustration at yet another leprechaun question, I exiled the little green man.

I dropped him into the bag of a man heading for the Alps.

If you are Alpine skiing and see a leprechaun hanging about a tree, avert your eyes for he will follow you home, given half a chance.

And I will not thank you for it.

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