A wee bit of Irish Folklore

By Cathy Thurber

My favorite non-religious holiday is here – St. Patrick’s Day!  Now, I’m Irish every day (noted by my red hair, freckles and temper) but I truly love to celebrate the wearin’ o’ the green.  That’s probably because I love pretty much everything Irish:  leprechauns, fairies , rainbows with pots of gold at the end, the lush green landscape, the music, the Irish Crème liqueur,  the men who speak with that delightful brogue (hello, Colin Farrell)….but, I digress.  And yes, I’m even a Notre Dame fan.

Here’s a few of the wee fae creatures that you’ll need to be on the lookout for this St. Patrick’s Day.  You never know which one’s going to help you…..or which one is going to keep you with them forever:

Leprechaun:  Most notably seen as either the Lucky Charms’ guy or the mascot of the Fighting Irish.    The Leprechaun is actually a type of fairy in Irish folklore and is usually an old man who keeps his coins in a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  If you can capture him he has the magical power to grant three wishes in order to free himself.  Just make sure you’re not drunk as a skunk when you catch him….those wishes never end up well.  I mean, who really wants to be married to the toilet bowl from the bar’s bathroom?

Classic Fairy: Your classic fairy (picture Tinkerbelle) is a member of the Blessed Court, who are like the fairy world’s aristocracy.  They tend to do good deeds to help humans, but are also very mischievous and like to play harmless pranks on us.  Beware of those that are in the Unblessed Court, though.  Those fairies enjoy tormenting humans.  I think most of them work at Time Warner Cable.

Earth Fairy: These are the brownies and elves.  Brownies are the good guys who will help a housewife keep her home clean.  How do I get me one of those??  Elves are not the kindly little Keebler dudes that live in a tree.  Instead they’d rather wound or kill humans that get too close to their homes.  So, don’t expect any cookies laid out to welcome you.

Banshee (Bean sidhe): A woman with a powerful wail.  If you ever saw “Darby O’Gill and the Little People,” you’d understand.  The banshee is a fairy woman who begins to wail if someone is about to die in a violent manner, such as a murder.  Not someone I’d want to meet while walking along a path at night.

Kelpies: Kelpies are a type of water fairy, but not the pretty kind.  They usually show up in the form of a black horse – or even a man or woman – near the water.  Their sole purpose?  To seduce their victims into the water so they can drown them and then eat them.  Seriously – if your blind date seems a little wet around the edges and has a little seaweed in her hair, don’t go down to the riverbank with her.  Trust me when I say it won’t be a romantic interlude.

Happy St. Patty’s Day!

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