Written by Bob Brumfield
In my past, there’s always been the stigma of my particular challenge. Being one meter tall, dressed in a suit of forest green, black and white striped socks, a green top hat, and slippers with a silver buckle, all this and a crop of unruly red hair with sideburns to match.
You guessed it; I’m a leprechaun. My name is Erin O’Shaessy, and of course, my original home was the beautiful emerald isle. I’m of Old Ireland. I’m 1,137 years old, born of noble birth as we all are, though none of us knows why. We claim the title however much good it has done us.
The truth is some of us are good, and some of us are not; such is the state of us all. I like to think of myself as the former. All of us are endowed with magic powers. The most prevalent power is our ability to disappear at will, which can be both a blessing and a curse. Sometimes it happens without warning, usually at the most inconvenient time. Being excited seems to be a catalyst for triggering it. But enough about my history. Now for the rest of me story.
In the ages since I was sixteen years, I’ve been chasing one rainbow after another in the hope of finding a pot of gold.
The Middle Ages proved to be a troublesome time as my vertical disadvantage made me out to be something of a freak. Leaving Ireland, having found no gold, I went searching in other countries. Scotland proved to be of no consequence. I had no luck there, having pursued many a rainbow but never catching up to one before it dissipated into the bright sunshine.
Jolly old England proved a failure also. It seems never to stop raining in that country. Ah, Spain, I expected a different scenario, and it was. Mostly desert, in my opinion, it is only suitable for spaghetti westerns. Alas, I digress. France is better by far. Many rainbows littered the sky, but no fortune catching on, not even close. I bypassed Normandy because they tend to be a quarrelsome lot tending toward violence.
Crossing into the Holy Roman Empire, it was my earnest wish to be, although I desired to be out of its boundaries, in the presence of many rainbows of the multi-colored semicircles. It seemed when they mentioned stake; they didn’t refer to it as a dietary supplement. Traveling East, I searched Poland, Serbia, Hungary, and Sicily. I remained there until 1491, when I heard rumors of a voyage to find new land.
Taking a year and wanting change, I traveled to Spain, where the voyage was to embark. I arrived at Palos de la Frontera (border poles) on August 1st, 1493. I waited for the ship crew to bed down for the night and slipped aboard, stowing away below decks for sixty-three days at sea, sixty-one days for the rest of the crew.
Food was scarce, but enough was leftover from seasick sailors to sustain me. Never once did I get seasick. On October 12th, in the year of our Lord 1492, we made landfall in what we now believe was the Bahamas. Constantly in hiding, I observed the Spanish. They pictured themselves as conquerers treating the indigenous people with contempt and cruelty, showing no kindness of any sort. It took me four and half years to escape to the mainland. Stowing away in a longboat in the bow with only a canteen of water, it set sail. Under constant oars, we traveled north, finally reaching the southern tip of Florida.
All were hungry and thirsty and tired to exhaustion. The crew went in search of water as I too did. I avoided them, finding my own water source almost immediately. There was no shortness of fresh springs easily accessible. With the dawn came hunger. I lived on huckleberrys, blueberries, gooseberries, blackberries, elderberry, loganberry, strawberry, and others for a few days. All the while setting snares and traps like me father had taught me. I caught my first rabbit two days later. Making a fire, the old way, I roasted the catch. With the fruit, some greens I recognized, and the rabbit, it was a feast. Making a fish trap, I supplemented my diet.
I was constantly moving North. It took me nine months to reach the Massachusetts Bay area. The first pilgrim arrived in 1620. Being skeptical of strangers, I was hesitantly introducing myself. As then, and even now, I was considered a freak. But, the natives thought me a medicine man because of the magic, so I’ve safely traveled through the centuries.
First by foot, then by donkey cart, by horse, by ship, and then by foot again, always searching for that elusive treasure. In your country, I’ve seen the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the French Indian War, and the Civil War. After those wars, I have witnessed the First World War, the Second World War, the Korean conflict, the Vietnam War, and the fighting in Afghanistan. Always so much strife and such horror. But I keep looking forward, searching for me pot of gold, promising happiness, or so I’ve been told.
Skipping forward to the now, one thing changed all my frustration at never catching up to any rainbow shining just over the horizon. I thought to get me a four-wheel conveyance. I had been traveling for some years by a stolen bicycle, but the time had come to affect a change in my transportation. Abandoning the juggernaut, practicality prevailed.
There would be no problem getting an auto. I’ll use my magic. I’ll convince the auto’s owner to generously offer it to me free of charge. All I have to do is find the right one. I searched far and wide for that certain one that spoke to me. And I found it at Big Bob’s Bigger, Better, Bargains. As the sign says, If we don’t have it, then you don’t need it. Well, how could I overlook credentials like those? Bob was a handsome devil, with piercing blue eyes, a shock of flowing blonde hair, 6’1″ tall, and teeth that sparkled when he smiled. He completely disarmed me. If I had any money, I would certainly give it to him.
But alas, I was without coin, so I must use magic on him. You may think magic is easy but, you have to be in the right state of mind. It took me all of three minutes to convince Bob. Soon I became the proud owner of a yellow 1982 Honda Civic with only 187,000 miles on it. Now I’m having second thoughts as to how well my magic worked. A mile down the road, the right rear tire blew out. The spare was bald. I’m thinking I was the one having been tricked into taking this piece of trash. It hasn’t been able to go over 60 miles an hour, and that was going downhill. Pulling into an all-night service station, I cajoled the attendant to give me four new radials and balance them. I then drove to the nearest rest stop to get some sleep before beginning my search anew.
Dawn came and with it rain. Six hours of torrential rain. Finally, a ray of sunshine. Then the rainbow appeared. I stared at it. I followed it up one side across the sky and down the other side. It was coming to rest on my little yellow car.
I rushed over to it and opened the front door. Nothing! In the back, the same thing. The trunk! Of course that must be it. I opened it up. But there wasn’t gold of any kind inside. Just a bunch of papers in a box. What a cruel joke! Looking closer, I noticed the words bearer bonds. Each one was worth the sum of $100,000, and there were hundreds and hundreds of them stuffed in the box! Blimey, I just found me pot o’ gold.
Stepping back, I thought about O’Flynn, Garitty, O’Neil, O’Brien, and all the rest in search of their own elusive quests. I feel a sharp pang of sympathy, but it is short-lived. Let them keep looking.
I found mine. The only thing I can think of now is my new quest… getting to a Mercedes dealership.