Legend of The Leprechaun

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One of the most well-known figures associated with the Irish and St. Patrick’s Day is the

But where did it originate?

The leprechaun is a fairy, depicted as a bearded man, wearing a coat and hat and a twinkle of mischief.  He is often pictured with a rainbow that has a pot of gold at the end.

The Irish believe that if the leprechaun is captured, he will grant three wishes in exchange for his freedom.

He is a solitary figure, who makes and mends shoes and enjoys practical jokes.

One historian claims the leprechaun is the son of an evil spirit and degenerate fairy, so neither wholly bad or wholly good.

Leprechaun means sprite or a pigmy.  The word derives from the Old Irish word luchrupán, which finds it roots in two words which mean small and body.

The earliest known reference dates back to a medieval text, The Adventure of Fergus son of Léti.

The leprechaun’s appearance often varied depending on where in Ireland you were located.  Before the 20th Century, he was described as wearing red, not green. Wearing green is an image that originated in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.

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