The Leprechaun

Ireland's Fairy Shoemaker
edited by

D. L. Ashliman

© 2016


  1. Variant spellings and designations.

  2. Lepreghaun (Lady Morgan Sydney).

  3. The Field of Boliauns [Ragweed] (Thomas Crofton Croker).

  4. The Little Shoe (Thomas Crofton Croker).

  5. Cluricaune or Leprehaune (Thomas Crofton Croker).

  6. The Three Leprechauns (Thomas Keightley).

  7. The Kildare Lurikeen (Patrick Kennedy).

  8. The Leprehaun (Lady Wilde).

  9. The Solitary Fairies: Lepracaun, Cluricaun, Far Darrig (William Butler Yeats).

  10. The Maker of Brogues (Brampton Hunt).

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Variant spellings and designations


Lady Morgan Sydney

It would be extremely difficult to class this supernatural agent, who holds a distinguished place in the Irish "Faerie." His appearance, however, is supposed to be that of a shrivelled little old man, whose presence marks a spot where hidden treasures lie concealed, which were buried there in "the troubles."

He is, therefore, generally seen in lone and dismal places, out of the common haunts of man; and though the night-wanderer may endeavour to mark the place where he beheld the guardian of the treasures perched, yet when he returns in the morning with proper implements to turn up the earth, the thistle, stone, or branch, he had placed as a mark, is so multiplied, that it is no longer a distinction, and the disappointments occasioned by the malignity of the little Lepreghaun render him a very unpopular fairy. His name is never applied but as a term of contempt.

The Field of Boliauns [Ragweed]

Thomas Crofton Croker

Tom Fitzpatrick was the eldest son of a comfortable farmer who lived at Ballincollig. Tom was just turned of nine-and-twenty, when he met the following adventure, and was as clever, clean, tight, good-looking a boy as any in the whole county Cork.

One fine day in harvest -- it was indeed Lady-day in harvest, that every body knows to be one of the greatest holidays in the year -- Tom was taking a ramble through the ground, and went sauntering along the sunny side of a hedge, thinking in himself, where would be the great harm if people, instead of idling and going about doing nothing at all, were to shake out the hay, and bind and stook the oats that was lying on the ledge, 'specially as the weather had been rather broken of late, he all of a sudden heard a clacking sort of noise a little before him, in the hedge.

"Dear me," said Tom, "but isn't it surprising to hear the stonechatters singing so late in the season?"

So Tom stole on, going on the tops of his toes to try if he could get a sight of what was making the noise, to see if he was right in his guess. The noise stopped; but as Tom looked sharply through the bushes, what should he see in a nook of the hedge but a brown pitcher that might hold about a gallon and a half of liquor; and by and by a little wee diny dony bit of an old man, with a little motty of a cocked hat stuck upon the top of his head, and a deeshy daushy leather apron hanging before him, pulled out a little wooden stool, and stood up upon it and dipped a little piggin into the pitcher, and took out the full of it, and put it beside the stool, and then sat down under the pitcher, and began to work at putting a heel-piece on a bit of a brogue just fitting for himself.

"Well, by the powers!" said Tom to himself, "I often heard tell of the Cluricaune; and, to tell God's truth, I never rightly believed in them -- but here's one of them in real earnest. If I go knowingly to work, I'm a made man. They say a body must never take their eyes off them, or they'll escape.''

Tom now stole on a little farther, with his eye fixed on the little man just as a cat does with a mouse, or, as we read in books, the rattle-snake does with the birds he wants to enchant.

So when he got up quite close to him, "God bless your work, neighbour," said Tom.

The little man raised up his head, and "Thank you kindly," said he.

"I wonder you'd be working on the holyday?" said Tom.

"That's my own business, not yours," was the reply.

"Well, may be you'd be civil enough to tell us what you've got in the pitcher there?" said Tom.

"That I will, with pleasure," said he: "It's good beer."

"Beer!" said Tom: "Thunder and fire! Where did you get it?"

"Where did I get it, is it? Why, I made it. And what do you think I made it of?"

"Devil a one of me knows," said Tom, "but of malt, I suppose; what else?"

"There you're out. I made it of heath."

"Of heath!" said Tom, bursting out laughing: "Sure you don't think me to be such a fool as to believe that?"

"Do as you please," said he, "but what I tell you is the truth. Did you never hear tell of the Danes?"

"And that I did," said Tom: "Weren't them the fellows we gave such a licking when they thought to take Limerick from us?"

"Hem!" said the little man drily -- "Is that all you know about the matter?"

"Well, but about them Danes?" said Tom.

"Why, all the about them there is, is that when they were here they taught us to make beer out of the heath, and the secret's in my family ever since."

"Will you give a body a taste of your beer?" said Tom.

"I'll tell you what it is, young man -- It would be fitter for you to be looking after your father's property than to be bothering decent, quiet people with your foolish questions. There now, while you're idling away your time here, there's the cows have broke into the oats, and are knocking the corn all about."

Tom was taken so by surprise with this, that he was just on the very point of turning round when he recollected himself; so, afraid that the like might happen again, he made a grab [grasp] at the Cluricaune, and caught him up in his hand; but in his hurry he overset the pitcher, and spilt all the beer, so that he could not get a taste of it to tell what sort it was. He then swore what he would not do to him if he did not show him where his money was.

Tom looked so wicked and so bloody-minded, that the little man was quite frightened; so, says he, "Come along with me a couple of fields off, and I'll show you a crock of gold."

So they went, and Tom held the Cluricaune fast in his hand, and never took his eyes from off him, though they had to cross hedges, and ditches, and a crooked bit of bog (for the Cluricaune seemed, out of pure mischief, to pick out the hardest and most contrary way), till at last they came to a great field all full of boliaun buies (ragweed), and the Cluricaune pointed to a big boliaun, and, says he, "Dig under that boliaun, and you'll get the great crock all full of guineas."

Tom in his hurry had never minded the bringing a spade with him, so he thought to run home and fetch one; and that he might know the place again, he took off one of his red garters, and tied it round the boliaun.

"I suppose," said the Cluricaune, very civilly, "you've no farther occasion for me?"

"No," says Tom; "you may go away now, if you please, and God speed you, and may good luck attend you wherever you go."

"Well, good-bye to you, Tom Fitzpatrick," said the Cluricaune, "and much good may do you, with what you 'll get."

So Tom ran, for the dear life, till he came home, and got a spade, and then away with him, as hard as he could go, back to the field of boliauns; but when he got there, lo, and behold! not a boliaun in the field but had a red garter, the very identical model of his own, tied about it; and as to digging up the whole field, that was all nonsense, for there was more than forty good Irish acres in it.

So Tom came home again with his spade on his shoulder, a little cooler than he went; and many's the hearty curse he gave the Cluricaune every time he thought of the neat turn he had served him.

The following is the account given by Lady Morgan, of the Cluricaune or Leprechan, in her excellent novel of O'Donnell (vol. II. p. 246.) which has been referred to in a preceding note. "It would be extremely difficult," says her ladyship, "to class this supernatural agent, who holds a distinguished place in the Irish 'fairies.' His appearance, however, is supposed to be that of a shrivelled little old man, whose presence marks a spot where hidden treasures lie concealed, which were buried there in 'the troubles.' He is therefore generally seen in lone and dismal places, out of the common haunts of man; and though the night wanderer may endeavour to mark the place where he beheld the guardian of the treasures perched, yet when he returns in the morning with proper implements to turn up the earth, the thistle, stone, or branch he had placed as a mark is so multiplied, that it is no longer a distinction; and the disappointments occasioned by the malignity of the little Leprechan render him a very unpopular fairy: His name is never applied but as a term of contempt."

The Little Shoe

Thomas Crofton Croker

"Now tell me, Molly," said Mr. Coote to Molly Cogan, as he met her on the road one day, close to one of the old gateways of Kilmallock, "did you ever hear of the Cluricaune?"

"Is it the Cluricaune? Why, then, sure I did, often and often; many's the time I heard my father, rest his soul! tell about, 'em over and over again."

"But did you ever see one, Molly -- did you ever see one yourself?"

"Och! no, I never see one in my life; but my grandfather, that's my father's father, you know, he see one, one time, and caught him too."

"Caught him! Oh! Molly, tell me how was that?"

"Why, then, I'll tell you:"

My grandfather, you see, was out there above in the bog, drawing home turf, and the poor old mare was tired after her day's work, and the old man went out to the stable to look after her, and to see if she was eating her hay; and when he came to the stable-door there, my dear, he heard something hammering, hammering, hammering, just for all the world like a shoemaker making a shoe, and whistling all the time the prettiest tune he ever heard in his whole life before. Well, my grandfather, he thought it was the Cluricaune, and he said to himself, says he, "I'll catch you, if I can, and then I'll have money enough always."

So he opened the door very quietly, and didn't make a bit of noise in the world that ever was heard; and he looked all about, but the never a bit of the little man he could see any where, but he heard him hammering and whistling, and so he looked and looked, till at last he see the little fellow; and where was he, do you think, but in the girth under the mare; and there he was with his little bit of an apron on him, and his hammer in his hand, and a little red nightcap on his head, and he making a shoe; and he was so busy with his work, and he was hammering and whistling so loud, that he never minded my grandfather till he caught him fast in his hand.

"Faith, I have you now," says he, "and I'll never let you go till I get your purse -- that's what I won't; so give it here to me at once, now."

"Stop, stop," says the Cluricaune, "stop, stop, says he, till I get it for you."

So my grandfather, like a fool, you see, opened his hand a little, and the little fellow jumped away laughing, and he never saw him any more, and the never a bit of the purse did he get, only the Cluricaune left his little shoe that he was making; and my grandfather was mad enough angry with himself for letting him go; but he had the shoe all his life, and my own mother told me she often see it, and had it in her hand, and 'twas the prettiest little shoe she ever saw.

"And did you see it yourself, Molly?"

"Oh! no, my dear, it was lost long afore I was born; but my mother told me about it often and often enough."

There is nothing very strange in the circumstance of Molly's grandfather becoming the possessor of a Cluricaune's shoe, for even in the present century, when these little people are supposed to have grown more shy and cautious of letting themselves be seen or heard, persons have been fortunate enough to get their shoes, though the purse still eludes them.

In a Kilkenny paper, published not more than three years ago, there was a paragraph (which paragraph was copied into most of the Irish papers) stating that a peasant returning home in the dusk of the evening, discovered one of these little folk at work, and as the workman, as usual, contrived to make his escape, the peasant secured the shoe to bear witness of the fact, which shoe, to satisfy public curiosity, lay for inspection at the office of the said paper. It is therefore not impossible that this specimen of Cluricaune cordwainry may still exist.

Cluricaune or Leprehaune

Thomas Crofton Croker

Cluricaune or Leprehaune is the name given to the Irish Puck. The character of this goblin is a compound of that of the Scotch Brownie and the English Robin Goodfellow. He is depicted (for engraved portraits of the Irish Leprehaune are in existence) as a small and withered old man, completely equipped in the costume of a cobler, and employed in repairing a shoe. A paragraph recently appeared in a Kilkenny paper stating, that a labourer, returning home in the dusk of the evening, discovered a Leprehaune at work, from whom he bore away the shoe which he was mending; as a proof of the veracity of his story it was further stated, that the shoe lay for the inspection of the curious at the newspaper office.

The most prominent feature in the vulgar creed respecting the Leprehaune is, his being the possessor of a purse, supposed to be, like that of Fortunatus, inexhaustible; and many persons, who have surprized one of these fairies occupied in shoe-making, have endeavoured to compel him to deliver it; this he has ingeniously avoided, averting the eye of his antagonist by some stratagem, when he disappears, which it seems he has not the power of doing as long as any person's gaze is fixed upon him.

The Three Leprechauns

Thomas Keightley

The Cluricaune, called in Leinster Leprechaun, in Ulster Logheriman, seems a being peculiar to Ireland. There is a curious anomaly in his character. His habits and occupation are what we might be apt to term social, and yet he in general avoids society, and works at his eternal brogues in lonely glens, bleak bogs, or the middle of fields, and never seems to approach nearer than the garden, of human habitations.

Yet it is an error to suppose that the Leprechauns are never seen in company. The following account, given by an old woman to the writer's sister, is direct and unimpeachable evidence to the contrary. As in narrating stories of Irish Fairies, the approved and the best receipt is to give the whole scene of the narrative with its accompaniments, we shall not here depart from established precedents.

The Three Leprechauns

Mrs. L. having heard that Molly Toole, an old woman who held a few acres of land from Mr. L., had seen Leprechauns, resolved to visit her, and learn the truth from her own lips. Accordingly, one Sunday, after church, she made her appearance in Molly's residence, which was -- no very common thing -- extremely neat and comfortable.

As she entered every thing looked gay and cheerful. The sun shone bright in through the door on the earthen floor. Molly was seated at the far side of the fire in her arm-chair; her daughter Mary, the prettiest girl on the lands, was looking to the dinner that was boiling; and her son Mickey, a young man of about two-and-twenty, was standing lolling with his back against the dresser.

The arrival of the mistress disturbed the stillness that had hitherto prevailed. Mary, who was a great favourite, hastened to the door to meet her, and shake hands with her. Molly herself had nearly got to the middle of the floor when the mistress met her, and Mickey modestly staid where he was till he should catch her attention.

"O then, musha! but isn't it a glad sight for my old eyes to see your own self under my roof? Mary, what ails you, girl? And why don't you go into the room and fetch out a good chair for the mistress to sit down upon and rest herself?"

"'Deed faith, mother, I'm so glad I don't know what I'm doing. Sure you know I did not see the mistress since she came down afore."

Mickey now caught Mrs. L.'s eye, and she asked him how he did.

"By Gorra, bravely, ma'am, thank you," said he, giving himself a wriggle, while his two hands and the small of his back rested on the edge of the dresser.

"Now, Mary, stir yourself," said the old woman, "and get out the bread and butter. Sure you know the mistress can't but be hungry after her walk."

"O, never mind it, Molly; it's too much trouble."

"Trouble, indeed! It's as nice butter, ma'am, as ever you put a tooth in; and it was Mary herself that made it."

"O, then I must taste it."

A nice half griddle of whole-meal bread and a print of fresh butter were now produced, and Molly helped the mistress with her own hands.

As she was eating, Mary kept looking in her face, and at last said, "Ah then, mother, doesn't the mistress look mighty well? Upon my faikins, ma'am, I never seen you looking half so handsome."

"Well! and why wouldn't she look well? And never will she look better nor be better nor I wish her."

"Well, Molly, I think I may return the compliment, for Mary is prettier than ever; and as for yourself, I really believe it's young again you're growing."

"Why, God be thanked, ma'am, I'm stout and hearty; and though I say it myself, there 's not an old woman in the county can stir about better nor me, and I'm up every morning at the peep of day, and rout them all up out of their beds. Don't I?" said she, looking at Mary.

"Faith, and sure you do, mother," replied Mickey; "and before the peep of day, too; for you have no mercy in you at all at all."

"Ah, in my young days," continued the old woman, "people weren't slugabeds; out early, home late -- that was the way with them."

"And usedn't people to see Leprechauns in them days, mother?" said Mickey, laughing.

"Hold your tongue, you saucy cub, you," cried Molly. "What do you know about them?"

" Leprechauns?" said Mrs. L., gladly catching at the opportunity. "Did people really, Molly, see Leprechauns in your young days?"

"Yes, indeed, ma'am; some people say they did," replied Molly, very composedly.

"O come now, mother," cried Mickey, "don't think to be going it upon us that way. You know you seen them one time yourself, and you had not the gumption in you to catch them, and get their crocks of gold from them."

"Now, Molly, is that really true that you saw the Leprechauns?"

"'Deed, and did I, ma'am; but this boy's always laughing at me about them, and that makes me rather shy of talking of them."

"Well, Molly, I won't laugh at you; so, come, tell me how you saw them."

"Well, ma'am, you see it was when I was just about the age of Mary, there. I was coming home late one Monday evening from the market; for my aunt Kitty, God be merciful to her! kept me to take a cup of tea. It was in the summer-time you see, ma'am, much about the middle of June, and it was through the fields I came. Well, ma'am, as I said, it was late in the evening, that is, the sun was near going down, and the light was straight in my eyes, and I came along through the bog-meadow; for it was shortly after I was married to him that's gone, and we were living in this very house that you're now in; and then when I came to the castle-field -- the pathway you know, ma'am, goes right through the middle of it -- and it was then as fine a field of wheat, just shot out, as you'd wish to look at; and it was a pretty sight to see it waving so beautifully with every air of wind that was going over it, dancing like to the music of a thrush, that was singing down below in the hedge. Well, ma'am, I crossed over the style that's there yet, and went along fair and easy, till I was near about the middle of the field, when something made me cast my eyes to the ground, a little before me; and then I saw, as sure as I 'm sitting here, no less nor three of the Leprechauns, all bundled together like so many tailors, in the middle of the path before me. They were not hammering their pumps, or making any kind of noise whatever; but there they were, the three little fellows, with their cocked hats upon them, and their legs gothered up under them, working away at their trade as hard as may be. If you were only to see, ma'am, how fast their little elbows went as they pulled out their ends! Well, every one of them had his eye cocked upon me, and their eyes were as bright as the eye of a frog, and I could not stir one step from the spot for the life of me. So I turned my head round, and prayed to the Lord in his mercy to deliver me from them, and when I went to look at them again, ma'am, not a sight of them was to be seen: They were gone like a dream."

"But, Molly, why did you not catch them?''

"I was afeard, ma'am, that's the truth of it; but maybe I was as well without them. I never heard tell of a Leprechaun yet that was not too many for any one that cotch him."

"Well, and Molly, do you think there are any Leprechauns now?"

"It's my belief, ma'am, they 're all gone out of the country, clever and clean, along with the Fairies; for I never hear tell now of them at all."

Mrs. L. having now attained her object, after a little more talk with the good old woman, took her leave, attended by Mary, who would see her a piece of the way home. And Mary being asked what she thought of the Leprechauns, confessed her inability to give a decided opinion: Her mother, she knew, was incapable of telling a lie, and yet she had her doubts if there ever were such things as Leprechauns.

The Kildare Lurikeen

Patrick Kennedy

A young girl that lived in sight of Castle Carberry, near Edenderry, was going for a pitcher of water to the neighbouring well one summer morning, when who should she see sitting in a sheltery nook under an old thorn, but the Lurikeen, working like vengeance at a little old brogue only fit for the foot of a fairy like himself. There he was, boring his holes, and jerking his waxed ends, with his little three-cornered hat with gold lace, his knee-breeches, his jug of beer by his side, and his pipe in his mouth. He was so busy at his work, and so taken up with an old ballad he was singing in Irish, that he did not mind Breedheen till she had him by the scruff o' the neck, as if he was in a vice.

"Ah, what are you doin'?" says he, turning his head round as well as he could. "Dear, dear! to think of such a purty colleen ketchin' a body, as if he was afther robbin' a hen roost! What did I do to be thrated in such an undecent manner? The very vulgarest young ruffin in the townland could do no worse. Come, come, Miss Bridget, take your hands off, sit down, and let us have a chat, like two respectable people."

"Ah, Mr. Lurikeen, I don't care a wisp of borrach [course tow] for your politeness. It's your money I want, and I won't take hand or eye from you till you put me in possession of a fine lob of it."

"Money, indeed! Ah! Where would a poor cobbler like me get it? Anyhow there's no money hereabouts, and if you'll only let go my arms, I'll turn my pockets inside out, and open the drawer of my seat, and give you leave to keep every halfpenny you'll find."

"That won't do; my eyes'll keep going through you like darning needles till I have the gold. Begonies, if you don't make haste, I'll carry you, head and pluck, into the village, and there you'll have thirty pair of eyes on you instead of one."

"Well, well! Was ever a poor cobbler so circumvented! And if it was an ignorant, ugly bosthoon that done it, I would not wonder; but a decent, comely girl, that can read her 'Poor Man's Manual' at the chapel, and -- --"

"You may throw your compliments on the stream there; they won't do for me, I tell you. The gold, the gold, the gold! Don't take up my time with your blarney."

"Well, if there's any to be got, it's undher the ould castle it is; we must have a walk for it. Just put me down, and we'll get on."

"Put you down indeed! I know a trick worth two of that; I'll carry you."

"Well, how suspicious we are! Do you see the castle from this?"

Bridget was about turning her eyes from the little man to where she knew the castle stood, but she bethought herself in time.

They went up a little hill-side, and the Lurikeen was quite reconciled, and laughed and joked; but just as they got to the brow, he looked up over the ditch, gave a great screetch, and shouted just as if a bugle horn was blew at her ears -- "Oh, murdher ! Castle Carberry is afire."

Poor Biddy gave a great start, and looked up towards the castle. The same moment she missed the weight of the Lurikeen, and when her eyes fell where he was a moment before, there was no more sign of him than if everything that passed was a dream.

This passage in the natural history of the Lurikeen is furnished by the chronicler of the "Rath C.-Pooka." The only instance of a Wexford Lurikeen that we can recall, differs only slightly from this. Wexford Molly was as vigilant as Kildare Biddy, and never took eye or hand off him till he pointed out the very stalk of booliaun bui under which the treasure lay. There was no other weed of the kind within half the field of it at the moment, but when Molly returned in half an hour, attended by father and brothers with spades and picks, all round the spot, to a considerable distance, was as thick with booliauns as a plantation with young trees.

The Leprehaun

Lady Wilde

The Leprehauns are merry, industrious, tricksy little sprites, who do all the shoemaker's work and the tailor's and the cobbler's for the fairy gentry, and are often seen at sunset under the hedge singing and stitching. They know all the secrets of hidden treasure, and if they take a fancy to a person will guide him to the spot in the fairy rath where the pot of gold lies buried.

It is believed that a family now living near Oastlerea came by their riches in a strange way, all through the good offices of a friendly Leprehaun. And the legend has been handed down through many generations as an established fact.

There was a poor boy once, one of their forefathers, who used to drive his cart of turf daily back and forward, and make what money he could by the sale; but he was a strange boy, very silent and moody, and the people said he was a fairy changeling, for he joined in no sports and scarcely ever spoke to any one, but spent the nights reading all the old bits of books he picked up in his rambles. The one thing he longed for above all others was to get rich, and to be able to give up the old weary turf cart, and live in peace and quietness all alone, with nothing but books round him, in a beautiful house and garden all by himself.

Now he had read in the old books how the Leprehauns knew all the secret places where gold lay hid, and day by day he watched for a sight of the little cobbler, and listened for the click, click of his hammer as he sat under the hedge mending the shoes.

At last, one evening just as the sun set, he saw a little fellow under a dock leaf, working away, dressed all in green, with a cocked hat on his head. So the boy jumped down from the cart and seized him by the neck.

"Now, you don't stir from this," he cried, "till you tell me where to find the hidden gold."

"Easy now," said the Leprehaun, "don't hurt me, and I will tell you all about it. But mind you, I could hurt you if I chose, for I have the power; but I won't do it, for we are cousins once removed. So as we are near relations I'll just be good, and show you the place of the secret gold that none can have or keep except those of fairy blood and race. Come along with me, then, to the old fort of Lipenshaw, for there it lies. But make haste, for when the last red glow of the sun vanishes the gold will disappear also, and you will never find it again."

"Come off, then," said the boy, and he carried the Leprehaun into the turf cart, and drove off. And in a second they were at the old fort, and went in through a door made in the stone wall.

"Now, look round," said the Leprehaun; and the boy saw the whole ground covered with gold pieces, and there were vessels of silver lying about in such plenty that all the riches of all the world seemed gathered there.

"Now take what you want," said the Leprehaun, "but hasten, for if that door shuts you will never leave this place as long as you live."

So the boy gathered up his arms full of gold and silver, and flung them into the cart; and was on his way back for more when the door shut with a clap like thunder, and all the place became dark as night. And he saw no more of the Leprehaun, and had not time even to thank him.

So he thought it best to drive home at once with his treasure, and when he arrived and was all alone by himself he counted his riches, and all the bright yellow gold pieces, enough for a king's ransom.

And he was very wise and told no one; but went off next day to Dublin and put all his treasures into the bank, and found that he was now indeed as rich as a lord.

So he ordered a fine house to be built with spacious gardens, and he had servants and carriages and books to his heart's content. And he gathered all the wise men round him to give him the learning of a gentleman; and he became a great and powerful man in the country, where his memory is still held in high honour, and his descendants are living to this day rich and prosperous; for their wealth has never decreased though they have ever given largely to the poor, and are noted above all things for the friendly heart and the liberal hand.

But the Leprehauns can be bitterly malicious if they are offended, and one should be very cautious in dealing with them, and always treat them with great civility, or they will take revenge and never reveal the secret of the hidden gold.

One day two young lad was out in the fields at work when he saw a little fellow, not the height of his hand, mending shoes under a dock leaf. And he went over, never taking his eyes off him for fear he would vanish away; and when he got quite close he made a grab at the creature, and lifted him up and put him in his pocket.

Then he ran away home as fast as he could, and when he had the Leprehaun safe in the house, he tied him by an iron chain to the hob.

"Now, tell me," he said, "where am I to find a pot of gold? Let me know the place or I'll punish you."

"I know of no pot of gold," said the Leprechaun; "but let me go that I may finish mending the shoes."

"Then I'll make you tell me," said the lad.

And with that he made down a great fire, and put the little fellow on it and scorched him.

"Oh, take me off, take me off!" cried the Leprehaun, "and I'll tell you. Just there, under the dock leaf, where you found me, there is a pot of gold. Go; dig and find."

So the lad was delighted, and ran to the door; but it so happened that his mother was just then coming in with the pail of fresh milk, and in his haste he knocked the pail out of her hand, and all the milk was spilled on the floor.

Then, when the mother saw the Leprehaun, she grew very angry and beat him. "Go away, you little wretch!" she cried, " You have overlooked the milk and brought ill-luck." And she kicked him out of the house.

But the lad ran off to find the dock leaf, though he came back very sorrowful in the evening, for he had dug and dug nearly down to the middle of the earth; but no pot of gold was to be seen.

That same night the husband was coming home from his work, and as he passed the old fort he heard voices and laughter, and one said: "They are looking for a pot of gold; but they little know that a crock of gold is lying down in the bottom of the old quarry, hid under the stones close by the garden wall. But whoever gets it must go of a dark night at twelve o'clock, and beware of bringing his wife with him."

So the man hurried home and told his wife he would go that very night, for it was black dark, and she must stay at home and watch for him, and not stir from the house till he came back. Then he went out into the dark night alone.

"Now," thought the wife, when he was gone, "if I could only get to the quarry before him I would have the pot of gold all to myself; while if he gets it I shall have nothing.

And with that she went out and ran like the wind until she reached the quarry, and than she she began to creep down very quietly in the black dark. But a great stone was in her path, and she stumbled over it, and fell down and down till she reached the bottom, and there she lay groaning, for her leg was broken by the fall.

Just then her husband came to the edge of the quarry and began to descend. But when he heard the groans he was frightened.

"Cross of Christ about us!" he exclaimed; "What is that down below? Is it evil, or is it good?"

"Oh, come down, come down and help me!" cried the woman. "It's your wife is here, and my leg is broken, and I'll die if you don't help me."

"And is this my pot of gold?" exclaimed the poor man. "Only my wife with a broken leg lying at the bottom of the quarry."

And he was at his wits' end to know what to do, for the night was so dark he could not see a hand before him. So he roused up a neighbour, and between them they dragged up the poor woman and carried her home, and laid her on the bed half dead from fright, and it was many a day before she was able to get about as usual; indeed she limped all her life long, so that the people said the curse of the Leprechaun was on her.

But as to the pot of gold, from that day to this not one of the family, father or son, or any belonging to them, ever set eyes on it. However, the little Leprehaun still sits under the dock leaf of the hedge and laughs at them as he mends the shoes with his little hammer -- tick tack, tick tack -- but they are afraid to touch him, for now they know he can take his revenge.

The Solitary Fairies: Lepracaun, Cluricaun, Far Darrig

William Butler Yeats

"The name Lepracaun," Mr. Douglas Hyde writes to me, "is from the Irish leith brog -- i.e., the One-shoemaker, since he is generally seen working at a single shoe. It is spelt in Irish leith bhrogan, or leith phrogan, and is in some places pronounced Luchryman, as O' Kearney writes it in that very rare book, the Feis Tigh Chonain."

The Lepracaun, Cluricaun, and Far Darrig. Are these one spirit in different moods and shapes? Hardly two Irish writers are agreed. In many things these three fairies, if three, resemble each other. They are withered, old, and solitary, in every way unlike the sociable spirits of the first sections. They dress with all unfairy homeliness, and are, indeed, most sluttish, slouching, jeering, mischievous phantoms. They are the great practical jokers among the good people.

The Lepracaun makes shoes continually, and has grown very rich. Many treasure-crocks, buried of old in war-time, has he now for his own. In the early part of this century, according to Croker, in a newspaper office in Tipperary, they used to show a little shoe forgotten by a Lepracaun.

The Cluricaun, (Clobhair-ceann, in O'Kearney) makes himself drunk in gentlemen's cellars. Some suppose he is merely the Lepracaun on a spree. He is almost unknown in Connaught and the north.

The Far Darrig (fear dearg), which means the Red Man, for he wears a red cap and coat, busies himself with practical joking, especially with gruesome joking. This he does, and nothing else.

The Maker of Brogues

Brampton Hunt

There was a young lad travelling the road to a fair, and he passed convenient to a field had a sand pit in the middle of it. What did he see, sitting up in that place with his legs dangling over the edge of the pit, only a little wee man making brogues. The lad took one leap into the field and he walked up to the cobbler.

"Good-morning, mister!" says he. "Might I make so bold as to ask what work you are doing this hour of the morning dew, and what makes you fancy the edge of a pit for a seat?"

"'Tis making brogues I am," says the leprachaun," and they for the Good People's wear."

"I'm thinking you're watching a treasure," says the lad.

"I'm not," says the leprachaun. "But I know where there's plenty hid."

"You be to discover it for me," says the lad.

"Let you wait till this one pair of brogues is made," says the fairy.

So the lad agreed and he sat down to watch him at work.

"Begob," says he, "I never seen any person could hammer in nails such a rate."

"It's a slow worker I'm counted in these parts," says the leprachaun. "Let you look down into the pit at the man is cobbling below. I warrant it's three nails he's driving for each one of mine."

The lad looked over the edge. "There is no man in it at all!" says he.

With that the leprachaun let a laugh.

"There is not," says he.

"There's a sore chastisement waiting on you for deceiving me," answers the other.

But when he stood on his feet and looked round wasn't the leprachaun gone.

"I'm the fool of the whole wide world," says the lad, and he travelled away to the fair.

Revised November 29, 2016.