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The thing about leprechauns

March 26, 2013

One of my earliest memories is arriving to my kindergarten classroom on St. Patrick’s Day only to discover the whole room turned topsy-turvy with the windows left wide open.  Keep in mind this was March 17 in Pensacola so Minnesota’s winter wind wasn’t something we had to contend with.  The alarmed and shell-shocked teacher asked us all to help her pick up and to see if we could figure out what happened.  Eventually one of my classmates discovered footprints – GREEN! and lots of them on the windowsills.  Leprechauns!

I only have a few memories from kindergarten, but this one is definitely my favorite.  As the Luck of the Irish would have it, those leprechauns stuck with me my whole life, and now they come to visit each year that my children remember to put out our special St. Paddy’s day treasure box.   Fortunately, we know all about the wee folk, their friends, and all their doin’s.

Once or twice, we have been pixie-led in a forest.  We have listened for water sprites in babbling brooks.  We look for faerie nets in the morning dew, and we sincerely hope that those faeries are wearing out their shoes.  (Of course, that’s how the leprechauns get their gold – fixin’ faerie shoes.)  Then there are the leprechauns. . .

As I’ve gotten older, I seem to have a complicated relationship with the three that visit our house.  For as long back as Reed was old enough to leave out a treasure box, the same three Irishmen have visited our house.  Oh, I believe in them, but I just don’t endorse their ways all the time.  The funny thing about leprechauns is they do keep their promises; albeit not exactly the way you think they should.

They are obliged to fill that treasure box if you leave that treasure box out by the light of the moon on St. Patrick’s Eve.  The problem arises when the whole “Hey! They’re trying to find me gold” mentality that the wee folk have rears its ugly head.  When the kids were really little that thought never crossed their minds. But as it goes with children, they, too, get bigger and their thinking gets more sophisticated.

Almost overnight, some type of magic switch turns itself on, and my normal children become construction experts as well as engineering and architectural aficionados.  They have created elaborate traps, each offering some alluring “bait” to entice the leprechauns to enter in the hopes of hitting it big – meeting a leprechaun.  (So far, none have spent their gold before they caught one.)

Trap 2013 - complete with Fairy Cloie's house on top of a gold mine

Trap 2013 – complete with Fairy Cloie’s house on top of a gold mine

All the shoes that Fairy Cloie needs repaired.

All the shoes that Fairy Cloie needs repaired.

All that gold - notice the trap door string.

All that gold – notice the trap door string.

Well, despite their yearly return, the leprechauns don’t take too kindly all this trap business.  Each year they leave a treasure ranging to sugary cereal like Lucky charms (which my kids’ mom would never buy) and various Irish treats and treasures.  But what they really leave is a big fat mess and a treasure box hidden in some elaborate place!  Whole rooms of furniture have been turned upside down, children’s rooms have been toilet papered, and one year the entire dining room was set up outside on the lawn.  They might be little, but they aren’t weak.

Expensive cereal and messes in my house! Sometimes my love of these pint-sized gentlemen wears a little thin.  But when I see the sweetness in the notes they leave each and every year encouraging my kids to keep studying because someday  – just someday – they might actually catch one of them, my heart goes right back to my first leprechaun encounter all those years ago.

So to Seamus, Finnegan, and O’Malley if you are out there reading this blog, thank you for keeping the magic alive at our house. Somedays it really does pays to be an Irish girl, especially one young of heart.

Oops, I almost forgot. Finnegan – Cloie did find your hat, and she promises next year to leave it next to the trap treasure box.

Finnegan's hat and this year's note.

Finnegan’s hat and this year’s note.

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  1. A letter to the Leprechauns | kandynolesstevens

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