Writen for the WDC Contest. The writing was inspired by the photo.
| The park was empty except for a few people in the distance. I sat by a small group of oak trees to sit and read while I ate my lunch. The sun was out, and the air was warm as I began to relax. As my eyes wandered, I noticed at the base of the nearest oak tree a small wooden door. At first, I could not believe my eyes, a small door, like that in a storybook I read a long time ago.
As I sat there pondering what to do. I thought, should I knock and see who or what comes out? Should I leave them alone or was I dreaming after all? I was a full-grown man who did not believe in these age-old tales of hobbits or little talking creatures. I don’t think an animal would have a door to a makeshift home, maybe a squirrel, or a bird, what could live in the base of this tree?
I looked around to make sure, no one was watching. I decided to knock and see what would be. I got up from my spot and slowly walked over to the base of the tree, crouching down I tapped on the door waiting to see.
Tap, tap, and tap as I knocked lightly on the door with the back of my finger. Still thinking I was seeing things, but curiosity got the better of me. I had to know. Time passed and I tapped again, Tap, tap, tap, and then I heard a sound.
“Who is it?” bellowed the tiny voice from within; I was shocked. The voice sounded upset that someone would be intruding on him at this time of day.
“Hello,” I said in a hesitant tone, waiting for an answer.
“Yes, can I help you?” the tiny voice said from its timbered premises.
“I came to notice the door and wondered who it belongs to?” I said in a mystified manner.
The door opened and there, a tiny man who peered his head from behind the door. He said, “It belongs to me I’ve been here for over a hundred years now. Tell me, what it is that you want?” he paused and then said, “Ah, I see, you don’t believe in me lad?”
I just knelt there in shock, staring at him, speechless. A Leprechaun stood staring back at the blank look waiting for my reply. I had none to give.
“Ay, speechless as always boy,” he said. “No one comes by here let alone knocks on my door, you are the first in many years me lad,” he continued as he opened the door further revealing his complete self.
The Leprechaun stood about five inches high, reddish blonde-hair, pointed ears and with a full beard, wearing a flannel shirt and brown pants and black leather boots. Nothing I imagined. I expected him in a green suit, wearing a hat like in the pictures.
“Ah, you thought I would be in all green did ya now, misinformed lad? Shaking his head and placing his hand on his hips. “We only do that on days of festive celebrations and when we are requested home to honor,” he said. Answering as if, he could read my mind.
I began to feel a little more comfortable and relaxed. Oddly enough, our conversation began much more smoothly as we both began to let our guards down.
“You’ve lived here for more than a hundred years, in this tree?” I asked him.
“We are all over the city me lad, places you would never think. We do our magic at night, making sure our people are safe, luck to be granted and of course plenty to drink. St. Patrick made sure of that now didn’t he? Are you Irish lad?” as he looked up at me.
“Yes, I am Irish sir.” I said as I looked down at him smiling.
“Call me Adare, for that is my birth name. It means, “From the ford of the oak tree,” he said. (People with this name have a deep inner need for quiet, and a desire to understand and analyze the world they live in, and to learn the deeper truths.)
“My name is Chris,” I said knowing it too is from Irish descent.
“Nice to meet you Christopher, a wonderful name it is, you’re a fine looking Irishman.”
Adare came further out of his home and into plain view. He now showed a more inviting, friendlier appearance than I thought he would. I decided to sit and continue to speak with him. Walking outside his tree among the grass, dirt and collection of debris, he started working his land. He kicked an old acorn shell that a squirrel had left behind; he clearly liked his property clean.
“Darn acorns, every day I come out here and every day acorns and trash are everywhere. Why can’t the squirrels and birds do their jobs and be considerate?” he said in a frustrated pitch.
I continued to watch him, laughing to myself, still in disbelief of what I was actually seeing. As he threw his hands up in the air frustrated. He continued tossing twigs and fallen leaves away from the front of his property. The fragments to him were very large and hard to handle. I started moving them aside joining him; it seemed like the natural thing to do. After helping Adare with his outside chores the area was cleaned and to his liking.
Time passed as if it stood still. We talked and talked. He taught me of my Irish heritage, things I did not know and how Leprechauns, like him are still around and very much needed. He seemed saddened by all the violence, and how people are so indifferent to each other. He, like the other Leprechauns are here to protect their compatriots as best they can.
He asked about my life and my struggles and so forth. I answered him truthfully.
I asked him, “What are Leprechauns, really?” Adare stared down at the ground, contemplating as he began to explain stirring the dirt with a twig as in making some sort of design.
“Leprechaun or better yet, leath bhrogan means shoemaker in Celtic, our first honest profession. The word luacharma’n means pygmy. We became the self-appointed guardians of the treasures left by the Danes that marauded through Ireland centuries ago. Hence the famous phrase; “A pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.” We avoid humans that we feel are foolish, flighty and above all, greedy. For we have the gifted power to grant wealth and opportunity for those who deserve. The other types of people are no good of the clan Christopher. I sense you are not of that kind Christopher?” He looked directly at me, seeing into my saddened soul.
“You’re right I am not like that.” Adare nodded and gestured to wait one minute as he stood and turned and disappeared back into his oak tree home.
I took that moment to collect the rest of my lunch, which only an apple was left. He soon returned holding an old crooked wooden staff with green ribbon near the top. Adare sat back down on the flat part of the downed tree.
I began to cut the apple in slices and offered my new friend a slither or two, he gladly accepted.
“Ay, I can do one better me lad,” Adare boasted.
He waived his staff, mumbled a few words and two ales appeared. One the size for humans and the other just right for him placed on the ground between us. I was shocked by this magic. I accepted and drank the beer, enjoying it. A few more ales were drunk and as the sun began to fall. We sung songs and I felt befriended; and had cherished the time, for it was not like anything I ever experienced.
All of a sudden, Adare stood in front of me with a serious yet charmed look and said to me, “I must go soon my work is done for today. You have been granted a good fortune my dear Christopher. For you were drawn to me by the forces that be, whether you realize it or not. I ask that you do not forget me, or your heritage, or your dreams. Be kind to others and never forget that I am for real. He pointed his wooden staff at me and with a circular motion and a mystical phrase; I began to feel a sense of fulfillment, happiness and force, feelings I had forgotten over time.
“I’ll be watching you Christopher. Be good and good luck and enjoy your new life. Good bye,” he said as he nodded, then turned and walked back into his tree and closed the door.
I began to wonder what he meant by that. I looked up at the sky for the daylight was vanishing. I looked back towards the door; which had disappeared, no sign of him remained.
Puzzled and confused I began to gather my things. I grabbed my backpack and to my surprise, it was closed and had become heavier since emptying its edible contents. I opened that bag to find thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars stuffed inside. The bag was so full; I had to carry the former contents in my other hand. Upon arriving home, I emptied the bag to find that my life had changed. I could now make a few of my dreams come true. Finish college, pay some bills and buy my mother something special.
I found a note inside that read, “May your eyes always see the truth, May your heart always find love. May you smile when you see the rainbow and remember me when you began your journey, and know that it was blessed.” Adare
Written by E. Roman,
**Written for the WDC May Short Story Contest.