DLTK's Holiday Activities for Kids:  An Irish Fairy Tale
Molly Murphy and the Scorched Leprechaun

Contributed by Tasha Guenther and Leanne Guenther

There was once a farmer named John Joe Murphy who lived with his wife on a hill.  They lived within ten miles walking distance from the nearest town of Thurles in the County of Tipperary; also, they had a daughter named Molly. 

Now, Molly Murphy – or as the kids in school called her, ‘Molly-Coddle’ – was a grumpy little girl.  Not only was she hotheaded and fussy, she also had a short attention span and no patience at all.  The more the kids in school teased her, the crankier Molly got.  And the crankier Molly got, the more the kids in school teased her.

mushrooms photo by alfonsobenayas - Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
photo by alfonsobenayas, Wikimedia Commons

Whenever Molly was in a terrible mood (which was almost always), she would stomp over the hundreds of mushrooms that lay along the sides of her pathway on her way home.

One day, Molly had the most terrible day at school.  As she walked home, she traipsed and stomped and plodded the ground beneath her.  Along with her stomps and thumps came the destruction of the hundreds of pretty mushroom caps.

Unbeknownst to Molly, a small little leprechaun had just happened to be nearby on this particular ‘mushroom-stomping’ day. 

Now, something needs to be said about leprechauns:  throughout Ireland, it is known far and wide that one should never, ever anger a leprechaun – for although leprechauns are mostly friendly little fellows they don't mind teaching hard lessons to cranky humans.

After seeing Molly Murphy stomping on the beautiful mushroom caps, this particular leprechaun became very irritated. 

“What d’ye think yer doin,’ miss?” the leprechaun said finally, appearing from behind a shrub. 

Molly turned slightly and stared back at the leprechaun, frowning.  She jumped up as high as she could and came down with a THUMP!!  Several mushroom caps flew up into the air. 

The leprechaun approached closer.  “For Pete’s peppers, miss.  Would ye please stop that stampin’ n’ stompin’?” he asked. 

As the little man approached closer, Molly Murphy quickly ran over to him and scooped him up, holding him by his little green collar. 

“I have no patience for you, you strange little man.  Where is the pot of gold everyone talks about?  If I show the kids at school a real pot of gold, they'll all want to be friends with me.  Show it to me.” Molly demanded.

“Are ye sure it's really gold ye be needin', miss?" asked the leprechaun.

"Now!" screeched Molly, ignoring the leprechaun's question.

"Oh woe is me!  There is no pot o’ gold, miss.  Oh, but if there was… " the leprechaun glowered at Molly, "if there was, ye’d be the last ta know actin' all snarky like this!” he exclaimed as he tried to wriggle free.  

Molly glowered right back at the poor leprechaun, “Oh woe is me, he says!  Snarky, he says!!  Hmph!  I will find that pot of gold; and you WILL help me or else.”

Then, Molly Murphy walked ten miles home with the leprechaun swinging helplessly in her grip. 

When Molly arrived home she entered her kitchen and was happy to see a large pot of boiling water sitting on the stove.  With a nasty grin, she dipped the leprechaun’s feet in the water. 

“Y’ouch!!  Y’ouch!!  Stop that this instant!  Yer scorchin' my brand new shoes” the poor leprechaun cried. “Fine, enough, ye’ll find the gold where ye first found me!” he exclaimed. 

At the sound of the commotion, Molly’s mother entered the kitchen in a panic.  She saw Molly holding the leprechaun and shouted:  “Get out of the kitchen, Molly!  You know the rules… Absolutely no leprechauns allowed in the kitchen!”

Leprechaun children's storyLeprechaun still in hand, Molly was shooed out of the kitchen by her mother.  Molly fiddled to open the front door and, as she did so, the little man in green managed to wiggle free and scurry away, out of sight, singing:

Though ye asked for pots of gold,
That isn't what yer after.
Ye would be much better served,
By love and friends and laughter!

Molly shrugged, "I don't need that silly leprechaun anymore.  It's the pot of gold I need to find!" So Molly ignored the leprechaun's escape and ran to the shed to grab her father’s lucky shovel. 

As she approached the shed, two small dragonflies – one red, one blue – flew in front of her.  They whizzed around her face, buzzed in her ear and tickled her nose with their wings.  

Avoiding the dragonflies’ fluttering attention, Molly grabbed the shovel and ran out of the shed, down the hill.  She ran ten miles back to town to where she had first encountered the leprechaun. 

Once she approached the path surrounded by hundreds of mushrooms, Molly searched behind the large shrub where the leprechaun had first appeared.  She found a suitable spot for digging and began to work.

Molly dug and dug and dug some more.  She dug so deep that the top of her head could barely be seen when she stood inside the hole.

Dusk had begun to surround Molly when she finally stopped for a rest.  It quickly became so dark and Molly became so tired that she felt as though she would be forced to stay in the hole all night -- and that kind of scared her. 

Just as tears started to well up in her eyes, Molly Murphy heard the familiar buzzing of the dragonflies from earlier in the day.  The two small dragonflies – one red, one blue – flew in front of her.  They whizzed around her face, buzzed in her ear, and tickled her nose with their wings.  

Molly dried her eyes, climbed up out of the hole and followed the little dragonflies who, luckily, led Molly home safely.  Though she was dirty and tired, Molly didn't traipse or plod or stomp on a single mushroom along the way and was very happy when she arrived back home safe and sound. 

The next day John Joe Murphy noticed how strange Molly was acting.  She was actually laughing as she played in the yard, chasing around two little dragonflies – one red, one blue. 

Over the next few weeks on the way to school, when the children made fun of her Molly was too busy giggling and playing with the dragonflies to pay any attention and after a little while no one bothered to tease her.

Every so often, Molly would still get frustrated by the events of her day but instead of mushroom-stomping when she was grumpy, Molly would grab her father's lucky shovel, walk out to the backyard, wave hello to her flying friends and then plop herself down in the dirt along the back road.  Then Molly would dig a hole and fill it back up -- over and over until she was tired and dirty and not feeling so cranky anymore. 

John Joe noticed his daughter's odd habit of digging holes in the backyard and decided to put it to good use.  He showed Molly how to plant flower bulbs in the holes before she filled them back up.  Soon her two little dragonfly friends had clumps of nodding daffodils to flutter around in and Molly Murphy had a most beautiful garden -- of gold.

The End.


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About the Author:

My name is Tasha Guenther.  I currently live in British Columbia, Canada while I finish my undergraduate degree in English Honours with a concentration in English literature.  I enjoy writing short stories and non-fiction pieces for grade school children.   Learn more about me here or connect with me on my blog, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.