An Interview with a Leprechaun
with Johnny Birdsong
I once met a new friend in my younger years, Lonat’an. He is Irish and a part of the Leprechaun family. As we are coming up on St Patrick’s Day I got in touch and asked if he would share a few minutes with me to maybe clear up some myths.
JB: Hello Lonat’an. Thank you for being with us. For many years now, I have seen leprechauns in cartoons, books, cereal boxes and even scary movies. Can you help me clear up some facts versus folklore?
Lonat’an: Top of the mornin to you. It’s great to be talking with you. Yes, there have been many a story about my family, and most of it is a load of blarney! My family is from Carlingford Lough, an hour or so outside Dublin. We are one of the fairy species. We were originally the cobblers crafting shoes for all the fairies – you may not think it, but we fairies share several traits. The obvious and the not so; like always on the go, never sitting, always busy and a love of dance. Thus, wearing out shoes. It was a great business, and my ancestors were very shrewd and intelligent, especially with their treasure and possessions. We then became bankers, if you will, for the entire fairy world.
JB: So, is this where the “pot of gold” thing came from?
Lonat’an: Ah, yes! Pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars and green clovers... They’re always after my lucky charms. It’s fascinating how a story can grow. Before there were actual banks, safes, lockboxes and electronic transfers we had to hide valuables and treasures from less-than-honorable people. So, we, like your people Johnny, up in Kentucky, still hide our treasures in caves, under trees, in the backyard and, yes, even mattresses. Whenever my family was asked to tell where the treasure was, we would say: “At the end of the rainbow,” because you will never find the “end” of the rainbow. (laughs). We have now kept up with the times...as far as you know.
JB: Back when we met, you told me that St. Patrick’s Day is a religious celebration and not just an excuse to get belligerently drunk. Will you share the history with our readers?
Lonat’an: Well, Saint Patrick was the patron saint of Ireland. He was born in Britain when it was ruled by the Romans, sometime in the fifth century. At the age of sixteen, he was captured by Irish pirates and forced to work as a slave in Ireland. He lived there for six years until he mustered up the courage to escape. He snuck off, stowed away on a ship, and walked through the forest of Great Britain for twenty-eight days before he found his freedom. Escaping from pirates at the age of twenty-two seems like a great origin story. Later, he became a priest. Then, he went back to Ireland to share his teachings of Christianity, and he left such an impression that a few hundred years after his death, he was given an official saint designation – St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.
JB: It’s been said that an Irish man can charm the legs off anything or anyone. What characteristics do you feel are important to being a Southern Irish Gentleman?
Lonat’an: Mo chara (my friend), if you are trying to be your best, you need to possess a few of the following Irish traits: Work hard, be honest, be family-oriented, sense of humor, keep with traditions, create lifetime memories and, most importantly, be kind to all! Thank you so much Lonat’an, for sharing your time. I hope you have a wonderful day. As you can see leprechauns are a species unto themselves and you can’t deny they have many unique characteristics. Ahem. They can be mischievous and prone to play tricks and err on the side of hyperbole. But, all Southern Gentlemen - Irish or otherwise, strive to be entertaining. So, celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year with a little bit more luck in your life and and, as Lonat’an would say, “Go n-eirí an t-ádh leat!” May the road rise to meet you!