One day, last October, Megan was carrying the water up the road to her mum's house. She was also looking for the last of the blackberries to make the pie with, so she was looking very hard at the bushes. Then she stopped under one of the beautiful bushes with pink flowers on, there was a leprechaun.
She was sure that if she had not been looking so closely at the hedge she would never have seen him. He had a smooth faced with no chin whiskers. This made her pause for thought, as her mother has always told her that leprechauns had chin whiskers. Perhaps he is a younger leprechaun, and that's why he doesn't have any, she decided.
Megan been a clever girl, and well versed in folklore, went over everything her mother had ever told about leprechauns in her mind. Then Megan decided to sneak up on him and asked his gold. Knowing that now she had seen the leprechaun she had to keep it in her step, Megan fixed her gaze on him and crept up very slowly.
The leprechaun lay dozing in the shade of the bushes and dreaming, as a leprechauns do, about better times in his life. All of a sudden he realised that he was caught in a young girls gaze. he leapt up, startled, and more than a little embarrassed at being caught so easily. Using all of his powers of persuasion, he begged to be released.
Megan looked him up and down but never looked away. He was wearing an outfit all in green, from the very attractive hat with a pretty buckle on, to the bottom of his shiny green boots. Why, she thought, he even has green eyes. As she looked closer she realised that the miniature man was not as he had first appeared. One point of his shirt collar was neatly folded down with them but; the other stops straight up into the air and waved gently in the wind. His cuffs were afraid, and the shiny green boots were little scuffed at the toe.
Wondering if this leprechaun, who looked so uncared-for, could possibly have any gold she nevertheless plucked up courage to do decided to try.
"Now that I have caught you in my state, I won't let you go until you give me your purse of gold". Said Megan bravely, not quite sure she could stay that long, but more than willing to try for a purse of gold.
The leprechaun started to cry. His eyes filled with tears, and his shoulders started to shake with emotion.
"I'll have none of your tricks now Mr leprechaun." Megan spoke more softly just in case he really was upset. "My name is Megan Merrow, I know your ways, and I won't look away so you might just as well give me your gold."
The leprechaun raised his eyes and looked at her mournfully. He slowly stop sniffing and looked Megan over. He saw young girl, a little bit unkempt (she had been sampling the blackberries) but with kindly blue eyes. No wedding ring and none of that fiddly stuff he disliked so much. He looked closer and realise that she was trying to be as nice as possible about the whole 'taking of his gold' thing.
"What do you need God for anyway?" He asked "You don't look like the sort of girl who needs any. I would say that it looks like you are well fed and cared for, what more could you want?"
Megan looked him over as if to try and determine if this was another one of his tricks. "I still live with my mother," she said "and although I love her very much and I never want to live anywhere other than right here, I would like to have a house of my own so that I can have more than just a few minutes each day to myself."
In this the leprechaun recognised a kindred spirit. He thought to himself about how long it had taken him to break away from his parents and all their high hopes for him joining the family shoe-making business. Feeling sorry for the girl and deciding that he would like to help her on her way to freedom he thought about giving her the gold. But then he remembered.
"I can't give you my gold," he wailed.
"I was caught yesterday by little boy near the coast and I gave him the whole purse. I was on my way to the end of the next screen burn to get more from the bottomless pot, when I got so tired that I had to sit down for a minute. That's when you saw me."
He sniffed again wiped a tear from his eye.
"Truthfully I'd rather give the gold to you. That little boy was so nasty. After you took my purse, he tied me up in a sack and ran away, shouting that if he hadn't I would come after him put a curse on everything that he spent the money on."
The leprechaun looked up at Megan again. "Honestly I don't have any."
Megan sat down by the leprechaun. Even when she was sitting down at the leprechaun was standing he was so small that the top of his head did not reach her elbow.
"So what happens now?" Megan asked the leprechaun. "I thought that you had a rule to cover every situation, and when you got caught in somebody's gaze you had to give them your gold. That's the rule".
The leprechaun started to think again. This girl to be exactly what he needed. She looks sweet and caring, she obviously did not care for the hustle and bustle of the city, although her clothes show the places where they had been mended, she obviously had time to care for them and not just drove them away as so many other mortals did. Also he realised she had been picking blackberries to make a pie. A girl who could cook! He thought again about the lack of wedding ring on her finger and the way that the sunlight bounced off their hair, making it shine as if it was made of well-polished metal. Then made up his mind.
looking up into her eyes he started, "but I have no gold." Pausing a brush the hair from her face so she could see that he was sincere. "I have only one thing left in the world that I can give you, and that's my heart." Taking a deep breath, he looked up into Megan space. "Would you like that?"
Megan blinked in surprise of the unexpected turn of events had taken. When she opened her eyes the leprechaun was still there. "You didn't run away!" She exclaimed in surprise.
"I offered you my heart," replied the leprechaun, "that means, from now until the end of time, I won't disappear just because you looked away for a second. That's not the way leprechauns do things."
Megan thought for a moment. "I think you're right and what's more I think you're quite the nicest leprechaun I have ever met." Then a sense of humour came into play "I was simply taken by surprise; I didn't think that you would propose to knee while sitting under a hedge."
The leprechaun snorted with laughter. "Where better?" He asked, "I suppose you want me to get down on one knee as well."
Megan started to laugh too. "You are small enough now." She said "if you get down on one knee I won't be able to see you!"
They sat and laugh together for a while. Then the leprechaun stood up with a serious look on his face. "Well" he said. "We had better get back to the question at hand. Will you agree to marry me then?"
"Of course" she replied. "Don't you think we had forgotten something though? You haven't told me your name."
The leprechaun scratched his head and his merry eyes twinkled with laughter. "You can call me Michael"
Megan are Michael's adventures begin in earnest Chapter 2 – Journey to the Gates of Fairyland.
Sleep well and don't let the bed bugs bite.