Mythical Monday: Chasing Leprechauns by Mae Clair

Top ‘o the morning to ye and Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Although I ran this post last year, I thought it worth re-sharing on this splendid day marking the wearin’ of the green.  Last year St. Patrick’s Day didn’t fall on a Mythical Monday. This year, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity when the date coincided so perfectly (maybe the wee folk had something to do with it)! So enjoy a virtual green beer on me while I trot out a much beloved figure from myth.

Leprechaun Sitting on ToadstoolRemember when you were a kid, and you wanted to catch a leprechaun? If you were like me, it had nothing to do with that legendary pot of gold. What was gold to a kid? The allure was the idea of a magical wee creature who could move between worlds. Spying a leprechaun meant maybe, just maybe, the veil between everyday reality and a hidden otherworld grew thin enough to cross over. What child wouldn’t want to explore a fairytale realm where enchantment was king?

Shoemakers by trade, Leprechauns were mostly solitary, but they enjoyed a good reel with the fiddle and tin whistles at night. Kindred to the Fair Folk, they were descended from the great Tuatha Dé Danann, and squirreled their gold away in buried pots. If you were crafty enough to catch a leprechaun and kept your eye fixed on him, he’d have to reveal the location of his gold when asked. One blink, however, and he quickly vanished from sight.

When I was a kid, there was a huge open field across the street from my house. It backed up to the rear yards of the homes on that side, and stretched the full length of the neighborhood. It was a magical place fully of whimsy. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was an enchanted realm all its own. There were walnut trees and wild flowers, clusters of honeysuckle and patches of sun-sweetened strawberries. When dusk settled, my friends and I gathered to watch bats launch from the tops of snarled dark trees. In the winter, we donned skates and glided on frozen ground water beneath a full moon. Autumn was perfect for gathering acorns and trekking to the “big hill” that sprouted from the earth like a mythical fairy mound.

Pot of GoldI never did find a leprechaun in that magical kingdom, not that I ever put any great energy into the search. I preferred to imagine one of the wee folk watching from beneath a shaded leaf or a plump toadstool. The problem with magic is that when you leash it, the enchantment fades. Perhaps that is why leprechauns and pots of gold only exist at the end of rainbows for rainbows have no end.

I don’t have a drop of Irish blood in my veins – – I’m Italian and German with a smidgen of Brit mixed in – – but I think all of us feel a connection to the Emerald Isle, especially during the month of March. So whether you’re Irish or just honorary for the day like me, here’s hoping your day is filled with rainbows and the blessings of the wee folk.

Was there a magical place you remember from childhood? Do you have any special St. Patrick’s Day traditions?

18 thoughts on “Mythical Monday: Chasing Leprechauns by Mae Clair

  1. Happy St. Paddy’s Mae! I don’t drink beer – green or any other color – but I am looking forward to a “Shamrock Shake” from McDonalds. Lovely green color and a fresh mint flavor. An treat I can only indulge in around this time of year. Cheers!

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    • Ooo, Shamrock Shakes! How I loved them and always looked forward to them at this time of year. Nowadays they don’t agree with me 😦 Have one on me, Heather and a Happy St. Paddy’s day to you too!

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  2. Magical places abounded in my childhood. Acres of orchards with irrigation canals running through them meant lots and lots of vegetation. A perfect place for all things magic to hide and for young imaginations to soar! A fun place to revisit, so thank you for taking me there this morning! Happy St. Patrick’s Day and here’s hoping the wee folk always keep a loving eye on you!

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    • I love the sound of your magical places. What fun you must have had creating adventures. Isn’t it fun to look back on all of that childhood whimsy? I never tire of it. Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Debbie. May your day be filled with rainbows!

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    • Kids always find the neatest way to eat food, LOL. I used to love the corned beef and cabbage at an Irish pub called Duffy’s Tavern. Then I got weirded out by the beef, but I still love cabbage. Yum! Happy St. Paddy’s day, Jessi!

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  3. Happy Paddy’s Day from Ireland. I had a visit from my nephew who was dressed head to toe in green. That was festive enough for me. Oh, and we watched a bit of Disney’s Darby O’ Gill and the Little People.

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    • I was thinking of you today, Emma, and the festivities that must be taking place on the Emerald Isle. I bet your nephew looked adorable. Sending you wishes for a happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

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  4. Your childhood landscape sounds lovely. As children, magic seemed everywhere, didn’t it? We had fields of phlox and an orange grove behind us. I spent many happy hours up in the trees with fairies and sprites. It’s nice to have a holiday dedicated to the wee folk.

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    • I can imagine all the magic you discovered in that orange grove and fields, Flossie. I bet the faeries and sprites are still frolicking there. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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  5. Mae – the machine at the location closest to my house was BROKEN! *sigh* NO green minty milkshakes for me on St. Patrick’s Day. *sob sob sob*

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  6. I knew I could count on you, Mae. Before I started reading blogs tonight I ran and put my robe on. Why my robe? Well, I hoped you would talk about the ‘wee green’ today and you didn’t let me down. (I must confess, my robe is pale green from surviving the washing process but it is green). I’m so behind on Mythical Monday’s – I’m off to do a bit of reading.
    Almost forgot, my favorite place as a child was the hayloft. I could read there for hours and hours and ignore everyone who called out to me.

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    • Hi, Sheri, all dressed in green 🙂 You knew I couldn’t let a Mythical Monday AND St. Patrick’s pass without some mention of the wee folk. Thanks for visiting and enjoying my blog. Oh, and the hayloft sounds like such a wonderful place to sneak away and read. What great memories you must have!

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