A leprechaun, by all rights is a cobbler. A little one, it’s true, but a shoe maker none the less. He actually makes shoes for fairies, which kind of turns my world upside down because I thought fairies went barefoot, but that goes to show what I know!
His title is Gaelic,and there’s a bit of debate which Gaelic word this stems from (luacharma’n meaning pigmy or leith brogan meaning maker of shoes)*
In reality, the leprechaun carries one shoe and one shoe only because he hides the second one.
You won’t see much of the leprechauns in the winter. They hibernate underground. But in the summer, when you hear their little hammers tapping away at their shoe making (do not mistake this sound for a woodpecker!) you can peek into the woods and there you will see the green coat and red hat of a leprechaun! Many people have seen them, so we know they’re real. We also know their secret.
William Allingham titled “The Lepracaun; Or, Fairy Shoemaker”
“Lay your ear close to the hill.
Do you not catch the tiny clamour,
Busy click of an elfin hammer,
Voice of the Lepracaun singing shrill
As he merrily plies his trade?”
Now, maybe they are just frugal little men who hide their pennies away every time they sell a pair of shoes, I don’t know. For all the fairies we’ve read about walking down all those Roman roads (see my prior post), goodness knows the shoe business must be booming in little people land! And since the leprechauns sleep all winter, what would they spend money on?
People have captured the little guys and have inquired as to where his pot of gold might be. Some people have gone so far as to steal from them and hold the item as ransom. Pushing the issue as to the whereabouts of the pot of gold is not always a good idea. Leprechauns can, and do play tricks. And if you cross them, well, their pranks may not be so funny!