Growing Up with Leprechauns

I was nothing but a wee babe the first time I dragged my sister out of bed on a magical March 17th morn.

“Patty! Wake up!” With thoughts of Irish jigs and golden treasure, I shook my little sister who still slept while curled up in our shared double bed. She rubbed her eyes and brushed her auburn hair from her face.

“Let’s see if the leprechauns came last night!”

We padded out from the bedroom of the small apartment in our matching zip-up pajamas. As soon as I entered the living room, something bright caught my eye. It glimmered in the early morning sunshine and it beheld the brightest gold I’d ever seen!

“Found one!” I snatched the gold chocolate-filled coin from the top of the end table.

Patty echoed my excitement and toddled over to the other side of the long sofa. “I got one too!” She grabbed the precious gem on the matching table that an errant little person had left behind.

“Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!” Dad said. He towered over us and his strawberry crew cut made him look even taller. He leaned against the wall while sipping a cup of hot coffee and wore the wool fisherman sweater my mother had knit for him. He smiled and watched all the shenanigans.

My mom joined in the hunt and gathered the coins in her apron. Her violet eyes sparkled under a crown of raven black hair. She had explained the day before, “The leprechauns are coming tonight. They travel all the way from Ireland and will be carrying a huge pot of gold with them. Some coins may fall out and left behind.”

Once it seemed that we had found every last one of the coins, we began looking for the wee folk themselves. Patty and I searched everywhere. We peeked in closets, behind the sofa, and the scariest place of all, under our bed. We could not find any sign of the elusive creatures.

Soon the only trace of them was the gold foil that contained the delicious chocolate. I remember saving them in my jewelry box, believing they were the most precious of all metals. As I wound the key and let the old lullaby play, I was on top of the world!

After regaling my friends of our encounter with leprechauns, I didn’t understand why they hadn’t gotten a visit. Mom explained that they probably weren’t as Irish as us. We were McCartans after all.

Just as I began to doubt my belief in the little people, my brother Joe was born. The Leprechauns started dropping those gold coins on Saint Patrick’s Day once again!

Many years later, the same scene played out with my own children. They ran from room to room giggling while gathering up those coveted gold coins. As they got older, they seemed to be hidden a bit better. Sometimes I would find one propped up against a brass vase at the end of May!

Now that they are in college, the leprechauns leave a bag of coins for each of them on the kitchen counter. I even save a little stash for myself. I have always been a collector of precious metals.

Have you ever heard of “Irish Diplomacy?”  

 It’s the ability to tell someone to go to hell, so they look forward to the trip!

How are you planning to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day?

 ~Erin Go Braugh~

Photos by Susie Lindau

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About susielindau

I am a Boulder, Colorado writer and artist who loves adventure both real and imagined. Come with me. It's always a Wild Ride!
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66 Responses to Growing Up with Leprechauns

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  4. Stelios says:

    Arrived here through a random selection. Thought that I would leave my mark, in appreciation.

    Love the gold coins. A lot better that throwing cabbages.


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  6. I love those chocolate coins!! What a great way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day as a child.. isn’t it the best when we can continue these traditions with our kids:)


  7. This sounds like such a fun tradition–like an Easter egg hunt for St. Patrick’s Day. I’ll keep this in mind down the road when I have kids.


  8. What a fun Tradition loved it :)


  9. The Guat says:

    Awesome tradition…you would think we would do something considering my husband was born on St. Patrick’s Day and his name is Patrick…however a Latino St. Patrick…so all he do is party with green beer and listen to Vicente Fernandez…we have Easter ;)


  10. I love this one. But I am afraid to try it as the dog really should not eat chocolate. And he will find the leftovers.


  11. Debra Kristi says:

    Your family sounds like a lot of fun! The mischievous leprechauns do something similar at our house. They also leave our toilet water green. ;)


  12. The Hook says:

    Speaking of magic, you weave quite a tale, Susie!


  13. mj monaghan says:

    What a great tradition with the chocolate coins, Susie!

    Since I am just a “wee bit” Irish *said in thick Irish brogue* we will celebrate our heritage at home. It’s too crazy out on the streets for me.

    I’m so glad that there are Irish in Colorado, and now I know why you’re so mischievous! :)


  14. Sweet story, Susie. You’re such a great mom! I’m spending time the lucky day at a brunch with writers. Can’t beat that. Thanks this post, I might seek out a funky green hat… ;)


  15. jmgoyder says:

    What a lovely story!


  16. Susie, what a charming tradition. I have never heard of this one but it sounds like a lot of fun.


  17. Cayman Thorn says:

    As experience has taught me oh so well, you do not plan St. Patrick’s Day as much as it plans you.
    Happy and healthy one, lady.


    • susielindau says:

      It does have a way of doing that Cayman! Hahaha! Thanks and you do the same although somehow I think I will be reading about your night in a post…
      Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


  18. I didnt believe you had kids, you look remarkable young ! What your secret chocolate coins?


  19. thesandytongue says:

    Nice post, I enjoyed it. I always thought that St.Patrick created the Leprechauns to drive all the snakes out of Ireland?????


  20. Happy St Patrick’s Day, Susie! Have fun! :D


  21. The Hook says:

    Great post, Susie! You never disappoint!


  22. EllieAnn says:

    That sounds SO fun. I’ve never celebrated Saint Patty’s day before, but after this post I believe I will. :)


  23. I married into an Irish family and enjoy celebrating St. Patty’s Day!!! Thanks for sharing & Happy Monday:)


  24. Coleen Patrick says:

    I probably believed in leprechauns–I do remember combing clover patches many times to find the four leafed one!! :)


  25. nelle says:

    Go to hell told with a smile… :-)

    We didn’t do the St Patrick’s Day coin thing, we got the leftovers on Easter. Now I’m craving chocolate…

    excellent post!


  26. gardenlilie says:

    Cute story! The St. Patty’s Day you know is just a happy occasion for all, little ones and big. One of my kids storybooks of course is just that a Mr. Shannanagins tale. And the adults get to play and be silly too.


  27. magsx2 says:

    It is unreal to think that St. Patrick’s day is just around the corner, the year has gone so fast.

    Gold chocolate coins are the go for the big day. My mother used to tell me the Leprechauns come last night and I heard them hiding the gold coins, so much fun was had by all. :D


  28. I never believed in them but still wondered if the Lucky Charms guy was at the end of the rainbow. I think I believed in banshees more..:)


  29. Katie Glenn says:

    Leprechauns used to come visit me too! But ours were more mischievous, they would walk through the wooden area behind our house and turn rocks into potatoes. My brother and I had to collect them and Dad would make his famous, potato, ham and green bean soup. :)


  30. St. Patrick’s day is my annual “be a total killjoy” day. I’m the guy, no lie, who goes around saying, “Do you know the REAL story of St. Patrick’s day?” Then they feel compelled to ask and I bum them out.

    I try to stop. I can’t. And, yes, I’ll be writing a post about it.

    Although, I have to say, I really like the chocolate coin idea.


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