Jane im Jahre 1864, inzwischen Lady Wilde, mit dreiundvierzig Jahren.
Nach einem Aquarell von Bernard Mulrenin.
From Lady Wilde's Ancient Legends of Ireland, pp 56-59
The Leprechauns 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 him to the spot in the fairy rath where the pot of gold lies buried. It is believed that a family now living near Castlerea came by their riches in a strange way, all though the good offices of a friendly Leprechaun. 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 Leprechauns 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 Leprechaun, "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 Leprechaun into the turf cart, and drove off. 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 Leprechaun; 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 Leprechaun, "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 Leprechaun, 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 build 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 honor, 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.
Originally coined by Thomas Keightley in The Fairy Mythology (1850) from the Irish "Leith bhroyan" or "Leith phroyan" meaning "one shoemaker," comes the name Leprechaun. They are also known by the name Gentry. In addition, Jewish folklore tells of a similar creature, the Sheedem or Shedim. It is now demonized and the name used derogatorily in reference to pagan deities. Their typical habitat is wild areas with large grassy hills.
Leprechauns are a race of cobblers whose craftsmanship is beyond compare. As a result, their wares go for astonishing sums which makes most of them exceedingly wealthy and is likely the source of the tales of their pots of gold. Infamous hoarders, they are loathe to spend a single penny, which probably explains their poor appearance in spite of their great wealth. Some legends says that once a leprachaun begins dancing to a human's song, he cannot stop until the tune ceases. His exhausted state may cause him to make outlandish offers, including his crock of gold, if you will please only allow him to stop dancing. Other means of finding his gold include looking at the end of a rainbow, which may lead him offer 3 wishes in exchange for his treasure. His promises of gold alway proves hollow, as the Leprechaun always employs clever tricks in his granting of wishes, often resulting in the embarrassment or injury to the one who expected a bounteous reward.
Green is the color of choice among this race, though their clothing is never extravagant. Their footwear, however, is a source of pride and every Leprechaun posses the very finest he can make. Their clientele is exclusively faery and legend holds that they only make one shoe at a time, never pairs.
Apparently, the race is exclusively male as no female Leprechaun have ever been seen.
Some Leprechauns belong to the unseelie court; they are raiders of wine cellars who revel drunkenly after dark riding the backs of sheep or shepherd's dogs. The name cluricauns (kloor-a-kawns) is applied to the dark members of the family. Cluricauns often favor red clothing to set themselves apart from the seelie Leprechauns.