Today, in honor of St. Patricks Day on the 17th, we have an excerpt of our interview with a leprechaun named Perkins. Perkins is the leprechaun that taught Mr E English, and you can find his complete interview in our upcoming book, Interviews From the Fairy Realm, due out this June. –NL
NL: It’s nice to meet you.
Perkins: It’s an honor to meet you too! My name is Perkins. Unfortunately, I sound a lot like your Mr E, but the thing is, I taught him to speak English.
NL: Then, we have the original here!
Perkins: Yes, you have the original. Mr E and his brother came over on a boat from Fyn to Ireland because he heard that I was a teacher of English. That’s why he speaks with an Irish Accent.
He said, “I’ve got to learn the English language or what we planned (working with Susan and Natalie) won’t work at all.” So, he did a lot of classes with me, and we talked together about the ways of our people and came to the conclusion that they are similar but different.
NL: I think Mr E considers leprechauns to be closely related to the elves.
Perkins: Yes, in his mind, I believe he considers us elves. Perhaps an elfling would be closer to how he sees us.
NL: How do you see yourself?
Perkins: Well…I think he’s got it right, yes. We feel like cousins. We do things a little differently because our society is a little different.
NL: Can you tell me about your society? Are your people loners?
Perkins: That is a misconception. (Laughs) Oh my goodness, if my wife heard that one, that would be interesting!
NL: Do you live in cities or towns with other leprechauns?
Perkins: Yes, we do.
NL: That’s interesting, I thought leprechauns commonly lived among many types of beings, but you are saying you live in a separate community with few outsiders.
Perkins: Yes, we pretty much live with other leprechaun kind. We know of other types of beings, and we’re friendly to them, but we don’t live with them.
NL: So, you have a clan, if that’s the right word.
Perkins: You could call it a clan. I would say we live similar to how humans have depicted the hobbit town and community.
NL: Leprechauns are relatively small compared to some other beings. Do you ever worry about your safety or the safety of your community? Grundels are about your size, and they were taken advantage of because of their size and peaceful nature.
Perkins: No one is going to take advantage of us because there’s too many of us and we are all skillful in the use of magic. That’s why we don’t have the same problem as grundels, we defend ourselves with magic. Unfortunately, grundels don’t know magic.
NL: So your village is well defended.
Perkins: Yeah, yeah, we usually have no problems.
NL: What would happen if you did?
Perkins: Now, let’s say Mr. Hobgoblin came walking down our street and wanted to rob everybody. The minute he becomes violent, he won’t just have one leprechaun to deal with, he will be faced with fifty or even a hundred leprechauns or more, as soon as word gets around. We will be coming in from all angles, and the hobgoblin will quickly decide that it just isn’t worth it.
Look at it this way, would you want to put your hand inside of a honeybee hive to get some honey? Will it be worth it when all of those bees know exactly what you are doing and they’re taking action? You may get that honey, but you’re going to come out with a lot of stings.
NL: It’s great that your community works together like that.
Let me ask you another question. Why have leprechauns been associated with a fondness for shoes and shoemaking?
Perkins: They have? Well, that’s true, we love a good pair of shoes.
NL: (laughs) Do you really?
Perkins: Any leprechaun would love a good pair of shoes. If you don’t have a good pair of shoes and you have to go without, life is very hard, especially in the wintertime. So…yes.
NL: Is shoemaking a favorite occupation for a leprechaun?
Perkins: There’s a lot of leprechauns that are shoemakers.
NL: So there is something to this.
Perkins: Well, yes, we admire shoes, and we put a lot of artwork and skill into making them.
NL: Why shoes?
Perkins: I don’t know why. Shoes are just something we picked up and focused on. Maybe we think about our shoes more often than someone who might be a taller person.
NL: (Laughs) Yes, perhaps taller people don’t see them as close up as you might.
Perkins: Yes, when you’re smaller, there’s a lot less distance between your shoe and your face.
NL: That’s funny!
Another common belief about leprechauns is that they like to drink ale and party.
Perkins: Oh constantly, yes, oh my goodness, yes.
NL: So, ale is an important part of your life?
Perkins: It is almost as important as gold.
NL: Wow, are there special ale makers or does everyone make their own?
Perkins: We buy it and drink it in the taverns, but we can also make our own. In fact, families often have their own little twist on it, if they want to tinker in the ale making, you know what I mean?
NL: It sounds like it’s a hobby and a point of pride for them.
Perkins: Yes, it’s like, “Mr. Jones’ ale is great but have you tried McNally’s? Their’s is very smooth going down.” They love to tinker around with it; it’s something, you know, like shoes.(Laughs)
NL: All right, this is my last question. I have heard tales of leprechauns inhabiting human houses, is that true?
Perkins: They do that sometimes, especially if they think the human can’t see them.
NL: I remember a book written by a woman who rented a house in Ireland for the summer. She was visited by a particular leprechaun who came to teach her and increase her awareness of many things.
Perkins: Exactly, that’s because we want humans to hear our view about what is going on out there.
We support The Eight. Notice I didn’t say we were part of The Eight but we support the idea of telling humans what the hell is going on here. It’s like, “hold on, the train’s coming, and there’s a little deer with a hoof caught in the tracks.” You want to get that hoof off the track before the train comes.
NL: Does the deer represent humanity or the world?
Perkins: Humanity, the world will be fine all by itself, no matter what. It’s going to continue to live and move on and regenerate and create other things. Dinosaurs were living here once.
NL: And look what happened to them.
Perkins: Exactly, something happened, and they had to move on, and something else took their place.