Paddy O’Shaughnessy opened one eye, then buried his face in his feather pillow. A soft ahem told him that Bridget hadn’t left, so with a groan he sat up and faced his pretty, plump wife.
“’Tis time for ye to be dressin’ for work, Paddy.” She held out his clothing with a smile and a little curtsey.
He regarded the pile of clothes. Green socks, green britches, green shirt, green jacket, green hat. The only relief from relentless green was a pair of pointy black shoes. How he wished the Leprechaun’s Union would approve a change of uniform! A nice gray pinstripe suit, perhaps…well, he wouldn’t hold his breath. The LU had been largely inactive since allowing leprechauns to emigrate to America during the potato famine.
His wife cleared her throat again, and Paddy tumbled out of bed and began to dress, as Bridget busied herself with sausage, black pudding, and soda bread. Paddy loved her stubborn Irish-ness, and he ate with gusto while mumbling about the day ahead.
“Ah, Paddy, ‘tis not sich a bad job ye’re goin’ to, my love. Ye wander the forest and count yer blessed gold…’tisn’t a hard thing ye do, my Paddy.”
He spun her around and kissed her coppery hair. “I love you, Bridget O’Shaughnessy. Fresh mushrooms for dinner!” He scooted out the door with a tip of his hat.
So busy was Paddy with his search for mushrooms that he never sensed any danger—until he felt a firm hand grasping his ankle.
“Dude! Are you a leprechaun?”
“Well, let’s see. I’m three feet tall, I’m in a forest, and I’m all dressed in green. What do you think?” Paddy scowled at his captor.
“So gimme your gold, leprechaun. That’s what I’m supposed to say, right?” The young man grinned at his unbelievable luck.
“Yeah, yeah. It’s over that way.” Paddy sighed. “Just let me go, and I’ll show you.”
“No way, dude. I am not letting go of your leg. Just show me where.” And Paddy found himself in the undignified position of being dangled from one ankle, in the hands of an oaf.
After a short walk, Paddy indicated that they’d reached his hiding place. Slightly hindered by his hobbled ankle, he hauled out the pot and glowered at his captor.
“Awesome!” The young fellow grabbed at the gold, while Paddy thought furiously.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” Paddy tried for a combination of menace and recrimination.
“Why not?” Perhaps the youth had seen a few horror movies featuring leprechauns, for he hesitated, his hand hovering over the pot.
“Where do you think you’re going to be able to spend that gold? You’ll have to exchange it for cash somewhere. Don’t you think you’ll have to answer a lot of questions? Do you think they’ll believe you that it’s leprechaun gold? You might be in a lot of trouble, young man. Say, what’s your name?”
Paddy reached up and pushed Sage’s hand away. “Well, Sage, I’ve got an idea for you…and if you do just what I say, you’ll get a whole lot more treasure than this little pot of gold. You listening?”
Sage dragged his eyes from the gold, but still he held tight to Paddy’s ankle. “Yeah, dude. I never thought of that. Whoa, do you have super powers or something? Can I make a wish?”
“No, Sage, no powers, just gold.” Paddy fingered his beard. “Take one coin—just one—and take it someplace where they give you cash for gold. You can find a place like that, right?”
“All right, then. I’m going to give you an address. I want you to take the cash to this address, and give it to the man you’ll meet there. He’s a friend of mine, see, and he’ll give you something in exchange for the cash that’ll more than pay for your trouble. We’ve got an arrangement, him and me. You got it?” Paddy plucked a shiny gold coin from the pot and waved it as close to Sage’s face as he could.
“You sure about this, leprechaun?”
“Sure as can be.” Paddy tried for the horror-movie voice again. “Now go!” And Seth grabbed the coin and crashed away through the greenery.
Paddy rubbed his ankle and grinned; Father Seamus Kelly of the urban mission would surely be happy this afternoon. With a lilt in his heart, Paddy picked a few more mushrooms and a bouquet of wild violets for his lovely Bridget.
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