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Probably one of the most famous legendary nature folks are the leprechauns. They’re said to be good natured, but can be quite unpleasant when provoked. I’d like to think that most of the leprechauns & fae would be like the 1999 movie “The Magical Legend Of The Leprechauns“: Friendly, quirky, fun, yet sincere.
If they were as maniacal as the ones in the many horror movies they would’ve made quick work of harming and enslaving us humans all ready.
The old lore reports them as small, about 2 to 3 feet tall, withered almost elderly, dressed in homely fashion, red or green waistcoats with silver or gold buttons and lacing, leather aprons, blue stockings, silver buckled shoes & a 3 cornered hat on which they can reportedly do a head stand on and spin like a top. Our modern familiar description of leprechauns dressed in a green suit with a top hat adorned with gold buckles comes from the commercialized images for cereal and St. Patty’s Day and cartoons types such as that. Their association with St. Patricks day is only as a symbol of Ireland and nothing to do with original holiday.
Leprechauns having a pot of gold and a human being able to get it is a predominant part of the legends. The ways to get the leprechaun to give his gold up varies slightly in the tellings. One way is to grab him, keep your eyes on him and that’s supposed to make him tell you or show you the location of his pot of gold.
The Leprechauns are supposed to be cobblers for the faeries, yet they reportedly make only one shoe. This belief derives from accounts of folks seeing them only working on one shoe.
Here’s my thought, maybe the reason they’re seen only working on one shoe is because even if they’re making a pair of anything, they would only be able to work on one item at a time.
But then again, I’ve been thinking of the style that the faerie shoes are usually portrayed in art and sightings. The specific design in a new shoe really wouldn’t be orientated for the left or the right foot. It’d be up to the wearer to take the 2 shoes and break-them in to whichever foot they wanted to. Perhaps, that’s why the legend says Leprechauns only work on one shoe. You can’t tell a difference.
I’ve read it’s the right shoe and sure enough that simple style would always be right & could never be wrong.
I haven’t found a mention of female leprechauns in the early lore. The absence of sightings of female leprechauns gave rise to the speculation that there wasn’t any. I’ve not read anywhere how those uni-sex legends explained leprechaun reproduction. Perhaps the legends of the females and children living in deep caves and rarely venturing out explains why no one saw them or it could be they’re just super careful regardless of where they live.
There seems to be a new addition to the lore that the females have beards. I find the idea of bearded female leprechauns silly, but in the realm of nature folks it may be a natural occurrence. Personally, I think the concept of bearded female leprechauns was invented by the same type of a joker that says pixie-dust comes from the south end of a north bound pixie. I think a female leprechaun with a beard would be almost as rare as a human female with a long silky beard. Not impossible, but not the norm.
Tanis Helliwell author of ‘Summer with the Leprechauns‘ (didn’t mention any bearded females.) In her book, she told about her spending a summer in a cottage in Ireland with a family of leprechauns: males, females and children.
In the article ‘Green Eyes from Tipperary – Doolin, Ireland’ Kris Dueck, a travel writer told of a bearded female leprechaun biting him. But he didn’t elaborate on it. My guess is he was trying to be comical and probably referring to an animal or just his imagination.
Here’s a couple other beliefs some folks have:
*Some folks believe at the end of rainbow is where the leprechauns hide their gold.
*Leprechauns having the magical power to grant three wishes to someone who catches them in exchange for their release.
I’m not posting many resource links this time, Leprechauns are one of the few nature folks that you can easily find tons of info through a search engine.