The Legend of the Shamrock Teacup
Once upon a time, in the beautiful Irish countryside, there lived a handsome leprechaun named Liam. He was constantly leading friends into mischief, but he was a well-loved leprechaun nonetheless.
One year as St. Patrick’s Day approached, Liam rounded up some pals and said he wanted to celebrate the holiday out of the country for a change.
“Where?” said his friend Loughlin.
“Why?” said his friend Leary.
“My friends, we’re going to England to seek an adventure,” Liam replied.
“England?” said Leary. “They probably don’t even know how to celebrate the day over there.”
“They most certainly do!” said Liam. “Just pack your bags and meet me at the airport in Dublin in an hour.”
Leprechauns can time travel and do not, in fact, have to fly, but Liam and his friends could make themselves invisible and liked to hitchhike in a plane’s cargo hold, so that was how they traveled to England.
Upon their arrival at Heathrow, Liam boarded a shuttle and told his friends to follow him.
“Where are we going now?” asked Loughlin, who was always up for a good time.
“I still don’t see why we have to make this bloody trip,” said Leary, his disposition as sunny as always.
“You’ll see,” said Liam.
Soon, they left the hustle and bustle of London behind, and the landscape turned to rolling hillsides and farmland. They approached a sign reading “Stoke-on-Trent” and Liam pointed, announcing, “That’s where we’re going, my friends!”
“Oh boy!” said Loughlin.
“Whatever for?” said Leary.
“You’ll see,” said Liam.
The leprechauns checked into their room at the Royal Crown Inn and Pub in Stoke-on-Trent. Leprechaun check-in is quite a different matter than check-in for humans. For the leprechaun, it simply means running up and down the halls of the inn, spying out the very best room, and waiting until the occupants leave. The leprechauns then stretch themselves out flatter than a crumpet and slide under the door.
“Friends,” Liam said once they had settled in, “I can now tell you why we’re here. We’re going to tour the potteries!”
“Hurray!” said Loughlin.
“Potteries? Why would we want to go there?” grumbled Leary.
“You’ll see,” said Liam.
Some American tourists staying at the inn had arranged to visit the potteries, too. When Liam overheard the ladies talking, he and his friends decided to hop in the backseat of their SUV, in the tiny spots next to the pocketbooks, and hitch a ride.
Once they arrived at the potteries, Liam was first to leap out of the car. “Follow me!” he said.
Inside the first factory they toured, Liam and his friends peered around, wide-eyed, at the vast array of kilns and the teawares that had been produced there. Liam was quite the fan of Irish Breakfast tea and appreciated a good teacup.
“So this is where it all begins!” said Loughlin, impressed.
“Humph,” said Leary.
“This way,” said Liam. “But first, I have to ask you fellows a question. St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, and I have a rather incredible idea for making sure this is one we’ll never forget. Are you in?”
“I’m in,” said Loughlin.
“What choice do I have?” said Leary.
“Good,” said Liam. “Come with me.”
They entered a room where workers applied transfers to new china wares. Floral designs were the favorites in that room. Liam overheard a woman named Cathleen say they were busying filling the orders of Americans who wanted festive new teawares in time for St. Patrick’s Day.
“I’ve always loved St. Patrick,” Cathleen told her coworker Gail. “You know what great symbol is associated with St. Patrick, don’t you?”
“Can’t say as I do,” said Gail, looking at her watch. She was ticking off the minutes until the next smoke break.
“It’s a wonderful bit of symbolism,” said Cathleen. “When St. Patrick was helping spread Christianity all over Ireland, it occurred to him he had the perfect symbol for the trinity right there in his own backyard.”
“And what might that have been?” said the coworker, slightly interested.
“Why, the shamrock, of course!” said Cathleen. “Just as the clover is made up of three leaves, so the Holy Trinity consists of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three in one. Quite lovely.”
“How ’bout that,” said Gail, who thought that religious folk could be a pain in the bum sometimes.
“It’s a pity we’ve run out of shamrocks this year,” Cathleen said. “The manager says we could have all gotten a nice bonus if we just had a few more shamrock teacups to send to America.”
Just then, Liam told his friends of his extraordinary plan.
“Here’s the deal. You know how we flattened ourselves out a few hours ago and snuck under the door of our room at the inn?”
The friends nodded.
“I say, let’s flatten ourselves out into small shamrock shapes, quietly attach ourselves to some teacups, and we’ll get a free trip to America! We’ll have to stick close to the teacups each March, but the other eleven months we’ll be free to explore and have a grand time. Why, we can even go back home to Ireland most of the year if we like!”
“What a great plan!” said Loughlin.
“That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard,” said Leary. “But don’t leave me behind!”
And so it was that while the pottery workers went on break one day, Liam and his friends disguised themselves as shamrocks and climbed onto a teacup, which a darling woman named Cathleen was absolutely delighted to find and ship off to the States.
In America today, very early on the morning of every March 17, Liam and his friends depart their teacup home and run to their nearest Mass to pray and remember St. Patrick, dashing back well before the homeowner rises.
That’s just an old legend, though, for leprechauns can’t turn themselves into shamrocks. Can they?