The little people who live in — and love — the outdoors
Before the arrival of the Celts to the Emerald Isle, there were a robust, fun--loving and mischievous little people who had their own way of living. As with many civilizations of old, their survival depended on cunning, skill, craftsmanship and avoiding outsiders.
I’m talking of two types of faerie folk, the leprechaun and the clurichaun. Both clans have been relegated to Irish mythology and folklore — but I, for one, believe they are as real as you and myself.
These faerie folk are 2 to 3 feet tall and are quick-witted, highly intelligent and will do anything to avoid capture by humans. They are believed to be descendants of royalty.
There is a misconception that leprechauns are drunkards. They do have a fondness for merriment — and it is well known to be enhanced by imbibing in the spirits — but they are mostly harmless and only want to have fun. Their cousins the clurichauns, however, are drunken characters that like to cause chaos around Ireland in the night hours. The leprechauns are said to have magical powers and, if a person is lucky enough to capture one, he is granted three wishes. But because these wee folk are quick and smart and have magical powers, you may find that you’ve wrapped your arms around nothing but air. Should you find you really did catch one, it is very wise to be careful what you wish for. Making the wrong wish could bring a lifetime of bad luck.
There have been tales of humans successfully catching a leprechaun and getting their three wishes. Be cautious of such claims because people like to tell fibs and embellish the story of how they caught them.
These faerie folk won’t be found in your next-door apartment or house. Oh, no — they live outdoors, love nature and know how to live inside our Earth. Caves with hidden entrances, hollow trunks of trees and even a rabbit or gopher tortoise hole could prove an entrance to their underground world. They have no need to work, so most of their time is having fun and making music and dancing. They love Irish music and traditional dance. Often they will hold parties that will last for days. They are expert musicians and can make all the instruments they play. Some of these are the fiddle, tin whistle, Irish harp, dulcimer and more.
They do have a trade that came about due to all their celebrating. From a young age, they learn shoemaking because footwear would be quickly worn out by all the dancing and celebrations. Being cobblers and skilled in making things out of leather (boots, shields, clothing, buckles and the like), they were well paid by outsiders in coins, silver and gold. But the little folk had no need of such riches in their world, so it was all saved in buckets, pans and pots, and — being of little use — buried underground at the end of the rainbow.
You may have been visited by a leprechaun or faerie when you were young. (Remember the Tooth Faerie?) Even today, adults dream about the pot of gold and their three wishes if they could only catch one leprechaun. You won’t find them by sitting at your computer or on your couch. No, they are outdoors enjoying nature, especially the rainy days with the sun still shining. Listen next time you walk a path. Look behind a tree. You’ll never know what luck you’ll find in our great outdoors.
Fair winds; calm seas. ¦
— Capt. Dennis Kirk has been traveling the Peace River since 1979. His life adventures are written from various chapters in his three decades of experience in Southwest Florida. He is part owner of the Nav-A-Gator, a riverfront restaurant and marina in Lake Suzy, just off Kings Highway. For more information, call 627- 3474.