In which it is a good day to share a story, so I think I will!

I got a call from the local elementary school: "Can you come tell us a story for Saint Patrick's Day?"

You betcha!  I thought y'all might enjoy it also, so here it is:

A Field of Buttercups – an old story, greatly retold
It was a long time ago and far away from here in the green land of Ireland that a girl woke up early on Saint Patrick’s Day morning, jumped from her bed, kissed her mum on the cheek and waved goodbye, for she was off into the countryside to catch herself a leprechaun and make her fortune.

She walked for a very long time, and as she walked she kept her eyes wide open, and she kept her ears sharp up, for she knew that a leprechaun is very small, and very quiet, and very tricky to find.

She walked up hills, and she walked back down them.

She walked across creeks and she walked across bridges, she went around rocks and trees.

And as she walked, she kept her eyes wide open and her ears sharp up.

Finally, in the late afternoon, she heard the sound she’d been listening for: a soft tap tap tap tap, tap tap tap. She stood still, and listened again until she heard the sound again: tap tap tap tap, tap tap tap.

The little tapping sound was coming from over a wall, and so the girl crept up close to the wall and listened again until she heard it: tap tap tap tap tap, tap tap tap.

She looked over the wall, and she saw what she’d been looking to find: a little leprechaun shoemaker, hard at work with a tiny hammer and tiny nails, making a tiny fairy shoe for a tiny fairy foot.

She reached out her hand, so quietly, so quietly. She kept her eyes right on that leprechaun and she didn’t breathe nor blink until she
grabbed him!

“I’ve got you now, leprechaun!” she cried, “and I’ll not blink away from looking at you until you take me to your golden treasure.”

The leprechaun looked over the girl’s shoulder and gave a tiny squeak.

“Take my treasure if you want it,” he said to her, “but first you must turn and run from the lion sneaking up behind you!”

But the girl was too clever to fall for that.

“You’ll not trick me into looking away so you can disappear,” she told him. “Take me to the gold, and be quick about it!”

“Oh,” said the leprechaun in a mournful sad voice, “but if I give you my treasure, (sniff), then my 230 small children will go to bed hungry at night, and their little (sniff) tears will fall like rain from grey clouds.”

And he wiped at his eyes with his little green hankie as he spoke.

But the girl didn’t fall for that, either.

“Your sad stories are nothing to me, and you’ll not get me to cry and look away,” she said. “Take me to the gold, and no more of your foolishness.”

So the leprechaun had no choice but to lead the way to the place where his golden treasure was hid.

Together he and the girl walked up hills and down again, across creeks and across bridges, around the rocks and around the trees until at last they came to a vast field filled with brilliant yellow buttercups.

In the center of the field of buttercups, the leprechaun pointed at a particular flower and said to the girl, “Dig under that flower and no other, and you’ll find all of my treasure.”

Dig?

The ground here was hard rock. She scraped her boot on it (without looking away from the leprechaun, of course) and knew that she would need a shovel to dig under the flower. But of course, she had no shovel with her.

She thought for a moment, and then (without looking away from the leprechaun, of course) she untied her green hair ribbon, and carefully (without looking away from the leprechaun, of course) she tied it around the stem of the buttercup.

“Now,” she said, “I shall let you go free. But first you must promise not to move you gold away from this spot. And second you must promise that you will not move or remove my ribbon from the flower where I tied it.”

The leprechaun made those promises, and so she let him go. He turned himself around three times and disappeared—and the girl, she never saw him again, nor any of his kind either.

She ran back home as fast as she was able.

She kissed her mum on the cheek as she ran through the house to the shed where they kept the gardening tools. Then she kissed her mum on the cheek as she ran back through the house again with the shovel.

Then she ran as fast as she could, up hills and down again, over creeks and bridges, around rocks and trees until, just as the sun was beginning to set, she came to the field of buttercups.

And what do you think she saw?

The leprechaun had been as good as his word: he had not touched her mark on the buttercup.

Instead, he had tied an identical green hair ribbon around the stem of every other buttercup in the field.

Thousands of buttercups.

Thousands of ribbons.

They all looked the same, and there was none that looked any different from the others.

Well, the girl did the only thing she could do: she sat down, and she laughed at the good trick the leprechaun had played on her.

Then she gathered up an armload of buttercups, tied up with green ribbons and she carried them all home and gave them to her mum.

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