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The farmer the potatoes.., p.1
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       The farmer, the potatoes and the leprechaun, p.1

           Amanda Mayer-Thilwind
 
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The farmer, the potatoes and the leprechaun
The farmer, the potatoes and the leprechaun

  “I’m not sure this is a good idea Seamus,” the farmer looked at the full jugs in front of him suspiciously.

  “‘Tis what we have been working fer, yer being an idiot Daniel me dear friend!”

  Daniel looked over at the pile of potatoes that hadn’t quite made it in time to be invested in the workings of the still. On the other side were the jugs, full to brimming with a clear liquid that looked like water but Daniel was convinced that, knowing Seamus as he did, would be absolutely nothing like it. Seamus stood grinning from ear to ear, as he did. His bright blue eyes sat upon his apple red cheeks, as they did. The purple feather on his tri-corn hat bobbed around with each nod of his head, as it did.

  “Are yer not trusting me Daniel?”

  “Not very much,“ Daniel answered. He scratched at his head in his most pondering pose and wondered even more than ever how he had managed to get himself into this situation. He thought of his wife, Ruth, and how she would be most sincerely displeased at the time Daniel had wasted with Seamus on his moonshine, as the little man had continued to assure him that it would be worth the work and the wait.

  “I is cut to the quick,“ Seamus pouted.

  “The pout won’t work Seamus, you aren’t exactly known for keeping people out of trouble.”

  “’Tis hardly a fair thing yer be saying bout me,’ Seamus continued to pout. ‘Why me granddaddy used to say that if yer can’t trust the man then yer can’t be trusting his lettuce leaf.”

  “What?” Daniel shook his head trying desperately not to be drawn into the conversation.

  “A lettuce leaf,” Seamus mumbled. “If yer can’t be trusting a lettuce leaf of all things Daniel, well, what kind of man are yer being?”

  “I didn’t say I didn’t trust a lettuce leaf.”

  “So yer do trust me then?”

  “I didn’t say that either.”

  “Well I am shocked Daniel, shocked!” Seamus tutted a while, looked over at the potato pile, looked down at his feet, tutted again, sucked his teeth, shuffled his feet, tutted and then looked up at Daniel.

  “Yer know what yer getting with a lettuce leaf Daniel, may not be anything outstanding, but where would yer be without it? Before yer know it, yer be back to the cabbages and yer not wanting that are yer?”

  “Definitely not,” Daniel stated firmly.

  “Good man,” Seamus stated equally as firmly. “Then we are decided.”

  “I didn’t decide anything,” Daniel retorted.

  “So now we are back to not deciding! Be Jeezus Daniel, ‘tis only a bit of the poteen, t’will not be killing yer!”

  “Can you guarantee it?”

  “Never guarantee a thing unless it be the Powers That Be that gave yer the guarantee that it could be guaranteed.”

  “Especially if a leprechaun is asked to guarantee it in the first place.”

  “Now yer making aspersions about me race Daniel, I be not impressed with that. Uncle Cormac once said ‘’Tis those that asperse that are most likely to have been aspersed of’.”

  “You just made that up.”

  “I did have an Uncle Cormac, how dare yer be saying I made him up!”

  “Did he say that?”

  “Did he say what?”

  “About the asper…asper…the asper word about race?”

  “A spur? Aye he did. ‘Twas the summer of ‘72 and the annual Kilkenny horse race was ter be run. Uncle Cormac was riding his donkey….”

  “Why was he riding a donkey at a horse race?”

  “What else would yer be expecting him to ride?”

  Daniel looked at Seamus suspiciously.

  “Well, I was thinking he would be riding a horse.”

  “Daniel me man,” Seamus shook his head sadly. “I find it hard to find meself believing that yer such a narrow minded person as yer is turning out ter be.”

  Daniel sighed hard and resigning himself to the inevitable, sat down. For the first time during the conversation he looked eye to eye at the leprechaun, whose eyes were sparkling with joy and anticipation at Daniels next words.

  “Ok, so if I accept that in the summer of ‘72...”

  “72?”

  “You said ‘72.”

  “Did I now?”

  “Yes you did.”

  “Well maybe it was ‘72.”

  Daniel sighed heavier than he did before.

  “So in the summer of ‘72 your Uncle Cormac was riding a donkey in the Kilkenny annual horse race?”

  “Yer amaze me, yer actually paying attention….fer once!”

  “Yes I’m listening, but what does that have to do with what I said about your race?”

  “Not me own race, the Kilkenny horse race.”

  “Yes I know but….oh never mind.”

  “Uncle Cormac was lined up at the start.”

  “Aspersions!”

  “What about them? And what does that be having to do with the race?”

  “I remembered the word….aspersions about your race.”

  “Not me own race, I be telling yer that already. The aspersions (if yer insist on using the word) were about the spurs worn by me Uncle Cormac, yer asked about the spurs. Now d’yer want ter know about the spurs or not.”

  “But I didn’t say anything about…“ Daniel looked at Seamus.

  The leprechaun stood with his hands on his hips and looked sternly at Daniel. The Farmer thought back to when the leprechaun had first arrived in the Land of Reality, when Daniel thought nothing of his life. Daniel thought of nothing at all. Nobody thought, they had been told they could not and had to live by the Rules of Reality. The Rules had pushed their souls further and further down until there was hardly a spark left. There was no spark, no thought, no decisions and nothing but cabbage stew for dinner. With Seamus there was pork pie and apple crumble, there was joy and laughter and thought and love. Daniel smiled at the leprechaun who beamed merrily back.

  “Yes Seamus, I do want you to tell me about the Kilkenny horse race.”

  “Ah good! Well me Uncle Cormac was at the starting line when the judges demanded he retire from the race as he was wearing unsuitable attire.”

  “The spurs?”

  “Yes the spurs.” Seamus looked triumphantly at Daniel. “The spurs were not what yer calling true spurs.”

  “Why not?”

  “They were carrots.”

  “Carrots?”

  “Aye, carrots. The trouble being that the donkey was trying to get to the carrots and was running round and round in circles coz the carrots was firmly attached to me Uncle Cormac’s ankles. The stewards told me Uncle Cormac he had to leave the race (which he did with much muttering about the unfairness of it all I would be adding here). But there was a minor problem. The horses that were waiting fer the race to start (and why there were horses in the race I cannot be telling yer) had smelt the carrots and started to follow me Uncle Cormac and his donkey as they made their way up the track. Now the donkey may have been wanting to get to the carrots itself and not succeeding but he was not wanting the horses getting the carrots even more, so it began to walk a bit faster….and so did them horses. So the donkey picks up speed….as did the horses. Before yer know it the donkey is leading the race with the horses following behind. Me Uncle Cormac was proud of that trophy.”

  “But he had been thrown out of the race.”

  “Aye, that he had. But unfortunately, once the horses had run all the way up the track over to the dining wagon, back down the track and over to the stables, they were too worn out to run the race so the judges decided that if me Uncle Cormac’s donkey could
keep in front all that time then he deserved to be winning the race. Uncle Cormac was so pleased he removed his spurs and gave them to the donkey.”

  He nodded his head to show he had finished.

  “Now lets be getting this delightful drop of nectar to the party. But not before we are having a little tipple of our own first.”

  Seamus tipped some of the moonshine from the jug into two wooden cups and passed one to Daniel. He tipped it up and drank it in one go, smacking his lips together with pleasure as he finished.

  Daniel could not speak for five minutes after his first sip. But a few hours later he was willing to admit that the moonshine was certainly one of the most interesting experiences of his time with Seamus.

  The evening had started well enough. Daniel and Seamus had taken the jugs of moonshine to the gathering at the little hut Daniel and his family had only recently begun to understand why they called home.

  It was the first time since long before living memory that the local farmers had gathered together purely to enjoy each others company and the excitement could be felt vibrating through the air. Jebediah, the potato farmer, was one of the first to approach Daniel and Seamus as they walked into the centre of the crowd and place the jugs on the table.

  “Is this it?” Jebediah asked, peering into the jugs cautiously. He had donated sack loads of potatoes when asked to by Seamus. He had listened to the reasons and the explanation, although he did not quite understand the process or even the end result of it.

  “Aye me lad, will yer be trying a bit?”

  Jebediah looked at Daniel for some kind of confirmation that there was nothing to fear with the contents of the jugs. Unfortunately for Jebediah he misunderstood the ridiculous grin on
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