Fairy Cobblers 

More commonly associated with Saint Patrick's Day, Leprechauns are part of the traditional Irish folklore. The legend says they are shoe-making elves whose mission is to guard their pots of gold avoiding being caught by humans, who may obtain their treasures if they succeed in capturing a leprechaun and retaining them before they vanish. It is said they may trade their freedom in exchange of three wishes.

Leprechaun is a term derived from the Gaelic luacharma'n or leipreachán, the "maker of one shoe"; however, there are many other possible etymologies. In the English language, "Leprechaun" was first recorded in 1604 in "Middleton" and "Dekker's The Honest Whore" as a term originally meaning some kind of spirit not associated with the Irish folklore.

In Ireland, Leprechauns are also know as fairy cobblers that make shoes for other elves, but their distinctiveness is in always making just one shoe, never a pair. Leprechauns are depicted as plump, red-haired beings attracted by beer; this is reason why they live in wine cellars, but also in farmhouses where they gladly help humans perform small labors.

This race of elves are very small in size and different than Dwarfs, Trolls, Gnomes and Kobolds found in Norse mythology. It is known that when a Leprechaun asks humans for supplies, they usually offer in return an object, which will bring luck and fortune. In fact, they are not shy and can be seen often in the Irish forests dressing in old-fashioned green clothing, wearing red caps, leather aprons, and buckled shoes.

Tradition says that when they are done for the day, they usually organize a wild feast until they are drunk. Drunken Leprechauns are best known as Cluricauns and they are commonly seen riding the moonlight on the back of a sheep or dog. When a Leprechaun wants to help a human, he takes the form of an old man, but most of them enjoy the pleasure of being mischievous and playing tricks on humans.

Mythologically, Leprechauns are referred to as one of the races of the "Tuatha Dé Danann", the people of the Goddess Danu that were the fifth group inhabiting Ireland before the arrival of the Celts. In some traditional literature, it is said that the Tuatha Dé Danann represents the Gods of the Goidelic Irish, a collectivity of Gaelic languages, Gaeilge (Irish), Gaelg (Manx), and Gàidhlig (Scottish Gaelic).

Myth describes Leprechauns as harmless wealthy creatures who hide their treasures in secret remote locations, hence enjoying solitude as much as the company of other spirits to celebrate, but by nature they are mischievous and ill-natured and with a mind for cunning, related also to the Cluricaun and the "Ffear Daerg " (Far Darrig), a faerie of Irish mythology.

In modern times, Leprechauns are used to promote the tourist industry in Ireland and also promote political affairs, but outside the country, the image of Leprechauns has been distorted because misconception and ignorance on the different elves' races, functions and corresponding geographical location where they belong to, sometimes erroneously called sons of the "Tribe of Dan." 



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