Not too long ago in a not too distant land, a mother and father were excited to welcome a new baby to their family. The baby was only about ½ an inch high, which would be very unusual if it were not for the fact that she was a baby leprechaun. Her parents had no problem with a baby leprechaun, for they were also leprechauns. (If you think that all fantastical stories are about humans, you need to broaden your horizons). Due to specific circumstances I am not at liberty to discuss—except to say it relates to societal rules, planetary alignments, and a decline in the population of Bumble Bees—this was the first new baby leprechaun born in over 100 years. Needless to say, there was a great deal of excitement in the parents’ extended family, which comprised of approximately 72 brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and in-laws. This may seem like a large number, but it really isn’t when you realize that leprechauns have been known to live as long as several hundred years. Although they are somewhat solitary creatures by habit, a birth always brings some excitement. Therefore, it only took a few days for the news to spread around the globe that a brand new baby leprechaun joined their ranks. Her parents named her Shelly.
Shelly was a very happy baby even though she did not have brothers and sisters around her own age. Since leprechauns are playful by nature, even the adults played games that would amuse any child. Now, it is important that we remember that there is a big difference between mischief and malice. Except for one very small and isolated family, leprechauns are not even remotely like the scary Hollywood movies, and they take great offense at the comparison—which is why they are seen much less now than they were 20 years ago. They do love pranks, tricks, and jokes of all sorts, but they do not try to harm anyone. So, her parents and visiting relatives did all kinds of fun things with her: they rolled her in leaves and stuck her in dandelions and covered her in pollen and did all the fun things any baby would thoroughly enjoy. And, as would be expected, she laughed and giggled and developed a very happy disposition and began to grow into a very beautiful little leprechaun girl.
Right around the time Shelly was 8 months old, her parents made a most distressing discovery. They had brought her to a lovely park on a warm spring day to frolic with some of the local caterpillars and butterflies and other critters. As they had frolicked and played, it started to rain a warm, gentle rain. Of course, leprechauns always get excited about rain for the obvious reason. The shower only lasted a few minutes, but it was just the right amount of time, and the family was in just the perfect location, and a rainbow suddenly appeared a mere stone’s throw from them. (People sometimes see rainbows from ocean sprays and fountains, but the real magical rainbows only occur from the rain). The parents watched to see Shelly’s reaction, and it was then that they discovered the horrible truth: she couldn’t see the rainbow. They immediately rushed home and called the lepredoc to have her checked, hoping it was just be an illness. However, he confirmed the terrible truth to them: Shelly was colorblind.
Now, you probably know leprechauns are magical creatures. Part of their magical nature is to follow the rainbow to its end to find a pot of gold. (There has only ever been one instance of a human supposedly finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, but the person could not provide any proof to substantiate the claim, so most authorities deny it actually happened). A lot of people think leprechauns get their magic from their gold, but that is not true. Leprechaun gold is often magical, true, but its magic comes from the leprechauns, not the other way around. Leprechauns relying on the magic in their gold is like snakes eating their tails: the meal quickly runs out. Leprechauns get their magic from all the wonderful colors in nature. That is why you rarely see them in swamps, deserts, or human cities. They love rainbows because all the colors come together in one place, focusing magic like a magnifying glass does sunlight. If you find a leprechaun at the end of a rainbow, you may notice it acting very excited and silly, and it is probably because it has gotten slightly drunk on the colors. (I am not saying they can’t get drunk in other ways, but that is a way of getting drunk that is totally unique to them). Leprechauns sometimes overindulge when they come across very big and vibrant rainbows—especially after a long Winter.
As you can imagine, Shelly’s parents were very concerned about their little girl. If she couldn’t see colors at all, then she might not have magic! Humans may not understand the issue here. Most people are not born with magic, so they learn to get along without it; however, no leprechaun in the history of the race has ever been non-magical. They have no concept how to survive without magic, and when they are the size of a beetle, it is a big deal. Of course, everyone (i.e., all the other leprechauns who found out) kept asking how such a disastrous thing could happen. It is fully understandable that the parents immediately wondered if they had done something wrong.
Fortunately, another discovery was made just as the doctor was checking the little girl’s reflexes. He had just sprinkled some pollen #427 on her nose when a wasp flew above their heads. She gave a terrific sneeze, and the wasp immediately turned into a slug. This was actually a very good sign, for temporarily changing small creatures into slugs is the normal magical leprechaun reaction to Carnation pollen. The parents were excited, but they wondered how their little girl could have magic if she was colorblind. It is not the doctor’s fault at all that he did not know, for this was totally outside of his specialty. Therefore, he immediately called a specialist: Herbert.
Now, something you need to know about Herbert is that he wasn’t a doctor. He actually was considered a bit of an outcast by many leprechauns. The reason is that Herbert had spent all his 572 years studying the histories and myths of other creatures instead of leprechauns. This was considered a complete and total waste of time by a race that rarely ever went to college. However, it was fortunate, for Herbert was able to answer many of their questions. After popping in and running some of his own tests on Shelly, he was able to confirm to the parents that it was not their fault—except just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. (All I can officially say is that it relates to corn, bees, and butterflies; if you want to know more, you will have to do the research on your own). He also explained that Shelly was fully as magical as any leprechaun and could still access magic. In other words, she could live a very normal leprelife with just a few added disciplines.
Now, most parents would be glad to hear this latest news, but Shelly’s parents were not excited by it for one very simple reason: leprechauns despise disciplines. The nature of the species is to frolic and simply do whatever they felt like doing—unless the need was great. The concept of being disciplined seemed to be a loss of all fun and enjoyment in life. How could their daughter play tricks on people, animals, and other magical creatures if she was being disciplined? What fun could she have if her life actually had to have some type of structure? And most significantly, how were they ever going to be able to find her a good leprehusband? (It shouldn’t surprise you that although leprechauns are renown for being tricksters and pranksters, they also excel at being pessimistic when bad things happen). However, Herbert assured them that a few disciplines would not ruin her life or prevent her from having fun—and being that he was arguably the most disciplined leprechaun they knew, they had to take his word for it. So, still being a bit fearful, the parents asked him what they should do.
Herbert explained that Shelly could still get magic from all the colors in nature, but because she could not see the colors themselves, she needed to be more active in accessing the magic of the colors. Shelly had to train herself to picture the magic in everything around her and imagine herself saturated in it. Her parents did not completely understand how to do this because leprechauns never needed faith that magic existed, for they saw it with their eyes. However, being very caring parents, they proposed an idea: They would raise Shelly until she was old enough to go live with Herbert for a year, and he would teach her to practice the magical presence in the world. Considering the nature of normal leprechaun parents, this showed just how very loving and wise they turned out to be. Herbert agreed, and when she was one year old, Shelly went to live with her uncle—as she would always consider him afterwards.
Now, I am not going to say it was easy for Shelly; for it was not. It is not inherently in a leprechaun’s nature to learn any type of discipline, so she had to work at it a great deal in the beginning. There were times when she would forget to be aware of the magic around her, and her own magical supply would start to run low, putting her in a bad mood. She also had to learn to believe in things she couldn’t see, which is not natural for a leprechaun; this was the hardest part of the process for her. It is not entirely unexpected that there were times when she sat under a mushroom and had a pity party. Considering how hard she worked the rest of the time, we can overlook those instances. As she learned to be patient with herself, these events became much less frequent. However, as she practiced her lessons, it got easier and easier until it became so natural to her that she hardly realized she was doing it. (I won’t bore you with all the instructions Herbert gave Shelly, for there are books on the subject readily available at any library; I will just say that anybody can learn to do what Shelly did—if they put their mind to it). By the middle of the year, Shelly could do all the magical things common to other leprechauns her age.
It was near the end of their year together that Herbert made three discoveries that surprised him very much. The first was that she could see the currents of magic within nature and other magical beings; very few leprechauns had ever learned how to do this, and she became very proficient at it. The second unexpected outcome was that Shelly began to perceive the characteristics of the magic associated with different colors even though she could not see the colors themselves; while most leprechauns would look at a leaf or a bee and see “green” or “yellow” magic, she saw the unique differences between each plant and animal. (Some leprechauns do specialize in specific colors of magic, and those will recognize the differences in their field just like some humans specialize in flavors of coffee or chocolate; however, Shelly was the first to be adept in all colors). The third and most amazing result was that Shelly could access magic from nature around her even where there were almost no colors at all; she was able to overcome the topmost weakness that plagued the whole race of leprechauns—seeing magic in colorless places.
Now, no other leprechaun had ever been able to access magic in colorless places before. If they had to be in one of those places, they relied on their magical reservoir, or in a desperate situation, they might take some of the magic out of their gold. Shelly could do something unheard of in leprelore. Recognizing how very significant this was, Herbert immediately shared it with other lepreleaders. The reaction was almost instantaneous. Reports showed up on the leprenews, and blogs were posted on the leprenet, and there were lepweets and lepregrams springing up all over the place. Shelly became a bit of a star. Her parents quickly went from being embarrassed about their daughter to being extremely proud, but they wisely kept limits on the lepremedia visits so she could have a normal childhood.
When Shelly got old enough to go out on her own, she spent 30 years just traveling the world, seeing enchanted forests, meeting other magical races, and learning about the different types of magic. When she finished her travels, she began to write and teach people what she learned. Now, as you are aware, leprechauns usually don’t put much stock in studying; however, Shelly was the exception to the rule. Everywhere she went, she was respected—and even viewed with a tiny bit of awe. Additionally, she identified the cause of the recent decline in baby leprechauns, and after her article was published and leprechauns adjusted their lifestyles, new births began to increase. Requests for her to speak became common enough that she finally opened a small leprecollege in a nearby field. (She had 6 students her first year, which may seem small until you realize there had only been 5 leprebirths the prior year; she had 4 youngsters and 2 adults in the class). Even Herbert became a popular visiting speaker and started to teach a course on how to practice the presence of magic in nature. (His lectures were recently made into a book, The Practice of the Colors by Uncle Herbert). Shelly still teaches, and even though she is not yet 100 years old, she is considered to be the wisest, smartest, and most magical leprechaun alive today.