Children love a lively leprechaun story in spring, especially St. Patrick’s Day! Here’s one that weaves through with a greatly adapted spark of ‘Hans in Luck’ (Grimms). It is a humorous tale and lots of fun as a circle puppet story, where the children take part as characters of the story with simple table puppets. This inspires all kinds of leprechaun play and lovely tricks. We build leprechaun traps in the sandbox each year with a deep hole covered with sticks. We put honey in a shell and put it on the bottom of the hole. Everyone knows how much leprechauns love honey. We still haven’t caught one, but they have left us treasures as a thank you for the honey!
There was once a very simple farmer named Patrick O’Leary. He was good and kind, and lived in a little cottage in the green hills of Ireland.
One spring morning, he was walking out across his land when he saw a flash of light out of the corner of his eye. At once he knew it was a leprechaun, and in an instant, he threw his hat off his head across the grass and it landed right over the little fellow!
Everyone in Ireland knew if you could catch a leprechaun he’d have to give you his pot of gold. Everyone in Ireland also knew that they liked to pull tricks on anyone who tried. You had to be careful with a leprechaun!
Well, that morning, Patrick was very excited that he had trapped the leprechaun! He picked up the leprechaun in his hat, and held on to him tight! He lifted the hat and had a peek. What he saw was the tiniest wee man he’d ever seen, all dressed in green with a long beard on his wee chin.
The leprechaun was twisting and turning, kicking his legs, and waving his arms! “Let me go!! Let me go!!” he cried out.
“Ah,” said Patrick, “not ‘til I get the pot of gold!”
Try as the leprechaun did, he couldn’t get away from Patrick, and soon knew he had lost his pot of gold. So he told Patrick he would lead him to his gold, but he had to promise to let him then go free.
Off they went across the hills of Ireland. It was a long, long journey and they came to a part of Ireland Patrick had never seen before.
The leprechaun led him down a path into a deep woodland. It was so beautiful, Patrick had to stop and rub his eyes to believe it was so lovely. The woodland was full of bluebells, as far as the eye could see, and he was sure he heard their bells ringing! The leprechaun told him to follow the path till they came to a huge beech tree with great gnarled roots. There, hidden amongst the roots and the bluebells was the pot of gold!
“Aha,” said Patrick. And sure enough it gleamed brightly, and was filled to the top of the pot with gold!
“Now keep your promise and let me go”, said the leprechaun.
Patrick was so busy with the gold he said, “ of course, little leprechaun, thank you, and be off with you!” Patrick put the leprechaun down on the ground without really looking at the wee fellow. The leprechaun put his finger to his nose, gave a wink, and nodded his head three times! Oh my, he had put a trickster spell on Patrick, and Patrick did not know it! Then the leprechaun disappeared into the bluebells never to be seen again by Patrick.
Patrick was delighted with his good fortune, and picked up the pot to carry it home. “Argh now, this is heavy,” groaned Patrick as he picked it up. He carried it slowly along the path, beginning the long journey home.
About a mile down the way, Patrick thought his arms would break. “This is too heavy for man or beast! What I’d give to be able to be home in my cozy cottage with a cup of tea,” wished a very tired Patrick.
Just then, along came a rider on a fine galloping horse. He stopped to bid good day to Patrick when he saw the pot of gold! “What’s this,” he asked? Patrick told him all about it, and then said, “argh, what I’d give to be home in my own cozy cottage with a cup of tea!”
“Hmmm,” replied the rider, I’d gladly relieve you of your burden, and you can take my fine horse to get you home all the sooner!”
“Oh thank you,” said Patrick, “thinking he had the better end of the deal.” And they each went their merry way. Patrick rode the horse over the hills, gallopity, gallopity. It was indeed a fine horse, so Patrick kicked him to go faster. Wheeeee! They went like the wind. But before he knew it, Patrick flew over the horse’s head and landed hard on the ground. “Argh, that hurt,” said a very sore Patrick! The horse, meanwhile, was running away!
“What I’d give to be back home in my cozy little cottage with a cup of tea,” moaned Patrick getting up from the ground.
Just then, a man with a cow came walking along. He had caught the fine horse and brought him to Patrick. Patrick told him the whole story, and by now Patrick was very, very sore. “Yes, I almost broke my neck,” he said. “What I’d give to be back home in my cozy cottage with a cup of tea.”
“Hmm, hmm”, replied the man. “I’d gladly relieve you of your burden. You can take my cow who give’s rich milk every day.”
Patrick agreed, thinking he had the better end of the deal. He would always have fresh milk, cheese, and butter. What good luck!
So off they both went each on their merry way.
After a while, the hot sun and the walk made Patrick thirsty. “Why, I’ll have a drink of milk,” said Patrick. And Patrick sat down to milk the cow. Instead of a drop of milk, Patrick got a big kick and fell to the ground!
“Argh, not again! What I’d give to be back home in my cozy cottage having a cup of tea,” moaned Patrick.
Just then a man was coming along the path holding a big goose. He helped Patrick up and heard the whole story. “Yes,” said Patrick to the man, “what I’d give to be home in my cozy cottage with a cup of tea!”
“Hmmm, hmm,” said the man, “I’ll gladly relieve you of your burden. You may take my goose home in exchange. He’s no problem at all. You’ll have eggs to eat every day!”
Patrick looked at the goose easily tucked under the man’s arm. “No problem at all”, he thought to himself, “I’m in luck”. So off the two men went each on their merry way, Patrick holding the goose under his arm.
All went well until the goose honked, “I’m hungry, put me down! I’m hungry, put me down!”
When Patrick put him down, instead of pecking at the grass, he pecked Patrick’s feet! He pecked, and pecked, and pecked, and pecked! Patrick called out, “HELP!! HELP!! Someone HELP!!” All the while, wishing he was at home in his cozy cottage drinking a cup of tea!
Just then an old woman with a basket was walking along. She grabbed the goose by the neck and stuffed it in her basket, and closed the lid!
“Oh thank you, thank you,” said Patrick gratefully. Then he told her the whole story…”and all I want is to be home in my cozy cottage with a cup of tea!”
“Hmmm,” said the old woman, “I’ll gladly relieve you of this burden, then you are free to go home.”
“Free,” said Patrick, “oh how good that would feel!” So they both went on their merry way and Patrick nearly danced all the way home… back to his cozy house and a cup of tea.
He got there just as the sun was setting, happier than he had ever been! Nearby, hiding behind the cherry tree was a little wee leprechaun, laughing. He put his finger on his nose, gave a wink, and three nods, then disappeared. But you could still hear him laughing for a long, long time.
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**Vintage Leprechaun image found on Pinterest**