In honor of St Patrick’s Day, I’m reposting my 10-min play “What the Leprechaun Said”
WHAT THE LEPRECHAUN SAID
At rise, the set is dressed as the Irish seashore, up stage left (USL) should have a large boulder large enough for two men to lay against. Down stage right (DSR) should have a small boulder. A large man, FERGUS MAC LETI, enters. He is dressed in traditional Gaelic attire: a long-sleeved, thigh length tunic, a long black cloak, a belt around his waist, a brooch on his shoulder, and boots. A large sword is strapped to his back. Fergus looks around the setting and yawns, stretching. Fergus is joined by MUENA, his servant, who is dressed similar to Fergus.
Fergus: Ack, it’s been a long day and sleep is calling my name.
Muena: Your highness, are you sure it is wise to sleep here in the open?
Fergus: Bah, you worry too much Muena, Ireland is finally at peace, what harm could come to us here?
Muena: King Fergus, you still have enemies scattered throughout the land. If one should stumble upon us…
Fergus: You worry too much lad, (slapping Muena on the back) besides, if we don’t sleep and we do stumble across an enemy, we’ll be as worthless as the day is long!
Muena: But my Lord, what about the fair folk? The sprites, and dwarves, and such?
Fergus: I spit on the fair folk and all their like. They would have let us tear the land apart with war and reclaimed it for themselves. If they dare raise a hand against me, I’ll bash their heads in too! Now come lad (slapping Muena on the back again) it’s time for a rest.
Fergus finds a spot USL and settles down against the boulder, closes his eyes and immediately falls asleep, snoring quite loudly. Muena looks around nervously. He even walks to the down center stage and peers into the great depth of the ocean. Satisfied that no one is out to get them, he moves upstage and settles down next to Fergus and goes to sleep as well.
As they sleep, the first Leprechaun, ARGYLE, enters. He is wearing a RED coat (not green) with gold trim and seven rows of buttons with seven buttons to each row, green leggings, and shoes with buckles. He enters with a flourish, flips or walking on his hands, something similar. He moves to DSR and begins to poke around the boulder, finally pulling out a small crock of gold. He settles against this boulder and begins to count his gold. That’s when he spies Fergus and Muena.
Agryle: Ack, what’s this? Thieves and brigands out to seal my gold!
He moves up stage and pokes Fergus, who snores louder and turns, almost spooning with Muena in the process and mumbling something in his sleep.
Argyle: No, not a thief, a thief wouldn’t dare snore so loud. A traveler perhaps, wandered here and decided to take a rest. FOOL (Argyle smacks the back of Fergus’ head), don’t you know the kings of men war and fight? This is no place to nap!
Argyle moves to stage right, and calls off stage
Argyle: Seamus! Chanuncey! Get out here, I need yer help
Two other leprechauns enter SR, SEAMUS and CHANUNCEY. They are dressed identical to Argyle.
Seamus: What have ye found Argyle?
Chanuncey: (pointing at Fergus and Muena) MEN! Come to steal from us!
Seamus: Or bring their war to our shores!
Argyle: I thought so too Chanuncey, but they are the most foolish humans I’ve ever seen. Look how they sleep. I can poke the fat one and he never wakes up.
Seamus: I don’t believe you.
Argyle: Try for yourself.
Seamus and Chanuncey each take turns poking and kicking at Fergus, who never stops snoring, only responds with grunts and half-hearted, sleepy swats.
Seamus: What should we do with them?
Chanuncey: Kill them.
Argyle: For once I agree with Chanuncey, the best thing we can do is rid ourselves of these fools. If they stay here, more men may come and find our horde of gold. Or they could bring their war to us and force us to fight their battles for them. The best thing to do is kill them.
Seamus: Which one do we start with then?
Argyle: The right one, look he carries a sword, that makes him the greater threat.
Seamus: Fine, but how?
Chanuncy: We drag him to the sea and let the loch take him away.
Seamus and Argyle nod and the three of them grab Fergus’ legs and start to drag him to the water’s edge. When he’s almost to the edge, Fergus’ wakes up and starts to struggle.
Fergus: (roaring) WHAT IS THIS! LET ME GO YOU DAMNABLE CLURICHAUN!
Seamus: We’re not Clurichaun, we’re leprechaun!
Fergus: Then let me go you damnable leprechaun!
Fergus continues to struggle and manages to grab all three of his intended murders and holds them close to him in his arms.
Argyle: Let us go!
Fergus: Never! I’ll kill you, like you tried to kill me!
Fergus starts to drag them to the water.
Chanuncy: STOP! Don’t kill us and we’ll..
Fergus: You’ll what?
Argyle: We’ll grant you a wish.
Fergus: (stopping) A wish you say?
Seamus: Yes, anything you want.
Fergus: (Looking at the sea thoughtfully and then pulling off his cloak) I want you to enchant this so that it allows me to breath underwater.
Chanuncy: You want to breath underwater? Why?
Fergus: So that no sprite, pixie, dwarf, Clurichaun, or leprechaun can ever do this to me again.
The three leprechauns huddle together and whisper, nodding, shaking heads, arguing silently. Finally they break the huddle and nod.
Argyle: Fine. (He spreads the cloak on the ground and begins to waves his hands over it) Tuatha Dé Danann
Chanuncy: Enchant this cloak and let its wearer breath in the waters of every Loch.
Fergus, satisfied reaches for his cloak and slips it back on his shoulders. Argyle quickly grabs the hem.
Argyle: Except for Loch Rudraige.
Fergus: (roaring) What have you done!
Seamus: What we said we’d do.
Chanuncy: You can breath in every loch and under every body of water except this one.
Argyle: Loch Rudraige.
Seamus: (confused) Because that’s who we are and that’s what we do. You didn’t expect us to grant you a wish without condition did you?
Argyle: (a beat, waiting for an answer from Fergus, which doesn’t come) He DID!
Chanuncy: Foolish man, don’t you know that the leprechaun are tricksters and pranksters?
Seamus: We don’t mind you bothering our kin and cousins, but we don’t want to see you HERE again.
Fergus: (grumbling, walks over to Muena) Wake up Muena, it’s time to go.
Muena: (waking up to see the three leprechaun’s laughing and rolling) What…are those leprechaun?
Fergus: Yes. But ignore them, we need to go.
Muena: But why my liege?
Fergus: I don’t want to talk about it. (dragging Muena toward SL)
Muena: Fergus? You didn’t make a deal with them or allow them to grant you a wish did you?
Fergus: I don’t want to talk about it.
Muena: Because if you did, they’ll trick you every time.
Fergus: (as they exit) I SAID I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT!
The story of Fergus mac Leti contains one of the earliest references to leprechauns and displays their more trickster nature and is a story I wasn’t real familiar with until I started brainstorming ideas for this blog and thought it was wonderfully theatrical. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing this.