Last of the Leprechauns !

Last of the Leprechauns !

Have you ever met a Leprechaun ?

I did once, he told me his name was Seán

Surely you have heard of them in tales of old

Of their riches and wealth and their elusive crocks of gold

They can leave you with a blessing or a curse

You never know until it’s too late which is worse

I still remember that day though it’s been so many years

An encounter that ended in disappointment and tears

I was passing one evening by the old Faery fort

Where the King of the Fair folk is said to hold court

As happy as Larry singing a song

When suddenly I heard a strange voice singing along

Stopping for a moment  by the old Hawthorn tree

Caught between curiosity and the urge to flee

When up from a hole, popped this little wee man

Carrying a sack on his back and a little tin can

We both were startled but he recovered first

I swear he said  – “ Bejaysus lad, I’m dying of thirst !

I’ve no water to make me a pot of tea

Listen lad, can ya do a favour for me ?

Will ya run down to the well and fill me old tin can

There ya go, like a good young man”

He pushed the tin can towards me with an air of expectation

And I found myself spellbound, obeying without question

“I’ve been working all day searching for my crock of gold

I’m getting very forgetful and very old

I’m sure I left it in this field last year

But begorra, I can’t remember where.

If you help me find it I’ll share some with you “

It was the crock of gold that stuck in my head

So it was true what the old tales said

The bait had been swallowed,the trap had been set

“But first I need me cup of tea so off with you to the well”

It didn’t take me that long as far as I can tell

Just as I came over the brow of the hill

Angry voices one like gravel the other one shrill

There were two of them now as I got near

I crept a little closer so that I could hear

“Good evening brother This is my patch of land”  

The second Leprechaun had a shillelagh in his hand

“Upto no good I bet, trying to steal my gold

And with a human thief so foolish and bold”

And with that he gave me a withered look 

A face so angry my legs just shook

In my terror I must have dropped the tin can

I had to escape, I turned and just ran

As fast as I could, tumbling and stumbling

All I could hear was my incoherently mumbling

The old folks say they can be contrary and cantankerous

Bad tempered, rude and even dangerous 

Often speaking in riddles and rhymes 

Telling tales and sagas from ancient times

Myths and legends,half truths and white lies

You can see the glint and glee in their eyes

Masters of deception and illusion

Causing uncertainty and confusion

They’ll have you chasing rainbows through hedgerows and ditches

In a desperate search for a crock of gold and other riches

Or your own shadow if you don’t take care

Then in a puff and a blink they’ll disappear 

Leaving only their mocking laughter ringing in your ears

A sound you’ll never forget for the rest of your years

So if you ever happen to meet the rascally rogue 

Don’t be fooled by his silvery tongue and cute Irish brogue.

C Denis Murphy  23 June 2021.

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