THERE was a woman one time, and she on her way to the market, counting the price of her basket of eggs.
"If eggs are up," says she, "I'll be gaining a handful of silver, and evenly if prices be down I'll not do too badly at all for I have a weighty supply."
With that she remarked a little wee boy sitting down by the hedge, he stitching away at a brogue.
"If I had a hold of yon lad," says she, "I'd make him discover a treasure--for the like of him knows where gold does be hid."
She juked up behind him, like a cat would be after a bird, and she caught a strong grip of his neck.
Well he let an odious screech out of him, for he was horrid surprised.
"I have you, my gosoon," says she.
"Oh surely you have, mam," he answers. "The strength of your thumb is destroying my thrapple this day."
"Will you show me a treasure?" says she.
"I'd have you to know," he replies, "that the pot of gold I could convey you in sight of is guarded by the appearance of a very strange frog."
"What do I care for the creeping beasts of the world," says she. "Worse nor a frog wouldn't scare me at all."
"You're a terrible fine woman, mistress dear," says the leprachaun. "I've travelled a power of the earth and I never came in with your equal."
"Go on with your old-fashioned chat," she replies, but she was middling well pleased all the same.
"I'm a small little fellow," says he, "and I couldn't keep up with yourself. But it's light in the body I am, the way I'd be never a burden at all and I sitting up on the handle of the basket."
"Up with you," she answers, "for I'll soon put you down to walk by my side if you are not speaking the truth."
But she didn't find the least burden more on the basket when himself was on the handle.
He was a great warrant to flatter, and he had her in humour that day all the while he was watching out for a chance to escape, but she kept a hold of his ear.
What did he do only put his two wee hands down into the basket and he began for to bail out the eggs. She fetched him a terrible clout, but the harder she beat him the faster he threw out the eggs.
"Oh mam! oh mam!" says he, "what for are you skelping my head?"
"To make you quit breaking my eggs, you unmannerly coley," says she.
"Sure it's doing you favour I am," he replies. "I'd have you to know when I spill an egg on the ground a well-grown spring chicken leps out."
"Quit raving," says she.
"If you doubt my word," he makes answer, "let you turn and look back at the chickens are flocking along."
With that she turned her head, and the leprachaun slipped from her grasp. He made one spring from the basket into the hedge, and he vanished away from the place.
"The wee lad has fooled me entirely," says she, "and my beautiful eggs are destroyed--but I am the finest woman he's seen, and that is a good thing to know!"