The Truth About Leprechauns and Fairies
Saint Patrick's Day is a just a little under a week away here in the United States, but already the stores are flooded with shamrocks, green shirts, green beads, and little ginger-haired men wearing green suits and hats. Actually, who am I kidding? The stores have been stocked with this holiday stuff since February 15th! 'Murica, where we take decorating for our monthly holidays seriously.
Anyway, back to the little dudes with ginger beards and green suits, also known as Leprechauns. Leprechauns are typically seen as different beings than the Fae, but to the Irish, Leprechauns are a type of fairy, the Aos Sí, in Irish folklore. They are wingless fairy men who make and mend shoes and cause general mischief, but in the original folklore, they wore red instead of green. When the green suit was introduced, it was to indicate the "trooping" leprechauns, or the ones who moved together while as those who wore red suits still preferred solitude.
Their great commonality is they consider themselves guardians of ancient treasure from the time when the Danes traveled through Ireland conquering its peoples. They do hide their treasure at the end of the rainbow and they must grant you three wishes if you catch them. They are rather sly, however, and carry two pouches on them. In one pouch they carry a silver coin which will always return to that purse even after they pay you. In the other pouch they carry a gold coin which will turn to ashes as soon as the leprechaun leaves your sight. My advice? Make sure to ask for the three wishes for payment, but only from a leprechaun in a good mood. They are notorious drinkers and if they're having a bad day, you might be the victim of their mischief.
Gold leprechaun by Haizy, image taken from DeviantArt