You’re walking along a narrow dirt road between green fields lined with low stone walls. Sheep frolic in the pastures nearby, the mothers grazing tranquilly on the grass and clover while their lambs dance and play. You stop to take it all in, the warm sun, the fresh fragrance of the green earth, and the blue sky stretching endlessly before you. Birds sing out in a merry chorus.
The road turns, cutting through a tangled old forest. The trees arch over the path, but the road is still clear and obviously well traveled, so you enter without fear. After a while, though, the blue sky fades behind you and less and less sunlight finds its way through the branches. Even stranger, the birds have grown silent.
You pause for a moment, wondering how long until you reach the other side of the woods, when you hear a light tap, tap, tapping somewhere off the road. Perhaps some farmer or woodsman is at work in the woods.
Suddenly longing for human companionship, you leave the road and pick your way over fallen logs and through bramble, towards the sound.
The trees thin slightly, and the burbling of a brook joins the constant tapping. You slow your pace as you approach a clearing, a small patch of green grass around a clear forest pool. A strange, prickling sensation comes over you. There is something in the air here, an ancient but lively magic that causes your hair to stand on end and your senses to become heightened. For a moment, you feel as if you can see every blade of grass and every individual leaf. You can hear not only the rush of the nearby water, but also the bursting of bubbles as they come to the surface and the swaying of water weeds along the shore.
Something catches your eye: a glint of gold in the green of the grass. You stoop down and pick up a single coin, unmarked by design or date, but obviously of the purest, untarnished gold.
Unable to believe your luck, you tuck this treasure into your pocket.
The tapping continues, but you linger in the shelter of the trees, somehow unwilling to enter the clearing. As you scan the area before you, your eye catches a flash of red among the greens and browns of the forest.
There, upon a massive toadstool, far larger than any you’ve ever seen, a wee man sits cross-legged as he hammers tiny nails into the sole of a leather shoe. His garb is green, his fingers nimble, his beard almost scarlet. Between the magic about you and his impossibly small size, you know beyond a shadow of the doubt, he is one of the fair folk, a legendary being that few chance to see in these more mundane times.
Knowing better than to approach such a being but also too fascinated to turn away, you continue to watch as he goes about his business, cobbling shoes. After a few minutes, he seems to finish and tucks the shoe and his tools into a pouch at his waist. Though the pouch is smaller than the shoe itself, somehow everything slips into it, neatly tucked away. You inhale sharply, realizing you just witnessed actual magic.
The wee man now reaches into this pouch and pulls out a draw string bag. He opens this, and the glow of the gold within reflects in his eager eyes. Your hand strays to your pocket. It all clicks together, and you know what you hold.
Before you can decide what to do, the wee man’s head snaps up. His face turns crimson and he rushes from the toadstool, straight at your hiding spot, hurling curses and threats at you in a mix of modern English and an unknown, ancient tongue.
You hold up your hands but then remember the coin. You hold it forth, before his eyes, and shout, “Wait. I found this. Is it yours?”
His eyes widen, but he stops his tirade, still eyeing you with suspicion. He reaches out his hand, and you drop the coin into it. He turns it over and over between his fingers, as if anticipating some cruel trick. When nothing foul happens, he smiles at you.
From his magic pouch, he produces a single candle, already lit with the flame flickering. You take it and draw a deep breath of the delightful aroma. When you raise your eyes once more, he is gone, and his toadstool has also vanished.
The birds begin to sing once more and the magic fades from the air. The candle, however, remains. A gift for you and a reminder of how you survived an encounter with The Angry Leprechaun.
The Angry Leprechaun, Mythologie Candles limited-edition St Patrick's Day candle, arrives February 24th!