When I think of Leprechauns, I think of an annoying character in a cereal commercial, a bad Jennifer Aniston movie, or, more recently, a play I wrote, Enchantment Therapy. Leprechauns are much more than this in Irish folklore.
In Irish folklore, leprechauns were shoemakers and put gold coins in a pot at the end of a rainbow. If you could catch a leprechaun, he would give you three wishes to be set free. Leprechauns are tiny folks and very fast, so good luck catching one. I believe they are brilliant as well.
Leprechauns were not associated with St. Patrick’s Day until much later. In 1959 Walt Disney released a film, Darby O’Gill and the Little People was released close to St. Patrick’s Day. This flick was intended for Ireland, but it was Americans who watched and loved the movie. Americans started associating leprechauns with St. Patrick’s Day, so the leprechaun can now be seen sitting on toadstools, smoking his pipe, and stroking his red beard. In my play, I claim leprechauns are neither male nor female but one gender, choosing the gender which fits best for the situation. Regardless, the leprechaun is an interesting character in folklore but has lost some of his original charms thanks to commercialism and mascot.