Mawgrim's Prompts - 6. Leprechaun Magic
Prompt #29 - write a short story from the point of view of a leprechaun.
Ash Month Day 28
Today is the eve of our annual feast to celebrate the coming of spring to the island. The humans call the day St Patrick’s and although it once held religious symbolism, nowadays they party almost as wildly as we do. It’s a good job we’re solitary folk for the most part. I mean, whenever a whole bunch of leprechauns get together there’s always plenty of:
- drinking, followed by
- arguing, followed almost inevitably by
- fighting and sometimes mating.
Although, to be honest, it’s hard to tell the difference a lot of the time. Last year I woke up next morning with a pounding head, a load of bruises and very little memory of what had happened the night before. Liam said I narrowly avoided being run over by a milk truck on the R173 but I’m not sure. In my two hundred and seventy three years of experience, you don’t end up with a sore arsehole from getting hit by traffic, whether it’s a horse and cart or one of these newfangled motorised vehicles.
My name is Cian. That’s pronounced Kee-an for you non-Irish folk, not sy-an like that wishy washy blue-green colour the humans keep in their inkjet printers. Did you know it was Conor the leprechaun who worked out the spell that means whenever a human goes to use a printer for the first time in a few months it’s always the ink colour most essential to their task that’s run dry? Drives ‘em mad, it does. Good one, Conor.
Anyway, I digress. We’re good at digressing. It’s one way to distract those humans. But that comes later. I live in our protected homeland near Sliabh Feá. Well, most of the time, I do, except when I get the urge to ramble, then I can be anywhere across the island.
According to a survey the humans did there are two hundred and thirty-six of us left, but I’m thinking they probably asked old Fergus to give the numbers. He likes to consider himself one of our elders at nine hundred-odd years of age and as usual he would have been either drunk or lying through his teeth. Well, the ones he has left. And I reckon his estimates are well out of date. I mean, I’ve never seen more than twenty of us folk together in any one time or place and I’m a well-travelled fellow.
A lot of our traditional homes have been built over, or polluted, or otherwise spoiled. They say some of us emigrated to a country far across the sea, but I’m not sure about that.
There’s a problem with humans, you see. Apart from their urge to build and pollute and destroy, they believe in this stupid folklore that says if they catch one of us and threaten him with physical violence, he’ll give them three wishes.
Now, I ask you. If you were captured by a creature at least two and a half times bigger than yourself, with a reputation for destruction and he said, ‘Look here, my lad. Give us three wishes or I’ll batter you into next week,’ then what would you do? What we all do, really. Wait until they get distracted or tell them some tall story about there being a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and hope they’ll go away. It works, some of the time. Or you can just give them the three wishes. Most of them are stupid enough to wish for the wrong thing.
Wishes are tricky, see? You don’t phrase them exactly right and they can turn round and bite you. Oh, yes. The last human who tried it with me, back in their year 2006 wished for:
- A Mercedes Benz. What he wanted was a brand new C-230 but he didn’t say that, so what he got was a rusty old 300e.
- For Siobhan Doyle to go out with him. Which she did (all the while wondering why she’d said yes when this spotty teenager asked her) until half way through the date the glamour wore off, she told him to get stuffed and went home.
- To win the lottery. Only he didn’t specify the Irish Lottery, did he? I’m told that on some remote South Pacific island, they’ve only just given up looking for the owner of the winning ticket no one turned up to claim.
Of course, there was a reason I got caught that time. I’d been looking out for Finn, just prior to St Patrick’s that year. He’s the cutest leprechaun you ever did see; a bit shorter than I am and blond. We’re almost the same age and I’m pretty sure he likes me. Back then, it seemed whenever we went on the roam our paths would cross somewhere. Maybe it was destiny. Anyway, I was going to ask him to dance with me on St Patrick’s Day and I was thinking about where that might lead when that stupid boy crept up on me. Ever since then, I’ve been a lot more careful. And I’ve met up with Finn a few more times, but leprechaun courtship isn’t quick. Three years ago, during the winter solstice at Brú na Bóinne, we kissed. The memory of that has kept me warm many a night.
There’s a mystery about how leprechauns come into being. That’s because all leprechauns are male. There’s never been a female leprechaun, although Darragh likes to wear make up and high heels these days. But that’s because he saw a show about drag queens on one of those television boxes and got ideas.
The humans have a legend we’re the offspring of an evil spirit and a fairy, but that’s just stupid. No fairy I know would let an evil spirit near her. Fairies are snobs. They won’t even talk to another species, let alone do what it takes to make a baby.
Leprechaun babies are always found under the bridge of a triple rainbow, a few weeks after St Patrick’s Day. It doesn’t happen often and no one I’ve talked to is quite sure how it comes about. We grow to adulthood far faster than humans, then we stay looking much the same throughout our long lives.
Anyway, I’m digressing again. It’s St Patrick’s Day today and we’ll be meeting in the Sliabh Feá forest. That’s the part of the island the EU (some kind of human organisation) were persuaded into giving protected status for us to live in. I reckon it was Darragh who got that one done. He’s always been good at confounding humans to do what he wants.
So, I’m off to the St Patrick’s do, having brushed my hair and beard, put on my best red jacket - yes, red - green is one of those newfangled notions that came about because humans associate the colour with our island. To be sure it’s one of the greenest places on earth, but it’s not like you need camouflage when you can just disappear. And maybe, I’ll dance with Finn tonight.
Alder Month - Day 1
Woke in the arms of my beloved Finn. I remember meeting him early in the evening, drinking and dancing. Then us both vanishing off to the hollow tree I call home and spending a whole night loving. ‘It was magical,’ he said and I won’t argue with him there. During the night, at one point when we were so close even the Brown Bull of Cooley couldn’t have pulled us apart, a storm built over the hills. I could feel it deep inside me, just like Finn was and it was like we were both connected, as one with the tree, the earth and the whole of this blessèd isle. We loved, long and slow, while lightning flickered overhead and as we neared the peak of ecstasy, it struck the tree. The jolt I felt melded us together; like an eternity of loving compressed into a single, blinding moment. After that, we finally fell asleep.
Alder Month - Day 14
Finn and I have gone our separate ways. Spring always gets me mighty restless and I have an urge to go west, while he sets out for the northern glens. We’ll meet up when summer nights are short and the waves are kissed by the moon in Dundrum Bay. Until then, I keep his memories in my heart.
There’s been a lot of showery weather this spring. The island turf is greener than ever and each day for the past seven I’ve seen rainbows at least once. They draw my gaze like never before. I find myself staring at the colours; the way they melt into each other, like Finn and me. Two beings as one. I find myself feeling strangely - lonely - without him nestled next to me and wonder if he feels the same. Is this how the humans are? Is this why they choose to live so close in their ugly houses and mix with each other every day? Is there something wrong with me?
Afternoon brings blue sky and dark grey clouds. Wet grass reflecting the sunlight into a thousand tiny rainbow droplets. I sit, watching them, as they tremble, then break, running down the stems into the dark soil. The world has slowed today. Sheets of rain course over the landscape, followed by the blessing of sunshine. I look up and there, over a patchwork of stone walls and green fields, is the triple rainbow. It’s moving away, so I have to be fast, leaping from one place to the next, chasing it down before the sun gets swallowed by the next bank of cloud. And as I make my final leap, there’s someone else side by side with me. Finn.
‘I thought you were in the north.’
‘I was, but something drew me here. I knew I had to be with you.’
Right then I become aware this is a moment that needs both of us, just like that night when the lightning struck. We don’t have long.
The rainbow is fading, but in the centre of the field, under the apex of the arch, there’s a golden light. We reach it at the same time and there, lying on the grass is a smiling little leprechaun with Finn’s eyes and my nose and hair that looks like someone mixed the colour of his and mine together. But he’s still a thing of light and shadows, like a raindrop quivering in sunlight, about to melt away.
He looks up and chuckles, raising his hands to us. We lift him together at the same moment the sun vanishes and suddenly he’s there in our linked arms, solid and real.
I know his name at the same time Finn does. Rian. Our baby. Our son.
Story Discussion Topic
- 20 replies
You probably have a crazy and hectic schedule and find it hard to keep up with everything going on. We get it, because we feel it too. Signing up here is a great way to keep in touch and find something relaxing to read when you get a few moments to spare.
Create an account or sign in to comment
You need to be a member in order to leave a comment
Create an account
Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!Register a new account
Already have an account? Sign in here.Sign In Now