|Average height||Generally between 1 and 3 ft|
|Place of origin||Ireland|
|Related species||Duende, Elf, Fairy, Gnome, Goblin, Hobgoblin, Kobold, Pixie, Sprite, Tomte|
|Behind the Scenes|
The Leprechauns are small humanoid creatures originating from Irish legend. They're considered a type of Aos Sí - a name used to designate the inhabitants of the sídhe or "fairy hills".
Although the name "Aos Sí" is usually associated with the term "Fairy", it includes an incredibly diverse assemblage of magical beings, some of which are not even humanoid. Banshees, Dullahans, Fuathan and Púcas are also examples of Aos Sí.
The Leprechauns are described as looking like diminutive bearded men and act as shoemakers to the other magical beings. In the original legends, they were exclusively male and most often seen wearing red, rather than today's more popular green. They're also popularly known for their mischievousness, for guarding treasures, and for their love of alcohol, although even inebriation doesn't affect their shoemaking skills. The Leprechaun is described as a solitary being, although some stories may have more than one working together.
Capturing a Leprechaun is a difficult task, and ensuring that he doesn't get away or vanish if you look away is even harder. If you do capture a Leprechaun, he may grant you three wishes in exchange for freedom, or offer you his treasure. Being a trickster, however, he can easily fool people. For instance, the Leprechaun typically carries a magical coin with him, which will inevitably return to his pocket after being given as payment. Modern stories typically have it that the Leprechaun owns a cauldron-full of gold which can be found at the end of the rainbow.
Outside Ireland, Leprechauns are occasionally equated with similar creatures from other cultures. For instance, German speakers may refer to them as "Kobolds" and Portuguese speakers as "Duendes".
Works featuring Leprechauns
- The Faery Convention, by Brett Davis
- Harry Potter series, by J. K. Rowling
- Darby O'Gill and the Little People
- The Last Leprechaun
- Chip'n'Dale Rescue Rangers
- Johnny Bravo
- Martin Mystery
- Lilly the Witch
- Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo
- The Simpsons
- Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
- Heroes of Might and Magic IV