L. having heard that Molly Toole, an old woman
who held a few acres of land from Mr. L., had
seen Leprechauns, resolved to visit her, and
learn the truth from her own lips. Accordingly,
one Sunday, after church, she made her appearance
in Molly's residence, which was--no very common
thing--extremely neat and comfortable.
she entered everything looked gay and cheerful.
The sun shone bright in through the door on the
earthen floor. Molly was seated at the far side
of the fire in her arm-chair; her daughter Mary,
the prettiest gfirl on the lands, was looking to
the dinner that was boiling; and her son Mickey,
a young man of about two-and-twenty, was standing
lolling with his back against the dresser.
arrival of the mistress disturbed the stillness
that had hitherto prevailed. Mary, who was a
great favourite, hastened to the door to meet
her, and shake hands with her. Molly herself had
nearly got to the middle of the floor when the
mistress met her, and Mickey modestly staid where
he was till he should catch her attention.
then, musha! but isn't it a glad sight for my old
eyes to see your own self under my roof? Mary,
what ails you, girl? and why don't you go into
the room and fetch out a good chair for the
mistress to sit down upon and rest herself?"
faith, mother, I'm so glad I don't know what I'm
doing. Sure you know I did not see the mistress
since she came down afore."
now caught Mrs. L.'s eye, and she asked him how
Gorra, bravely, ma'am, thank you," said he,
giving himself a wriggle, while his two hands and
the small of his back rested on the edge of the
Mary, stir yourself," said the old woman,
"and get out the bread and butter. Sure you
know the mistress can't but be hungry after her
never mind it, Molly; it's too much
indeed! it's as nice butter, ma'am, as ever you
put a tooth in; and it was Mary herself that made
then I must taste it."
nice half griddle of whole-meal bread and a print
of fresh butter were now preoduced, and Molly
helped the mistress with her own hands. As she
was eating, Mary kept looking in her face, and at
last she said:
then, mother, doesn't the mistress look mighty
well? Upon my faikins, ma'am, I never seen
you looking half so handsome."
and why wouldn't she look well? And never will
she look better nor be better nor I wish
Molly, I think I may return the compliment, for
Mary is prettier than ever; and as for yourself,
I really believe it's young again you're
God be thanked, ma'am, I'm stout and hearty; and
though I say it myself, there's not an old woman
in the county can stir about better nor me, and
I'm up every morning at the peep of day, and rout
them all up out of their beds. Don't I?"
said she, looking at Mary.
and sure you do, mother," replied Mickey;
"and before the peep of day, too; for you
have no mercy in you at all at all."
in my young days," continued the old woman,
"people weren't slugabeds; out early, home
late--that was the way with them."
usedn't people to see Leprechauns in them
days, mother?" said Mickey, laughing.
your tongue, you saucy cub, you," cried
Molly; "what do you know about them?"
said Mrs. L., gladly catching at the opportunity;
"did people really, Molly, see Leprechauns
in your young days?"
indeed, ma'am; some people day they did,"
replied Molly, very composedly.
come now, mother," cried Mickey, "don't
think to be going it upon us that way; you know
you seen them one time yourself, and you
had not the gumption in you to catch them,
and get their crocks of gold from them."
Molly, is that really true that you saw the
and I did, ma'am; but this boy's always laughing
at me about them, and that makes me rather shy of
talking of them."
Molly, I won't laugh at you; so, come,
tell me how you saw them."
ma'am, you see it was when I was just about the
age of Mary, there. I was coming home late one
Monday evening from the market; for my aunt
Kitty, God be merciful to her! kept me to take a
cup of tea. It was in the summer-time you see,
ma'am, much about the middle of June, and it was
through the fields I came. Well, ma'am, as I
said, it was late in the evening, that is, the
sun was near going down, and the light was
straight in my eyes, and I came along through the
bog-meadow; for it was shortly after I married to
him that's gone, and we were living in this very
house that you're now in; and then when I came to
the castle-field--the pathway you know, ma'am,
goes right through the middle of it--and it was
then as fine a field of wheat, just shot out, as
you'd wish to look at; and it was a pretty sight
to see it waving so beautifully with every air of
wind that was going over it, dancing to the music
of a thrush, that was singing down below in the
hedge. Well, ma'am, I crossed over the style
that's there yet, and went along fair and easy,
till I was near about the middle of the field,
when something made me cast my eyes to the
ground, a little before me; and then I saw, as
sure as I'm sitting here, no less nor three of
the Leprechauns, all bundled together like so
many tailors, in the middle of the path before
me. They were not hammering their pumps, or
making any kind of noise whatever; but there they
were, the three little fellows, with their cocked
hats upon them, and their legs gothered up
under them, working at their trade as hard as may
be. If you were only to see, ma'am, how fast
their little elbows went as they pulled out their
ends! Well, every one of them had his eye cocked
upon me, and their eyes were as bright as the eye
of a frog, and I could not stir one step from the
spot for the life of me. So I turned my head
round, and prayed to the Lord in his mercy to
deliver me from them, and when I went to look at
them again, ma'am, not a sight of them was to be
seen: they were gone like a dream."
Molly, why did you not catch them?"
was afeard, ma'am, that's the truth of it; but
maybe I was as well without them. I never heard
tell of a Leprechaun yet that was not too many
for any one that cotch him."
and Molly, do you think there are any Leprechauns
my belief, ma'am, they're all gone out of the
country, clever and clean, along with the
Fairies; for I never hear tell now of them at
L. having now attained her object, after a little
more talk with the good old woman, took her
leave, attended by Mary, who would see her a
piece of the way home. And Mary being asked what
she thought of the Leprechauns, confessed her
inability to give a decided opinion; her mother,
she knew, was incapable of telling a lie, and yet
she had her doubts if there ever were such things