Leprechauns have a reputation for many things.
Some say they bring good luck.
Others say that they’re tricksters meant to punish greed.
One of the main characteristics associated with leprechauns is a pot of gold.
They’re known to be wealthy and to hoard their wealth.
You may wonder how these fairy creatures became so rich in the first place.
Here’s what you need to know about leprechauns and how they earn their gold.
How Do Leprechauns Earn Their Gold?
Leprechauns earn their gold through their cobbler services.
Not everyone knows that leprechauns work in the shoe-making trade.
As cobblers, they make all sorts of shoes for fairy creatures.
In particular, their biggest customers are fairies, themselves.
Leprechauns have the skills and fashion sense to make incredible shoes for them.
Since they’re both tiny creatures, leprechauns are able to easily make a shoe that fits.
In return for their services, the fairies pay them in gold.
Some also believe that leprechauns trick their way into earning more gold.
For example, they might place bets with other leprechauns, other fairy creatures, or even humans.
Because they’re tricky and crafty by nature, the bet usually goes in their favor.
This allows them to grow their gold collection even further.
Finally, there’s a good chance that leprechauns also find their gold.
They tend to live underground and inside trees.
With all that underground living, it’s only a matter of time before they discover buried treasure.
Leprechauns earn gold by making shoes for fairies, tricking others into giving them gold, and discovering it for themselves.
What Is A Cobbler?
Many believe that cobblers were makers of shoes, but that wasn’t always the case.
Back in medieval Europe, you could seriously insult someone by calling them a cobbler.
In those days, there were two distinct professions.
Cobblers repaired and mended shoes.
Shoemakers, who were also known as cordwainers, made the shoes.
Shoemakers were able to work with new leather while cobblers were not.
In fact, it was illegal for cobblers to work with new leather.
They had to use old leather to repair shoes.
Only artisans could become shoemakers.
Besides serving a practical function, shoes also tended to display one’s status and wealth.
By owning many shoes made from expert artisans and fine materials, you were telling the world that you were wealthy.
The poor were lucky to own shoes at all, and they were the ones who primarily sought the services of a cobbler to keep their old shoes going.
In modern days, the word cobbler has now expanded to the creation of shoes.
That change occurred during the industrial revolution.
Shoes started to undergo mass production, which meant shoemakers were a dime a dozen.
They essentially lost out on jobs.
They had to start taking on repair jobs, like cobblers, at lower prices to make ends meet.
Thus, the term cobbler expanded to both repairing and making shoes.
It’s this modern version of the word that applies to leprechauns.
They both repair and make shoes for fairies.
What Are The Characteristics Of A Leprechaun?
While some aspects of the leprechaun are well-known, some characteristics may still be a mystery to you.
Here are some characteristics of a leprechaun.
1. Pot Of Gold
One of the most famous characteristics of a leprechaun is a pot of gold.
Every leprechaun has one.
They also all hide them.
Leprechauns hide their pots of gold away in difficult-to-reach places, dangerous places, or just places that are hard to find.
Because leprechauns live in trees or underground, many think that their pots of gold are in similar places.
That isn’t always the case.
Some hide them deep beneath the ocean or lakes.
Others may hide them at the peaks of mountains.
Some may even have guards who patrol the area and keep the pot of gold safe.
Finding a pot of gold on your own is practically impossible.
The only sure way to get a leprechaun’s pot of gold is to force them to take you to it.
They won’t do so voluntarily, however.
They usually ask you to solve a riddle first.
Some will challenge you to defeat the beast that guards their pot.
Others may simply trick you.
Leprechauns guard their pots of gold as fiercely as a dragon does its treasure hoard.
They’ll do anything in their power to protect it.
They add to their gold reserves whenever they make or repair shoes for fairies or other fae creatures.
If you can find a leprechaun who’s just received pay, then you may be able to follow them to their hideout when they add their gold to their stash.
2. Symbols Of Luck
Leprechauns have a close relationship with the term, “The luck of the Irish.”
According to lore, if you manage to capture a leprechaun, you’ll be lucky for a short time.
Part of that luck is that you receive three wishes that the leprechaun has to grant.
Leprechauns are not unlike genies, however, who try to distort your wishes to benefit themselves instead of you.
When making your wish, you need to be as direct and specific as possible.
If you leave a loophole, then they will definitely exploit it.
That’s why some people might not feel as lucky when it comes to capturing a leprechaun.
To the untrained or unknowing, the leprechaun can easily take advantage of them.
That said, leprechauns have a close association with four-leaf clovers and other symbols of luck.
It’s not uncommon to see them wearing green clothes that have a shamrock or four-leaf clover on them.
Some artists even depict leprechauns with homes filled with four-leaf clovers.
Leprechauns are lucky but only to those who know how to beat them at their own games.
Besides having a pot of gold and working for fairies, leprechauns have a reputation for being tricksters.
While they’re not malicious, if they feel threatened, then they will try to trick you to let them escape from danger.
Most often, they like to give riddles or challenges.
If you can solve their riddles or complete their challenges, then they can become frustrated, but they’ll grudgingly help you.
Keep in mind, however, that they’re still always looking for a way out of the situation.
Some mythology experts believe that leprechauns are actually here to punish the greedy.
If someone comes looking to steal their hard-earned gold, then it only makes sense that they’d punish them for it.
Leprechauns can lead greedy individuals astray.
They may become lost in the woods or, even worse, find themselves confronted by a dangerous creature.
Leprechauns serve as a reminder that greed can have dire consequences for those in pursuit of it.
Although leprechauns are hard to see, they’re not that hard to hear.
They’re notoriously noisy.
When walking through a forest or glade, you may hear some odd noises that can indicate that there’s a leprechaun nearby.
For one, you can usually hear the sounds of a cobbler working.
That might mean hearing a hammer at work or the stretching of leather.
They’re also known to listen to traditional Irish music.
They’ll dance jigs or play the fiddle themselves.
If you come across such sounds while traveling through the forests of Ireland, then you may be near a leprechaun home.
5. Green Clothes
Leprechauns are also known for their green clothes.
This wasn’t always the case, however.
According to their original myths, they actually wore red clothes.
They even wore hats.
As the centuries passed and leprechauns began to become more associated with Ireland as a whole, they adopted Ireland’s colors.
In particular, they adopted the color of the Irish shamrock.
Since then, it’s difficult to find a leprechaun not wearing green clothes.
They also all happen to dress similarly.
They usually wear white shirts with a green vest over them.
A large, green, jacket rests over that.
They also have matching green pants.
Some leprechauns wear green hats while others don’t.
Some also have shamrocks on their clothes while others just wear plain green clothes.
Whether they’re wearing green or red, if you see a fairy-like creature running away from you, then it’s a good chance that it’s a leprechaun.
6. Tiny Stature
One of the reasons that leprechauns are difficult to find is that they’re small.
The origin of their name, luchorpán, actually means small body.
It suggests that the creature, in question, had a small form.
They were tiny.
The myths often differ on how tiny they actually were.
Some claim they could fit in the palm of one’s hand.
Others say that they were more like modern conceptions of mythical dwarves that came up to your knee.
Since they’re similar to fairies, who are also quite tiny, it’s more likely that leprechauns are small enough to fit in your palm.
This also explains why they’re able to live inside of tree trunks.
A single tree could house an entire colony of leprechauns.
If you’re unable to spot a leprechaun while visiting Ireland, then it’s probably because they were too small for you to notice.
7. No Female Leprechauns
Throughout the myths, there is never any mention of female leprechauns.
At the very least, the original myths and legends never describe a female leprechaun.
This suggests that either there aren’t any female leprechauns or that male and female leprechauns look the same.
If there aren’t any female leprechauns, then one might wonder how they reproduce.
If they don’t reproduce at all, then it might explain why they’re so hard to find today.
There may have been several hunts for them throughout history.
The leprechauns all died out or hunters captured and killed them.
Without no means of making more, they’re either extinct or extremely rare to find.
If male and female leprechauns look the same, then there’s a chance that you might catch and talk to a leprechaun without realizing that it’s a female.
This then begs the question of what baby and child leprechauns look like.
8. Old Man Appearance
The original myths and legends describe leprechauns as looking like old men.
They have wrinkled, wise faces and long beards.
Sometimes their beards are white and sometimes they’re red.
Universally, leprechauns are old-looking.
The only exception is Lucky from Lucky Charms.
Now and then, there are some pop culture appearances in movies and TV Shows, too, that show younger-looking leprechauns.
However, traditionally, they look like old men.
9. Leprechauns Are A Hybrid
Leprechauns have a slightly confusing origin.
Some myths claim that leprechauns came from the water.
They were sprites who eventually moved to land and started living underground and inside of trees.
Other legends say that a leprechaun is the child of two other mythological creatures.
They state that one of those creatures was water sprites who lived in the water.
They eventually came to shore and had children with another mythological creature that haunted cellars and drank a lot.
Through their intermingling, the leprechaun was born.
It had the same affinity for nature as the sprite and the same mischievousness and penchant for drinking from the cellar fairy.
Whichever creation myth is correct, leprechauns didn’t have a standard origin story.
Speaking of drinking, leprechauns also tend to drink a lot.
In particular, they enjoy Guinness and other Irish-brewed alcoholic libations.
While there are cousins of leprechauns who drink more, leprechauns, themselves, are notorious drinkers.
They especially like to drink on St. Patrick’s Day, but they can enjoy a good brew at any time.
Some believe that if you offer a leprechaun a drink, then they might be more willing to show you their pot of gold.
That said, they might also use it to lure you into a sense of certainty that you caught them.
Then they might turn your expectations on your head and run away.
Regardless, you can sometimes find leprechauns singing Irish ballads while drinking.
Are Leprechauns Friendly?
Considering the characteristics above, you may wonder if leprechauns are friendly or not.
That mostly depends on your intentions with them.
If you just want to talk with them or share a drink with them, then they’re likely going to be quite friendly with you.
They can tell you tales of the old country and of the mysterious fairy creatures that walk the earth hidden.
However, if you’re after their gold or want to force them to give you three wishes, then they’re not going to be that happy.
While they won’t try to kill you, they will try to trick you into hurting yourself.
Their deceptions may even be deadly.
Trusting a leprechaun if you’re after their gold or wishes isn’t a good idea.
Even if you’re on friendly terms, because they’re fairies, they sometimes can’t control their mischievous natures.
They might pose a riddle to you all the same.
Like any other mythological creature, if you intend to cause them harm, then they can harm you back.
However, when it comes to the leprechaun, you should always have your wits about you.
Leprechauns always have a pot of gold stashed somewhere.
They earn their gold by creating and repairing shoes for fairies.
It’s a very lucrative career in the fairy world.
Finding their pots of gold isn’t easy and can sometimes end in deadly or dangerous circumstances.
In most cases, you should always be wary of a leprechaun.