Once upon a time there was a leprechaun named Shaun. He lived in modern times, which was tough for a fairytale creature. His woodland had been bulldozed by a suburban developer outside of Dublin and now he found himself in the basement of one of the low rent tenement buildings that the city council had dubbed The Green Hills in honor of what was there before they put in the grey, drab concrete apartment blocks for the poor and destitute to get them out of the central city.
Like the rest of the development, the Leprechaun was supposed to be dealt with, never seen from again. And many of Shaun’s people had left, some immigrating to America in the bottom of potato sacks, taking up residence in the Keebler Elf factory, where at least they could be out of the closet about their fairytale nature. Others had gone deep underground, where sooner or later the dirt and the dark would turn them into dwarves or worse, trolls. Very few people recognize that genetics are only the beginning point for an organism, and that nurturing green fields are as much a part of the makeup of a Leprechaun as the slime pits and bilge waste are for a troll.
But Shaun fought the direction of the world and refused to leave his ancestral home. As soon as the tenement had gone up he’d picked a basement flat that butted up against what had been his ancestral cave under the branches of a great oak now sold for toothpicks and beer barrels. There Shaun had stayed, donning dark glasses and shabby clothes and screaming obscenities and throwing things if anyone came near. He’d moved in so soon they’d never had time to mark his flat with a number, so later neighbors just assumed he was the tenement’s terrible crazy fix it man. They’d complain about his temper, but the next day whatever they complained to him about would be fixed. So they liked their super despite his bizarre ways. As for the owners, they never noticed they were one super short, and wouldn’t have said anything if they had. So Shaun fixed things and had a place of his own.
It all started to go south when Shaun reached his mid-life and started thinking about getting a wife and settling down. Where was a fellow to go in these parts to find a Leprechaun wife? He thought about many things but then heard several of the tenement boys talking about the internet. One nightly raid later, Shaun was online looking for other Leprechauns. He found exactly what he was looking for at the Keebler personals, where wanton hussies looking for Leprechauns with very green jackets gave all their particulars.
Shaun wrote them all. In the next few weeks, none of them wrote him back except to taunt him for being a fool. But one of the girls knew a girl with a very strict family and mentioned to her that a stick-in-the-mud was writing from the old country looking for a traditional wife. “As if,” she huffed. “A girl has to look forward.” The traditional girl, who’s name was Mabel, got Shaun’s address and sent him a honest-to-God letter asking him questions. Shaun was flabbergasted to receive mail, but wrote her back.
Things progressed nicely until Mabel and her family took the journey out to the old country. They knocked on Shaun’s flat and were not impressed by his shenanigans. “What’s this?” Said Mabel’s father. “You’re nothing more than a squatter! How will you support my daughter?” As a little person he was used to standing tall for his rights. He hired an attorney who mentioned that the super in tenement six had never been paid. The owners called it a clerical error and corrected it with a nice settlement.
There weren’t any Leprechaun ministers in Shaun’s neck of the woods, so they had the festivities in America. Shaun flew back with the family, who had passports and everything else. It took some time for Shaun to get a passport of his own, but once that was settled, he became a citizen like everyone else.
Now Shaun and Mabel live in the basement flat of tenement six. They’re little people, but keep themselves to themselves. Shaun’s even stopped screaming at the other tenants, though he still does his housework secretly at night. Some things never change.
- Tenements in the Twentieth Century (contractwithgod315.wordpress.com)
- Leprechaun 71: Leprechaun Gets a Swaggie Return to Da Hood (bzalgebra.wordpress.com)
- National Leprechaun Museum (dublinvisitorcentre.com)
- When I’m glad NOT to be Mabel (mustbemabel.wordpress.com)
- Time for Notre Dame to lose the leprechaun in light of the Washington Redskins? (irishcentral.com)
- This Statue of James Joyce Says I Must be in Dublin (majoringinliterature.wordpress.com)