By Denis Aloysius McCarthy
O summer is the time to see the little leprechaun;
He haunts the Irish hedges at the very peep o’ dawn;
You hear a little hammer going rap-a-tap-a-tap —
And then you know he’s close at hand, the foxy fairy chap.
And, faith, the little leprechaun has knowledge of a place
Where lies a crock o’ fairy gold — the hoarding of his race;
And, if you keep your eye on him, you have him in your power,
And he must tell you where ’tis hid, that golden fairy dower.
But, ah! beware the leprechaun, for he has tricks to blind,
And if you look away from him he’ll vanish like the wind.
And sure ’tis I that know it, for I flung away my chance
Of ever being wealthy by one fatal, fleeting glance.
For once at early morning, ere the sun had drunk the dew,
I came upon the leprechaun at work upon a shoe;
At work upon a fairy shoe, the crabbed little elf,
And, O, so very busy that he didn’t see myself.
“Good morning to your honor, sir,” all flustered like, I said.
“Good morning kindly, sir,” said he, and hardly raised his head.
‘Twas coolly he replied to me, betraying no surprise;
In fact, I thought I saw a roguish twinkle in his eyes.
“Tis early you are up,” said I, not knowing what to say.
“Ah, yes,” said he, “but that’s because I’m rather rushed to-day.
But, though I rise so early, yet I honestly declare
I’m never up so early as my neighbor over there.”
With that he jerked his head a bit, and, thinking to behold
Another fairy cobbler with another crock of gold,
I looked away a moment — in that moment he was gone,
And vanished all my fortune with the tricksy leprechaun!