Leonard is an odd name for a leprechaun. Schwartz is a really odd name for a leprechaun. Leonard Schwartz – the name certainly does not sound very Irish. Schwartz is his father’s name; his mother is the leprechaun. Leonard does not mind his name nor does he mind that he is only two feet tall. Well, sometimes he doesn’t like being only two feet tall. However, he knows it will not help to complain about his name or about being shorter than everyone else. Most leprechauns are 32 inches tall. He fell short by eight inches. Eight inches might not be a big deal, but when you’re talking about the height of leprechauns, it is a big deal.
Leonard’s Uncle Patrick became famous when he supposedly chased all the snakes out of Ireland. Leonard never believed all that malarkey about the snakes and his uncle; that was poppycock! It annoyed him to no end that his uncle became a saint and was given his own day. Even worse was that everyone, all over the world, celebrated his Uncle’s day, St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, by wearing green and pretending to be Irish. Uncle Patrick was a family embarrassment!
Leonard got up at 4:30 am this morning as he always did. Nothing changed today just because it was St. Patrick’s Day. He put on his green pants, his green shirt, and his green shoes. Oh yes, I almost forgot; he put on his green hat. You know the kind – the kind of green hat that leprechauns wear. He did not wear green clothes today because it is St. Patrick’s Day; he put on the same green clothes he wears every day.
Each morning after Leonard finishes his morning routine, including his one cup of tea, he heads out on his 25-minute trek to work. (In case you are wondering, leprechauns do not drink coffee.) Leonard’s job is to guard the gold at the end of the rainbow. It is a lot of gold and a big responsibility. He thinks it is lame that regular people constantly look for the gold. Someone should tell them that only leprechauns can see the gold; they will never find it! He did wish, however, that someone could find the gold so he could sleep in.
Leonard always shows up at 5:25 am to start work at 5:30 am. Today he will be working with the nighttime guard, Rose, for half the shift. Rose is filling in this week for the regular guy, Thomas, who is on vacation.
Leonard arrived this morning precisely at his usual time to join Rose. To his surprise, not only was Rose gone, but so were the gold and the end of the rainbow. He had been doing this job for 37 years and nothing like this had ever happened! Had Rose taken off with the gold? Leonard was mad! It was bad enough he had to work on St. Patrick’s Day when everyone else had the day off, but now he needed to find the gold.
Leonard did an Irish jig – the kind of dance leprechauns do, when they are mad. He jumped up and down, twirled around and kicked his legs up in the air. It was the same kind of dance children usually do, when they have waited too long to go to the bathroom. After he finally finished throwing his Irish-jig tantrum, he scratched his chin and wrinkled up his nose. Through his squinted eyes he saw that the entire rainbow was now long gone.
Leonard took off lickety-split to get to the end of the rainbow. He muttered the whole way, “What am I going to do? How am I going to fix this? How am I going to find the gold?” He kept looking down, shaking his head and muttering the same words over and over the entire way.
When he arrived at the end of the rainbow, Rose was there sobbing like a banshee and acting like a mad woman. There was no pot of gold. “Rose, Rose, calm down! How did you get here? What happened to the pot of gold?” asked Leonard.
Rose was gasping for air. She tried to talk, but nothing came out. Leonard paced back and forth for ten minutes waiting for Rose to compose herself. Finally, she said, “I took my eyes off the pot of gold for just a minute. I turned to get my St. Patrick’s Day corned-beef-and-cabbage sandwich from my lunch box and my lunch box was not where I left it. I looked around and saw it over by the oak tree. I walked over to get it and when I started to go back, the gold was gone and I was being whisked away with the rainbow. Now I don’t know what to do. This is all my fault!” Again she started with the crying.
“Let’s calm down, Rose, and think about what we should do next,” said Leonard. “We should go see Thomas to see if he has any idea what to do. He’s been doing this job for almost 100 years. Maybe this has happened before and he can help us find the gold.
In case you are wondering, the answer is no; leprechauns do not live in tree roots or caves. They live in houses – regular, small, quaint houses. Thomas’ house is a small bungalow in the northwest field of Greensville. Luckily, leprechauns never go anywhere when they are on vacation; they get tired of all the funny looks and snickering when they are out of their area. Leonard and Rose were glad Thomas answered the door when they knocked. Rose exclaimed, “Thomas, you have to help us. Someone stole the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!”
Thomas said, “Come in, sit down and I’ll fix us a pot of tea. Then you can tell me all about it.”
Leonard sat on the couch. His eyes strayed to the big, brand-new, wide-screen television. On the coat rack was a beautiful, new, green velvet coat and matching hat with a large, shiny, gold buckle. They looked expensive. On the end table, next to Thomas’ old corn-cob pipe, was a brand-new, Killarney pipe. Leonard knew those were top-of-the-line pipes and wondered how Thomas could afford all this new stuff. Leprechauns didn’t make that much money!
“Rose,” whispered Leonard, “Do you think Thomas could have taken the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?”
“No, he wouldn’t do something like that.”
“Rose, I think he may have. Look around. He has a lot of new, expensive things in this house. How else could he afford to buy this stuff?”
Thomas returned from the kitchen with tea in a beautiful, brand-new bone china tea pot and matching cups and saucers. Rose and Leonard looked at each other and Leonard asked, “Thomas, did you steal the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?”
Thomas hurriedly answered, “No, of course not!”
Instantly Thomas knew by answering too quickly, he had made a HUGE mistake. He should not have lied. Leprechauns know if another leprechaun asks them a question they can not lie. If they lie, they will turn blue. Thomas sheepishly asked, “Am I blue?”
As Leonard and Rose shook their heads to confirm he was blue, Thomas said, “I only took vacation so I could steal the pot of gold. I was going to steal it so I could find it and then I would be a big hero. Once I had the gold, I changed my mind. I’ve been doing this job for 100 years and no one has ever appreciated me. I thought keeping the gold would make me feel appreciated. Now I just feel badly”
Leonard asked, “Why did you move Rose with the rainbow?”
“I moved her lunchbox so that when I stole the gold and moved the rainbow, she would not see me nor go with it. She retrieved the lunchbox too quickly and ended up going with the rainbow because she was too close.”
Leonard and Rose went into the bedroom to retrieve the pot of gold so they could bring it back to the end of the rainbow. Naturally, what Thomas had quickly spent was missing. Thomas will pay a big punishment for stealing the gold and spending some of it; he will remain blue for the rest of his life. And leprechauns live a long, long time!
Be careful if you are thinking about telling a lie; one of your ancestors just might be a leprechaun!