Why I Think Leprechauns Aren’t Real

Written by: Erin Yao

By Allegra Kon
First-Grade Teacher, Inspiration to the Masses

That dreaded time of year is now almost upon us. My first-grade class will soon insist on catching a leprechaun in time for St. Patrick’s Day. But year after year, we’re unsuccessful, and this year I’ve had enough. You try telling a classroom full of innocent, optimistic, and borderline violent six-year-olds that the damn leprechaun got away again. I would rather die than disappoint my students. So this time, I’ll make sure my naïve little clovers don’t fall prey to the fatal hope I allowed myself to succumb to last year.

Picture the spring of 2023. I pulled all the stops to prove to myself and my first­-graders that the unbearable faith in our hearts was not a phantom, but a shadow cast by a tangible leprechaun. It was my last hurrah. And it was the last time I would ever let myself be humiliated by a tiny little Irish man, not counting my tumultuous breakup with my ex-boyfriend. I embarked on a solo trip to Dublin, California, with high hopes of healing my soul and catching a leprechaun in his natural habitat. I fashioned an intricate contraption of chocolate coins in a pot, surrounded by a sticky-sweet two‑to‑one ratio of molasses and superglue that would tastefully trap the leprechaun. Its exterior was bright red, not green. A mistake I’d made in the past was using the color green, thinking that it would attract the leprechauns. However, my hours spent in the manuscript archive in the public library revealed to me that leprechauns do not perceive the color at all: green is as clear as glass to them. Knowing this, I was certain my scarlet trap would stand out to a leprechaun.

On St. Patrick’s Day Eve, I set my trap. I even covered myself head-to-toe in green, rendering myself completely invisible to any leprechaun that could pinch me. But the next morning, I awoke, disheartened, unpinched, and in the mood for a full Irish breakfast. When I checked the trap, I was met with a hell of a lot of disappointment and a real ant problem that made me lose my Airbnb safety deposit.

This year, I’m embracing my new identity as a nonbeliever and a real doubting Thomas. It’s obvious that leprechauns aren’t real. My lack of proof of their existence is enough to prove their nonexistence. And it’s not just me who has this problem. None of my colleagues have been successful. Some have had their traps set off, their candy stolen, and their white boards vandalized by permanent markers, yet none of them have caught a single leprechaun. I will not let my smoke-and-mirrors, unattainable desire fool me into trying to grasp the reflection of the moon. My first-graders will just have to find something else to believe in.

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