What is a leprechaun? Since there is no scientific evidence proving that leprechauns do not exist, we can assume that they do exist, using Irish folklore as a guide.
How Leprechauns Got Their Name
The word leprechaun is thought to be a word created from several different words that together mean "a small, childlike shoemaker". The origin of the name hails from a variety of different sources, all with the same meaning."Luprachán" is a Gaelic word, which means small-bodied. "Lurachmain," "leipreachan," "lurican" and "lurgadhan" all represent a character in Irish folklore who was a shoemaker. "Luacharma'n" is the Irish word for pygmy. Another version of the word, also Irish, is "leith bhroyan," "leath brogan" or "leith phroyan," depending on which Irish dialect you're using. In Ireland, it wouldn't matter which word you used, as all are recognized as the same word for leprechaun.
The Leprechaun Lifestyle
Leprechauns are elves and wielders of magic. They have been known to move from realm to realm effortlessly, which means a leprechaun may be sitting next to you this very moment; you'd never know it, unless the leprechaun chose to become visible.
Leprechauns traditionally stand about two feet tall and appear to be old, wizened men. Leprechaun outfits are similar to what an old-time banker might wear; though leprechauns are traditionally thought of as cobblers, they also manage a lot of money. Their clothing is almost always some shade of green or brown, which makes it easier for them to blend into the countryside.
Leprechauns are usually dapper chaps, wearing three-pointed hats at jaunty angles and a suit jacket, complete with vest, bow tie and sometimes a leather apron. They generally have a gold buckle on their hat and also on their shoes, and sport some type of gold chain, perhaps connected to a gold watch or the map that leads them to their pot of gold.
A leprechaun pots can be several different sizes, as the leprechaun is too smart to leave all of his gold in one spot. Some legends note that the average size of a leprechaun pot is the perfect size for a chair and is often disguised as the stump or toadstool the leprechaun sits on while cobbling shoes.
The diminutive size, sex and age of a leprechaun could all be a deception, as all reports point toward leprechauns being tricksters. In fact, the leprechaun's cousin, the clurichaun, reportedly takes pranks to a severe level and can be downright destructive from time to time, stealing or breaking items around the farms and cottages of humans. Small farm animals are sometimes found far from their paddocks, as leprechauns and clurichauns apparently borrow them for jaunty rides to the nearest fairy ring. Clurichauns will sometimes mischievously let out the animals, just to cause a fuss with their human owners.
According to legend, leprechauns can take on the shape of a variety of small animals as well as objects. This means a leprechaun may disguise his age as well as his sex. Being a wily sort, a leprechaun would be canny enough and have enough of a disguise arsenal up his short sleeve to accommodate any and every human visitation with whatever means of defense he or she deemed necessary.
The earthly continuum humans live in is slightly different from the magical continuum of leprechauns and fairies. In the human world, a leprechaun moves so quickly that he is little more than a blur on the horizon. Even in the fairy world, a leprechaun is very quick, both of feet and of wit. This affords a leprechaun the ability to move about among humans every day without actually being seen, unless of course he stops near a stream for a cool sip of water, or for a bit of work.
Once a leprechaun stops moving, he can be readily detected by the eyes of a human. The other way a human can find a leprechaun is by the sound of his hammer tapping as he creates shoes for the fairies. Only one thing can stop people from seeing leprechauns. If a preson doesn't believe in leprechauns, and in all things fairy, the door between the two realms will remain closed to that person forever.
Leprechauns don't have a reputation for mischief, but some of their fairy relatives do. If you suspect fairy trouble in your home, consider these three likely suspects.
Leprechaun myths are as old as the misty hills of Ireland. They also are some of the most repeated and enjoyed myths the world over.
The history of leprechauns dates back to a time before the Celts, when a group of magical warriors claimed the soil of Ireland as their own.