Ireland's national fairy - the leprechaun is often brought into the limelight on St.Patrick'sDay; yet there is quite a bit of mystery surrounding this little elf.

Leprechauns are about 3 feet tall and proportionately built (they're not dwarves). They dress plainly & carry two coins with them - one magick replenishing coin that will always return to the purse after it's spent, & one dummy coin that will turn into a rock once the leprechaun has given it away. Leprechauns are solitary, anti-social & hard-working - often found behind bushes or trees smoking pipes or making shoes.

In addition to cobblery, their other trade is "banking" because they're the only fairies who are thrifty. Leprechauns are the protectors of fairy treasure and they're responsible for keeping it safely hidden. Rainbows reveal where pots of gold are hidden, so leprechauns sometimes spend all day moving their crocks from one spot to another to allude the tell-tale end of the rainbow. If you capture a leprechaun, you shouldn't let him out of your grasp or your site before he reveals his gold. He'll try to distract you or use any ploy he can think of to get away. In the blink of an eye, the leprechaun can dash out of sight.

There is another side to leprechauns. In spite of their surly dispositions they can also be generous to those who do them good turns. They may repay a kind deed with a replenishing coin, some gold, or wishes.

There isn't any mention of female leprechauns in traditional Irish legend, so there are different theories as to how they come about. Perhaps they are defective offspring of other fairies, or maybe they're the products of unions between fairies & humans.

Another topic of speculation is the relationship between leprechauns & cluricauns. Are cluricauns close cousins of leprechauns? They look just alike, except cluricauns have slightly pink-tipped noses. They dress very dandily in garish colors & they have no desire to work. Cluricauns are almost always drunk & cheerful. They never have any money, or any idea where treasure is buried. Cluricauns steal what they want - they raid wine cellars & pantries until there is nothing left. Then they wreak havoc in the house before running off into the night. Cluricauns harness animals & race them around while damaging private property for amusement. Leprechauns denounce cluricaun behavior, but it has been said that cluricauns may just be leprechauns on drunken sprees.