Leo the Leprechaun was turning fourteen, a particularly good age for a young leprechaun to be so close to St. Patrick’s Day. This year he would be able go out without his mother, thus he had already set his mind on a pot full of trouble. And trouble was exactly what fourteen-year-old leprechauns were best at making.
It could be that younger Leprechaun’s were faster but Leo knew the real secret of their trouble making success. Their shorter beards were the real reason for young glory. A Leprechaun could make all the practical jokes he wanted, until he was captured by a human that is, so a shorter beard meant a longer freedom.
Not that Leo the Leprechaun was particularly worried about getting caught. His father, grandfather, and great-great grandfather had yet to be seized, and many a time had Leo been told, ‘Don’t you tell your mother I did this but…’ followed by an epic account, told at a foolish human’s expense.
Leo had always heard that humans celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by throwing large parties. He also knew that they usually came out of these gatherings walking funny, and singing out of tune, wearing mismatched green, and paying little to no attention to their surroundings. He had a never-ending supply of ‘super sticky, nice and tricky, super glue’ and planned to use it well.
On his way out the door Leo gave his mother a kiss on both cheeks and she pinched his until they turned pink. “Behave yourself, Leo,” said his mom.
Leo answered her with his fingers crossed behind his back, “Sure, sure, mom.”
After wiggling his nose, touching his toes, and striking a directional pose, Leo snapped out of Greensville and entered New York City. With grins of delight, and giggles of glee he began to put the ‘super sticky, nice and tricky, super glue’ under all of the car door handles he could sneakily encounter.
All that was left to do was pass the time until the music died down, and for the humans to fall into his trap. He could hardly wait to see their cheeks burn crimson, and to get his hands on all the gold they possessed. His pot would be overflowing by the end of the night, and he grinned as he thought of how proud his father would be of him.
Soon people began to stumble out of the house party, and within seconds he heard exclamations of surprise, as hands became part of handles. Everyone began to question who it was who would have done such a trick, but no one wanted to say. Leo was just about to move on to a different party when one man exclaimed, “I did it, and then I forgot! For I too am stuck.”
Leo could not hear his ears! Some human was taking credit for his prank, and everyone would think it was that man and not the great Leo the Leprechaun. Something had to be done! Leo came out from his hiding place and shouted for all to hear, “He did not forget, for it was I who put the super sticky, nice and tricky glue there.”
The people stared at Leo in wonder, and then they began to laugh. This made Leo madder and he puffed out his chest, knowing it would intimidate them for he was the largest leprechaun in his class. But the people told him to go home, and that a child so young should not be without his parents.
“But I am not a child,” cried Leo, “I am Leo, Leo the Leprechaun.”
“Oh is that so?,” asked a man a couple cars down from where Leo was standing. “Then snap your fingers and let us free, that is if you have magic enough to do such a thing.”
“That is the easiest thing in the world,” gaffed Leo and he snapped his fingers. Instantly the humans began to chase him, but Leo easily avoided their grasps, for his beard was short and his legs were fast. Easily enough, the humans grew tired and crawled into their cars, or searched for taxis if they couldn’t walk well enough to drive.
All of the humans, that is, except for one.
The human who had told Leo to snap his fingers was still standing by his car, his fingers stuck under the handle. “Well I guess you have some magic, but it is not very strong, for I am as stuck as I ever was,” exclaimed the man.
Leo was very confused, and walked closer to the trapped man. His magic had never failed him before, and he was embarrassed that it had not worked with such a large audience in attendance. There was nothing left to do but snap his fingers again, take one last laugh, and move to a different area of the city.
“Nope,” replied the man, “still stuck. Maybe if you go get your dad, he can undo this, for I no longer believe you ever will.”
Astonishment flowed through Leo and he moved closer to the man and his car. Going to ask his dad for help was out of the question, he was fourteen now after all, so he would just have to get a better look. Leo finished walking up next to the car and leaned over to look under the door handle.
As soon as his beard was exposed, the man’s hand shot out and wrapped tightly around it, successfully making Leo the Leprechaun his prisoner.
“Hey!” Leo shouted, “You tricked me!”
“Yes I did and how did you like it?”
“I don’t like it, not at all, so make your wishes and set me free, far from you is where I wish to be!”
The man looked up and down the streets of New York thinking about what he was going to wish for, and then smiled. “My first wish is that I will get a new pair of leather made shoes from you every St. Patrick’s Day.”
“That is what you are wishing for? You do realize that your wish limit is three?”
“Yes indeed,” said the man. “My second wish is that everyone arrives safely at home after their celebrations tonight.”
“Easily done. Your wishes are of no obstacle to a leprechaun such as I,” bragged Leo. “Your wishes are about the worst wishes I have ever heard!”
Ignoring Leo’s teasing the man continued, “And my final wish is that any gold you ever receive is given to a Cancer Treatment Donation Center.”
“No!” Leo was close to tears as the man let go of his extra-short beard. Not only had he gotten caught, but he had lost all of his gold. He was beginning to think that having his mother around, was not that bad of a thing after all. The man grinned and tipped his hat before walking in the other direction.
“What about your car?” Leo asked into the night.
“Oh that car? I haven’t the foggiest of whose it is.”
Leo went home that night with his head down, and his bragging quenched. He listened to all of the great success stories all the other leprechauns had to tell, and all he could think was that tomorrow he was going to lose all of his gold. He would surely be the laughing stock of all of Greensville.
The next morning Leo sent an anonymous check in the mail to a donation center and hung his head in shame. However, when a leprechaun looses his gold he has an irresistible urge to follow it, and later that day he left to find out what had become of his money.
Leo’s senses brought him to the outside of a hospital room and he peered in to see what was happening. A little girl, just slightly bigger than he was himself lay in bed wrapped up in a pile of blankets. Her head was bald and her eyes drooped as if she did not have the energy to keep them open. A mother and father sat in the corner, wondering when their daughter’s last breath would be, holding each other for comfort.
As Leo watched, he began to feel very bad for the unsmiling girl, and he wanted to leave. All of his senses, however, told him that this room was where the money was going. Just as he was about to give up and try another day, a woman in a dark suit entered the room.
“Mr. And Mrs. Smith?”
The two parents nodded their heads, too sad to answer in words.
“Due to a sizable donation, the hospital now has the funds to treat your girl one more time with something brand new. We cannot promise it will work, but with a beautiful girl like that, I think it is worth a shot.”
The mother and father of the sick girl stood and held each other with vigor, letting tears fall silently down their cheeks. The mother went to the girl in the bed and said, “Honey just one more test tonight, and we will be able to have breakfast in the morning.”
The girl looked up, knowing that breakfast had not been in the plans before, and smiled.
And from that day forth that mature fourteen-year-old leprechaun would have been Leo the Generous, wish or no wish.