Well, everyone, St. Patrick’s Day is upon us. It’s time to drink green beer, celebrate Irish culture, and the unwanted arrival of Christianity into Ireland. But let’s not get political about things! That’s not our objective here. I’m addressing you on behalf of “Li’l Lucky Ones,” which is a non-profit group that helps raise awareness of Leprechauns and their plight. Treating Leprechauns right and respecting their culture is particularly important this St. Patty’s Day season.
Let me begin by telling you a few things that Leprechauns are NOT:
They’re not imaginary. They’re real. Very real, and they played and important role in early Irish culture. They were the first shoemakers (look it up). Without leprechauns, the early people of Ireland would have no shoes. They were also the first bankers — protecting pots of gold in pre-christian Ireland was an important job. Those who were large and strong enough to farm and manufacture, didn’t have time to watch gold, but the leprechauns did, and they were incredibly good at it.
They’re not evil. In fact, they’re quite the opposite. Mischievous? Clever? Conniving? Maybe a bit of all those things, but they are not vicious or violent. Do not show defensiveness or aggression towards them. If you see a leprechaun, and you would like to approach it, do so with your hands visible, and don’t move quickly. Put out an open hand so the leprechaun can smell you, but DO NOT PET THEM. They don’t like to be touched.
They’re not tiny little gingers. This has become a particularly pressing point in our group’s message. Since gingers have become a big part of pop culture in a negative way, it’s a new battle they’ve had to fight. If you call a leprechaun a little ginger, there’s a very good chance they will tie your shoes together, or they will transform into a child and loudly accuse you of trying to touch them.
So what do you really need to know about leprechauns and why should you care?
You should care because if you don’t, they will inevitably find a way to spite you. That’s what they’re good at. In fact, some Irish historians claim that the great potato famine was the result of a vengeful clan of leprechauns destroying crops all over the countryside.
You should also care because they are a cultural minority, and they do not breed outside their own race. That means their numbers are limited. They are essentially an endangered species.
If you see one, approach it with care, as I previously mentioned, and please don’t directly ask for your three wishes. If the Leprechaun trusts you enough, it will grant you those wishes, but you must earn that trust. Help them where you can, hire them at your establishment, leave a bowl of potatoes and cabbage on your doorstep (do not leave Lucky Charms, leprechauns find them horribly offensive and consider the offering of them a personal attack.)
Let’s all be more aware of our little friends and learn to treat them with the respect they deserve, so that they may continue to protect our gold and grant our wishes.