We have all heard of Leprechauns haven’t we. Tiny and elaborately dressed beings just hanging around with a pot of gold waiting for us to ask them for a share.
I have always had a problem with this. Why on earth would they want to share their gold with me? Fairy gold should be guarded by dragons (insert mental picture of Smaug curled over a huge pile of dwarf gold here) not just there for the asking!
This article from County Westmeath in August 1908 tells the story of a strange person who had been seen in the district for some time, mostly by children, and who was assumed to be a leprechaun.
For two months there had been sightings of this mythological being until he was apprehended by two policemen.
That is a surprise because usually these stories end with “and we never saw him again”.
The policemen took this unusual person to the workhouse in Mullingar where he was looked upon with awe and interest by the other inmates.
The workhouse sounds more like a prison-house doesn’t it, with ‘inmates’ and the fact that he was locked up inside and the crowds clamouring for a sighting were locked outside.
This strange person didn’t appear to have much in the way of gold with him, nor was he able to communicate properly either. What was it, I wonder, that made them suggest he was one of the fairy folk? That he was small?
Was he wearing the expected leprechaun garb? I always thought of leprechauns as quite articulate beings too, always ready with a rhyme, or maybe I just read too many fairy tales.
The article also says he was wearing workhouse clothes so I have to wonder what happened to what he was wearing when he was found.
What it seems these policemen found is a person, likely dressed in rags, small of stature and inarticulate, not looking like a leprechaun or guarding a pot of gold. Hmmm… how long was it do you think before they gave up trying to find his pot of gold and just let him ‘escape’?