Anyone Up for Catching a Leprechaun?

leprechaun (1)It’s been snowy, so leprechauns may not be out yet. But the white stuff is melting and spring on its way to the valley, so maybe. According to the small people in the family, in order to catch one, you dig a shallow hole–deeper, if you’re in a digging mood–beneath the old maple tree in our front yard, then disguise it with twigs and sticks, fallen from the tree, and add some tempting leaves and flower petals. The clover isn’t really out yet, and the best blossoms they can find are tiny white snowdrops. The idea is similar to a tiger trap, the thinking being that the unsuspecting leprechaun will tumble into the trap and stay there until discovered by eager youngsters. What they’d do with one if they caught it, hasn’t been hotly debated. No one has a clue. I’m not sure they even realize these magical little guys have a bag of gold at the end of the rainbow, or that they’re required to grant you three wishes upon their release.

Snowdrops one

(Snowdrops blooming in our yard. Image by Elise)

irish shamrocksRecently, six yr old granddaughter Emma asked her Aunt Elise if leprechauns actually exist. Elise said that all depends on who you ask. Many would say ‘yes’ and there are a lot of stories about leprechauns. Satisfied, Emma returned to her task. Heaven knows our resident fairy expert, my niece Cailin, knows about leprechauns. They fall into her area of expertise, as they’re a type of fairy in Irish folklore. Nine yr old grandson, Ian, the original instigator of the annual trap laying, had a theory that a leprechaun hitched a ride to his school in the pot of shamrocks his teacher brought to class, found its way into his backpack, and then ultimately my yard. I’m told I have highly fairy, and likely, leprechaun friendly gardens with all my herbs and flowers. Scant this year, though, until warmer winds blow favorably upon our realm. It’s been a long winter.

Last spring, Elise dipped the small foot of a doll into green paint and walked her around the trap, to give the kids a thrill. Just missing a leprechaun is almost as good as snaring one.


Who remembers Darby O’Gill and the Little People? I saw the film years after it first came out in 1959, when my children were young, but we all found it enchanting. Although the banshee scared the bejeebers out of us and seeing Sean Connery with dark brown hair and singing was rather a shock for me. He was much younger then. I was a preschooler in ’59, only they didn’t have preschool in those days. Plus, I was in Taiwan where I spent much of my early childhood and they most definitely did not have leprechauns. Dragons, however, are another matter.

(Image of Darby O’Gill and King Brian)

Sandra’s seen a leprechaun,
Eddie touched a troll,
Laurie danced with witches once,
Charlie found some goblins gold.
Donald heard a mermaid sing,
Susy spied an elf,
But all the magic I have known
I’ve had to make myself.”
― Shel SilversteinWhere the Sidewalk Ends

***This is a repost from last March, but very fitting.

6 responses to “Anyone Up for Catching a Leprechaun?

  1. Beth, my daughter Bea and I love Shel Silverstein and hate that he died. I remember the first time I saw the Darby O’Gill movie was in the 1980s and, as you mentioned, I was shocked to see Sean Connery dance and sing. P.S. Let me know if a leprechaun falls into the trap.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Och! the wee people 🙂 My Mum took me to see this movie when I was very small. I laid my head in her lap when the part of the Banshee came on 🙂 My Mum honestly believed in these wee folk and told me a few stories about her Grandda and Uncles and the wee Leprechauns. There is also another movie that you might enjoy watching as well, it’s called The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns – a lovely story with both leprechauns and wee fairies 🙂 I have a wee leprechaun figurine from Ireland sitting in my front room – every time I see it, it reminds me of Darby O’Gill and the Little People – one of my absolute favorite movies of all times 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Beth! The post brought back some wonderful memories for me 🙂 Patty Taylor

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Perfect post for this time of year. I can’t remember if I ever saw that movie.
    Sue B

    Liked by 2 people

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