St. Patrick’s Day is almost here! Most of us celebrate the Irish holiday by wearing green and drinking Guinness. Some people may even commemorate the holiday by searching for that pot of gold coins at the end of a rainbow. Of all the Irish traditions and myths we hear about on St. Patrick’s Day, the pot of gold is the most potentially profitable — and the least believable. So where did this myth come from? The story behind the legend is almost as magical as leprechauns themselves.
Long ago in Ireland, there was an elderly married couple. They were very poor, and mostly lived off the land. One day, the elderly couple was completely out of food and money. So, the man went to the nearby village to try to find some work, while his wife went to work in the garden.
Gardening was awfully hard for a woman of her age. She even struggled to pull a tiny carrot out of the ground. Just then, she heard a voice.
“What are you doing?” the little voice said.
“Who’s that?” she asked, as she searched for the source of the voice.
“Look down. I’m a leprechaun!” the voice said. The old lady looked down at the hole in the ground where her carrot had been, and out jumped a leprechaun! The leprechaun brushed himself off, and headed for the couple’s cottage.
The old woman followed the leprechaun inside. There she found him sitting on her table. The magical little man told her he had come to grant them one wish, anything they wanted. And with that he left.
Later that evening, the old man got back from his unfruitful day searching for work. The woman told her husband about her day, and the wish. The two talked all night, unable to decide which of their many needs should take precedence.
In the morning, after the couple’s sleepless night, the leprechaun returned to grant the wish. He asked the couple what they’d decided for their one wish. But the couple couldn’t choose.
The wife asked for money first, gold and silver specifically. Then the husband asked for new tools, and a new house. The wife added that she’d like clothes and the finest jewelry. The leprechaun scoffed, and called the couple selfish. He went on to scold them further for their greed.
“For this, I will not grant any wish of yours. But, since you are in need, I will give you a hint. I have hidden a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. All you have to do is find it.”
With that, the couple left their little cottage and went to search for their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It’s safe to assume that they never found it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t look!
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