A TRUE TALE


Cobbler in Barrel

About two centuries ago Molly Cogan of Kilmallock told the famous folklorist Thomas Crofton Croker about a leprechaun her grandfather had met, and even caught.

It happened like this: one night as he went to the stable to tend his old mare, Grandpa Cogan heard something 'hammering, hammering, hammering just for all the world like a shoemaker making a shoe, and whistling all the time the prettiest tune he ever heard his whole life before.'

He guessed what might be making the sound and. remembering tales of leprechauns and their gold, he crept in. He looked around but 'never a bit of the little man could he see anywhere, but he heard him hammering and whistling and so he looked and looked, till at last did he see the little fellow.

'And where was he, do you think, but in the girth under the mare, and there he was with his little bit an apron on him, and a hammer in his hand, and he was so busy with his work, and he was hammering and whistling so loud, that he never minded my grandfather till he caught the leprechaun fast in his hand.

'"Faith I have you now," says he. "And I'll never let you go till I get your purse, that's what I won't. So give it here to me at once now."

'"Stop, stop!" cries the leprechaun. "Stop till I get it for you!"

'So my grandfather, like a fool you see, opened his hand a bit and the little fellow jumped away laughing. And he never saw him any more, and never a bit of the purse did he get, only the leprechaun left his little shoe that he was making, and my grandfather was mad enough angry with himself for letting him go, but he had the shoe all his life. And my own mother told me she often saw it, and had it in her hand, and 'twas the prettiest little shoe she ever saw.'

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