Leprechaun: Fact or Fiction?

What Exactly is a Leprachaun?

A leprechaun is a type of fairy in Irish folklore. He is usually perceived as a little old man that causes mischief. The word leprechaun is derived from the Irish word “leipreachán,” defined by Patrick Dinneen as “a pigmy, a sprite, or leprechaun.”

The first reference to leprechauns was made in a medieval story  titled, “The Echtra Fergus mac Léti (Adventure of Fergus son of Léti).  The story tells of Fergus mac Léti, King of Ulster, falls asleep on the beach and wakes to find himself being dragged into the sea by three leprechauns. His abductors, then  grant him three wishes in exchange for release.

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The leprechaun is desribed as a creature who likes to be alone. He is mischievous and a practical joker.  According to David Russell McAnally, the author of,Irish Wonders The Ghosts, Giants, Pooka, Demons, Leprechawns, Banshees, Fairies, Witches, Widows, Old Maids, and other Marvels of the Emerald Isle,” the leprechaun is the son of an “evil spirit” and a “degenerate fairy” and is “not wholly good nor wholly evil”.

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