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Rated: E · Fiction · Folklore · #2269728
What would you wish for?
(This is a condensed version. The full 2000 word story is here: Seamus’ Leprechaun  )

“Ay! Halloo! Anybody home?”

Seamus followed the sound of snapping fingers back to the pub. Thought wasn’t his usual haunt, so it was just as well to have a guide.

“Oh, it’s Michael,” he blinked. “I was havin’ a bit o' a think. D’ye suppose I might catch a leprechaun with Granda’s lucky coin?”

Seamus held up the dull gold-colored coin his Granda had left him. Slightly smaller than a shilling, it had curious runes on one side and a shamrock on the other.

“I'd rather catch a pint o' Guinness. Only wee children believe in the little people.”

“Guinness is good, to be sure, but it just goes down the drain, don’t it? And all ye have to show for it after is a whangin’ headache. I need a change o’ luck and this coin might do the trick.”

“Don’t be daft, man. Prob'ly an’t even real gold. Looks like brass to me.”

“Nah, it’s real, alright. Granda got it from a leprechaun and it brought 'im luck all 'is life.“

Michael gave him the pitying look usually reserved for hopeless fools and dreamers.

“What luck? Yer granda lived in a cottage and dug potatoes all 'is life. Where’s the luck in that?”

“You never really knew 'im, Michael, nor my grandma. They were married fifty years. All that time they never knew want nor went to bed angry. Granda always had a joke or a song and Grandma set the best table in the county. They raised seven children and lived to see forty-nine grandchildren. There’s the true luck.”

Seamus trailed off wistfully. His own life was sad and aimless by comparison. Granda’s coin didn’t seem to work for him. Maybe the luck was used up?

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

“So that’s a leprechaun trap?”

Michael shook his head doubtfully. The large, wicker-like basket was woven from green holly branches and reinforced with steel wire. A string and stick were delicately arranged to prop the weighted lid open. The string wound back through a dense holly thicket where Seamus and Michael waited in the dew.

“That’s how Brigid said to do it,” Seamus explained. “So it looks like the holly and hides us as well. He’ll go for to steal the coin, but can’t reach it without climbin' in. Then I drop the lid and he’s mine.”

“Even if there is a leprechaun, he’ll not be fooled by holly twigs.”

“Brigid says he’ll fool 'imself into thinkin’ he can nick it without us seein'. There’s another string at the bottom. Once he’s in, the lid comes down whether we see 'im or not.”

"She's a clever girl."

"And easy on the eyes - "

“Darby, ye greedy fool, ye’ve done it again!”

The angry shout was accompanied by rustling thumps from the basket. Seamus rushed over and sat himself firmly atop the lid.

“Ye're caught fair enough, leprechaun, and now ye’ll make me a bargain!”

"And what is it ye'll be after, fame or fortune? Only raise this lid and the whole world be yours."

"We''ll keep the lid down till business is concluded, thank you very much. Just put another 50 years of luck into that gold coin and slide it out to me."

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

Michael shook his head in unbelieving wonder as they made their way home in brilliant morning sunshine. Seamus flipped the sparkling gold coin in the air, made an eyes-closed catch, and slipped it securely into his pocket. He opened his eyes again with an eager smile, looking ahead to a snug cottage, fifty years luck, and a comely lass named Brigid McCleary.

“What a day to be Irish!”

Author's note: (600 words)
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