Doug Elwell's Mysterious World: Ireland(1) is an unusual travel guide that delves not only into the history of ancient Ireland, but its fascinating myths and legends as well. In this passage from his book, Elwell writes about the most celebrated of all Irishfairy folk, the Leprechaun...
The leprechaun, a classic example of a solitary fairy, is often called "the fairy shoemaker" because in the folktales they are often discovered by the gentle tapping noise they make with the tiny hammers they use to make their tiny shoes. The one who discovers their hiding place usually finds only a few tiny tools and the tiny shoe that the leprechaun had been working on just before their discovery, however, as leprechauns usually manage to escape just in time before being spotted. But if one is "lucky" enough to actually spot a leprechaun, he can be forced to reveal the location of his treasure, which usually consists of not only the stereotypical "pot o' gold", but may also contain all kinds of ancient, magical items of great power and worth that the leprechaun has managed to acquire (steal) over the centuries. Read more at ireland.mysteriousworld.com(2).
Artwork by Jeff Dee, © 2005 Mysterious World