Wearing green, with envy

I struggle with leprechauns.

Like, creatively. I’m not sure what to do with them.

I tried a few rounds of “animal dress-up”, as that’s often an quick path out of my own preconceptions.

I don’t know.

I mean, they’re cute and all.

But any personality they might be exuding comes from the animal side.

I’m just not connecting with the mischievous hoarder they’re meant to embody.

I tried to focus on an actual leprechaun, placing him in unexpected settings to see if that would jostle a reaction.

The airplane came close.

I don’t like that he’s so excited in the first one.

The second is closer to what I’d intended. He’s a magical creature, forced to sit still on a boring flight.

But the third one is borderline inspiring.

What if he’s asleep on an airplane, with his pot of gold in the seat next to him?

It would be relatively casual for someone to reach across and take a piece of that magical gold. But in doing so, they would doom all of the passengers.

Good images tell a story. And that’s hedging towards one.

But the complexity of staging that… a child reaching over the seat; their mother sighing with exasperation… I don’t think I could pull that off with these tools.

Still, I tried making him sleep in many public places – maybe I’d luck into one close enough to work with.

And actually, I think I did luck out with that last one.

I can outpaint the pot of gold just below frame, then a bit to the left for the reaching hand.

That might be solid.

But I found something more compelling.

The image arrived, cropped closely on him. I extended it outwards, added the gold, and photoshopped in just the hint of a rainbow.

He’s living in squalor, with a lifetime of wealth within arm’s reach.
This is the nature of obsession, right here.

I don’t know how he got there, or how he’ll get out. But that resonates with me.

This is a leprechaun I can believe in.

But that is a bleak note to end on, so I asked ChatGPT to poke holes in my understanding of leprechaun motivations.

We discussed backstory, historical depictions, and eventually realized I was missing the obvious.

Perhaps we all are.

While leprechauns are often depicted as solitary creatures, there are some stories in which they are shown to have families and a sense of community. In these tales, leprechauns may live in small villages or clans and may have close relationships with other leprechauns, as well as with other mystical creatures such as fairies and elves.

In terms of their protective behavior towards their gold, if we imagine leprechauns as having homes or communities, it becomes easier to understand why they might be so fiercely defensive of their wealth. Just as humans might feel violated if someone broke into their home and stole their possessions, leprechauns would likely feel the same way if someone were to try to take their gold.

By humanizing leprechauns in this way, we can better understand their motivations and relate to them on a more personal level. We can empathize with their desire to protect their homes and families and see their protective behavior towards their gold as a natural extension of this desire for security and safety.






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