Brady O’Grady awoke in a haze. His eyes had difficulty opening up at first, and focus was not coming easily. His body felt like a stone, unable to move.
“Me thinks I drank up a bit too much of the ale last night,” he said to himself.
He noticed the brightness of the sky above his head and wondered where he was. Although it wouldn’t be the first time he woke up in a strange place, this seemed a bit different somehow.
As he became somewhat more alert, he rolled over, and realized he was lying in a large puddle of mud. He turned to his other side and noticed a large empty pot. He forced his eyes to open bigger so he could focus more clearly. This was his pot! One of his valuable pots of gold, but, there was no gold!
“Holy mackerel! Me pot is empty!” he shouted. “I’ve lost me gold!”
He began to panic, wondering what events had come about causing him to wake up this way. He was suddenly wide awake and as he scoured his surroundings, he realized he was in a hole; A very large, very deep hole!
“Oh me, oh my, this is not good at all!” he said in a fretting voice.
He sat wondering for a moment, trying to arrange his thoughts, trying to remember the circumstances that led him to this well in the ground, and where was the gold that empty pot once held!
“Let's see, I left me cobbler’s shop ‘round five. I went straight over to the Lucky Shamrock Inn across the road. I had me some fine green ale and started chatting it up with a lovely maiden. What was her name?” he wondered.
Brady began to put a few of the pieces in place to cover the beginning of the previous evening. He just wasn’t able to quite remember all of it.
“What to do now, what to do…” he pondered, tapping his finger on his cheek.
“Help! Uh, help! Can anyone hear me?” he yelled up to the rim of the hole.
He waited for somebody to respond. Then, he heard a soft laugh.
“Hellooooooo!” He yelled.
The soft voice laughed again, a woman’s voice then said “No one can hear your puny voice little man!”
“Who’s there? Who is up there? Help me out of here!” he pleaded.
Then, he saw a beautiful read-haired woman peak over the edge of the hole. “You are exactly where you belong Trickster!” she said.
Brady thought for a moment, wondering what he could have possibly done to deserve this mockery.
“Kind maiden, may I ask what it is you are referring to?” he asked.
The red-haired woman laughed boisterously, tipping her head back in malevolent delight.
“Please miss, you see that I am at a slight disadvantage, being stuck in this hole.” He said.
The red-haired woman scoffed, “stop with your lies Leprechaun! You are getting your due!”
Right away Brady knew that this woman knew something about him. He wondered if she was the woman he had shared green beer with the night before at the Lucky Shamrock Inn.
“What’s wrong little man? You look confused, do you not recognize me?” she asked.
“Well Mum, I am having just a bit of trouble remembering things at the moment,” he replied.
Suddenly, she waved her arms in the air, and swirling around her head were sparkling, swirling glitters of light. The wind began to churn above her head, and there was thunder clapping off in the distance. Brady’s eyes opened wide as he observed the magic taking place above him! The woman threw her cape over her face, and when she brought it back down, there appeared a short, squatty, pot-bellied Troll!
A loud cackle came out of the Troll’s mouth, with his wide grin and missing teeth, “do you remember me now Leprechaun?” he asked.
Brady felt his throat become very dry, and he gulped a dry gulp.
“Tis YOU!” He bellowed.
“Hehehehe yesssss, ‘tis I, you thieving little twit! I have been waiting for this chance to finally get back what is due me!” Troll hissed.
…Brady thought back, to two years prior. He had been walking through the forest and had come upon a bridge. He knew Trolls would sometimes guard the bridges, but since he saw none of them lurking about, he proceeded to begin to cross over. When he was about halfway across the bridge, out sprang a Troll from beneath. Brady was quite surprised, but he remained cool.
“Pay the toll or ye may NOT PASS!” barked the Troll.
Brady spoke calmly in an effort to negotiate, “oh my, I’m afraid you have caught me at a slight disadvantage Sir, however, if you let me pass, I will grant ye THREE wishes!” He smiled with an evil grin.
The troll thought about the Leprechauns offer and looked at him with suspicion. “Three wishes ye say?”
“Why, yes, three wishes for ye, one, two, three! Just allow me to cross and they shall be yours!” said Brady.
The two stood at the center of the bridge staring at one another; The Troll contemplating a very intriguing offer, and the Leprechaun hoping his diabolical plan would actually work.
“Well, I’ve tasted Leprechaun before and they aren’t very good! Very well! I shall let ye pass and ye shall grant my three wishes!” agreed the Troll.
“Excellent,” said Brady. He smiled and began to walk to the other end of the bridge.
Troll followed him, and as Brady got to the end of the bridge he quickly slipped beneath the bridge out of Troll’s sight!
Troll ran as quickly as his short legs would carry him, and when he rounded the corner of the pillar and looked beneath the bridge, the Leprechaun had all but disappeared!
“BLAST! He tricked ME! That little rat will get what is coming to him one day!” cursed Troll shaking his stumpy fist…
Brady looked up at Troll from the bottom of the hole, “well Sir, it appears as though you have finally caught me! I understand your need for revenge, but, I still have one, two, three wishes I can grant ye. All you have to do is help me get out of this hole.”
Troll screeched out a laugh that sounded like a hundred cats crying all at once, “Ye will NEVER leave the confines of that hole! Ye will trick no others from here on! I need NO WISHES! I have all of your GOLD!”
The Leprechaun thought for a bit, trying to see if he would be able to outsmart the Troll once again.
“Well Sir, I can get ye triple the amount of gold, yesss… All I need is to get out of this hole and I can take you to it! It will all be yours, I can show ye where it is!” Brady pleaded.
“Really?” asked Troll, “how many other pots of gold might ye be hiding?”
“Two, two more pots of gold Sir!” Brady replied.
The troll appeared convinced. Brady thought to himself that he had won once again.
Troll threw a rope down into the pit, and Brady climbed up the rope and was finally out of the hole.
“Now, show me where the other two pots of gold are hidden Leprechaun!” Troll commanded.
Brady began to lead the Troll towards a rainbow a few yards away. When they reached the end of the rainbow, Brady ran behind it and disappeared, leaving the Troll there alone. The Troll called out in a roar, “Leprechaun! Your trickery only works once! Hehehe!”
Brady stayed hidden beyond the rainbow and thought he would be safe there. He looked for a pot of gold he had hidden, but, there was none there! He became quite perplexed and wondered how his stash of gold had somehow vanished! He peeked out from behind the rainbow, and did not see the Troll, so he quietly snuck away to his last treasure location.
A few miles away, behind the end of another rainbow, Brady sought his last pot of gold. He looked and looked, but, there was nothing! This was quite distressing to Brady, he could not understand how he could have lost not one, not two, but now, a third pot of gold!
He started to make his way back to the town and came to a bridge. He did not remember this particular bridge before, and this made him very suspicious. He looked all around to see if there might be a better direction he could go in, but, he had ventured so far out of his territory he was unsure how else to get home other than to go across this bridge. The river beneath it was quite wide and looked very treacherous, there would be no other way!
Brady slowly began to cross the bridge. All at once the Troll appeared before him, as if out of nowhere!
“Ye may not pass without paying the TOLL!” screeched Troll!
“Hehehe,” giggled Brady, “I owe ye some gold Sir, I am very sorry we had a misunderstanding back there! May I please cross so that I may get ye your gold?”
“NO misunderstanding! You have NO GOLD!” said Troll in a low taunting voice.
All at once the trees started blowing furiously, the sky became dark, and thunder began to clap in the distance.
Troll pulled his cape over his face and sparkling, glittering lights swirled above his head, and as the cape lowered, Brady saw it was the red-headed woman, so much more beautiful than he had remembered!
“Ma’lady” said Brady, slightly bowing, “If I may, please allow me to cross the bridge and I will give you all of my gold.”
“You have NO GOLD!” said the woman sternly. “You have already given it all away you FOOL!” as she laughed like a cackling hen!
“Wh-what you say Miss?” Brady sounded worried.
The woman told Brady his fate:
“You arrogant little twit! Thinking a few glasses of green ale could sway an innocent girl as myself! You have done nothing your entire life other than to lie and deceive others! The Troll hired me almost two years ago to find you, and make you pay your TOLL! Well, your TOLL was PAST DUE, and there was interest to pay as well! You only needed to think you could keep company with me, and that gave me my opportunity to put the magic into your glass of ale! You gave me every ounce of your gold last night, all but for a promise that I would lay down beside ye!”
Brady had a flash of memory go through his head. The woman had somehow hexed him at the Lucky Shamrock Inn when she showed him a shiny amulet hanging around her neck! He remembered nothing after that; She must have put a potion into his ale!
She continued, “You have been cursed, and shall never trick another! Your gold has been dispersed among all of the Trolls, and all of my fellow Witches! You will remain a small insignificant man, a lonely cobbler, and a drunk for the rest of your pathetic life! Hahahahahahaha!!”
All at once she disappeared in a cloud of purple smoke! The river disappeared, as did the bridge, and Brady O’Grady fell to the ground in one pounce!
Brady remained a poor cobbler and the town drunk for the rest of his days. Even Saint Patrick himself would never be able to break such a spell!
Story by Patricia
(Photos Courtesy of: pixabay and wikimedia commons)