by Sofia Martinez
Leprechauns are a type of fairy found in Irish folklore. They are usually portrayed as little ginger haired bearded men, who wear a coat and a hat, and who take part in mischief. The way leprechauns are portrayed today is based on insulting caricatures and stereotypes of the Irish that started back in the 19th century.
Fact #1: Leprechauns didn’t always wear green
- In 1831 Samuel Lover, an Irish novelist, described leprechauns as short beings dressed in red, wearing red jackets laced with gold, wearing red pointed hats and having white or brown beards, similar to Santa.
Fact #2: All leprechauns are male
- In the book “Fairy Legends”, written in 1825, it says that all leprechauns were “male, alone, and they wore buckled shoes. Some believe that leprechauns are a product of the “defective offspring” of fairies.
Fact #3: They didn’t live in Ireland
- The legend of the leprechaun can be traced back to the 18th century. In earlier versions of the tales, they were simple water spirits called “luchorpán”, which means small body in Old Irish. They lived in an undersea kingdom in the Mid-Atlantic.
Fact #4: They grant wishes
- It is said that when a human captures a leprechaun, the leprechaun grants three wishes or gives a gold coin to bribe his way to freedom. It may seem like a gift at first but becomes more like a curse. You can either go insane trying to think of a well said wish or the wish can backfire on you.