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A Little Sack, A lot of Gold!
Mysteries by Kids 6: March 1999
by Clairice S.

One sunny day Danny and I were outside when a funny little man crashed into us. He wore green clothes and was gasping like he'd run a mile.
"Help!" he cried. "Someone's stolen my treasure!"

Surprised, Danny asked "Who and what are you?"
The little man looked up at us and asked, "And what do ye think I be? You're from these parts and ya don't know a thing about the little people?"
"A leprechaun?!" Danny gasped.
"Aye, at your service," was his reply.
I couldn't think of what to say. It wasn't every day you meet a leprechaun. "I just can't believe... I mean, I am so glad to... to... to..."
"Meet you," Danny finished. He and I were like two peas in a pod. We usually knew what the other was thinking. "What could we do for you, Mr. Leprechaun?" he asked.
"Oh, call me Tom, that's short for Thomas O'Reilly McFlann."
"Well, Tom, I'm Danny and this is my sister Bonnie. What was it you were saying about a stolen treasure?"
"As you might already know a leprechaun has his gold to take care of all his days and mines been taken. Oh, when I get my hands on the thief, I'll bop him a good one!"
"Do you have any idea who it was?" I asked.
"How do you think you're going to find them, then?" I asked.
"It has to be someone with a recently used shovel; I buried that treasure pretty deep," he said.
Danny groaned. "There's nothing but farms for miles around. Everyone has a shovel, and they use them all the time!"
"I had it buried by a certain apple tree in your Da's orchard and it was dug up only a little while ago-- I left it alone only for a few minutes," said Tom. "We should be able to find 'em still."
We headed over to check out where the treasure was buried. We'd hoped to find something that might tell us who could have taken our new friend's treasure. The ground was still damp from the morning dew, so footprints would be easy to spot. We found the big hole but no footprints on the grass around it and no other sign of who had been there.
"We're so sorry," I said.
"I know," Danny said, "Da hired three men to help with the orchard just a few days ago. Maybe it was one of them-- Da gave 'em the day off, so they wouldn't have been in the orchard unless they were up to no good. Let's go check them out."
"Mr. Tom, sir, could you hide in my purse while we go over and check on the hired hands?" I asked.
"I'd be honored to rest my legs for a wee bit; thank you kind lady."
I put my purse down and let him climb in. Then we took off toward the bunkhouse.
Danny knocked on the bunkhouse door and entered at their invitation. When he came back out he didn't look very happy. "They've been playing cards for a few hours, and none of their shoes or the floor has any dirt on them."
We were stumped. We sat outside, thinking, when we heard Ma yelling.
"Scat! Scat!" she shouted.
We ran over. "Ma, what's going on?" I yelled.
"It's that stray dog that showed up this morning." She pointed towards a mischievous-looking mutt, no higher than my knee, rolling happily in the dirt next to a freshly dug hole.
"He's been digging in my flowers and now he's trying to get into the kitchen. Would you kindly keep an eye out for him so he does no more damage while I go finish dinner?"
"Sure, Ma" I said.
Danny eyed the dog as it dug the hole deeper. "Are you thinking what I am thinking?" he said.
"Aye I think I know what ye both are thinking," came a reply from my purse.
"Oh, I'm sorry. Here," I set my purse down so he could climb out.
"It's a nice purse, lassie, but a wee dark."
"We better check out our new lead. Danny, I think we better find our friend's treasure."
We searched the orchard, and it wasn't long before we found it buried in a shallow hole in a small bunch of trees not far from its original spot. Danny and I handed a little sack over to Tom.
"I thought leprechauns had pots of gold?" Asked Danny.
"Aye, most do, but I'm a young 'un. As a leprechaun grows older, we collect more gold and then we get the pots to the gold in! I surely do thank you both. Could I share a gold coin from this here sack with you?"
Danny shook his head. "No, sir, we couldn't take it. Da and Ma would want to know where we got it, and spending it in the village would cause too many questions."
Tom said, "Keep an eye out for your reward, then. It'll be more precious to you than this here sack of coins."
We said our goodbyes. Tom winked at us as he walked across the orchard.
"Danny," I said, "is he..."
"Shhh," Danny said. We watched as Tom rose higher and higher as if he was walking on a staircase, until he disappeared.
Months later, when the apple trees were ripe, Danny and I set out to pick some fruit from the tree where Tom's treasure had been. But the apples were different-- larger, more golden, and with a clear glow. They were the most beautiful golden we'd ever seen, and they tasted like no other fruit we'd had before.
We become well-known for our golden apples. People from all over came to buy them and would say, "They almost look like real gold."
Congratulations, Clairice S.!
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