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Saturday, July 14, 2012

         It was well past dusk when Fr. O'Keeney gave up his hunt.  Twilight had blanketed the peaceful summer sky, and it began to be much too dark for the type of search he intended. He was grateful for the solitude the church's rear garden offered him.  It would have been difficult to explain what it was he was actually doing.  In fact, he carefully avoided rationalizing the knowledge himself.  He could picture trying to sanely explain to the Bishop the reason he was crawling around on his hands and knees. searching out fairy mounds.  In every single scenario, the outcome boded ill for any sympathy and understanding.

        Dusting off his knees and elbows, Kevin picked up the items from the garden bench and headed toward the rectory, deciding a search on the Internet would offer more explanation.  It was almost 8:00 pm, and he had gone without dinner too long.  Making himself a ham and cheese sandwich, and grabbing a cold can of Red Bull, he settled his tall frame into the comfortable desk chair, and powered up his Mac.  He brought up Google, typed the word sidhe into the search engine box, and wasn't surprised to see  245, 678 hits.  It was obviously going to be a long evening.

        Three hours later, he found himself an arm chair expert on the subject of Celtic fairy folk.   He narrowed his hypothesis of who the wee man might be to three possibilities...grogach...cluricaun...or leath bhrogan, better known by it's English name of leprechaun.  The fact that he even was considering  this explanation was scary, but having a plan of action made him feel as if he was still firing on all his brain matter cylinders.  The research was extensive, and oddly in some cases, written as fact, and not story-telling myth, so apparently he was not alone in dealing with fairy hallucinations.  Deciding that he probably was already suffering from some type of psychosis, he forgave himself for the ridiculous plans to try and trap the sidhe should he chose to visit again this evening.

         Not sure what it was he was dealing with, he prepared for every possibility.  The research had insisted that a "gift" left out for the sidhe would encourage a nightly visit, so Fr. Kevin covered all his bases.  He poured two full shots of Jameson Irish whiskey into a tiny, china tea cup, and a full glass of cold, whole milk into the smallest coffee mug he owned.  These he placed on the dresser nearest the window, next to a pair of his best leather shoes, and a 1oz gold proof coin he took from his wall safe.

       Looking at the "fairy buffet" arranged on the bedroom furniture, he smiled, and remembered how each evening, his Granny O'Brien would always leave one or two dishes unwashed in the sink, and a tiny saucer of milk nearby.  "Give the wee sidhe something to do, lad, and they not be causing trouble whiles you sleep."  As he had gotten older, he had written off this fantasy as her way of hanging on to the ways of the Old Country, but this evening, it was as if she were in this very room with him.

         Sighing, he looked for the last piece of required equipment.  He had no fisherman's net from the Old Sod, knotted with magic incantations, (and just what would the Bishop say about that?!) so he justified that the cotton afghan his Granny crocheted in Ireland would be the next best thing.  If the wee man appeared, he'd jump out from his hiding place behind the chair, and toss it over the sidhe.  What he would do once he caught him was yet up for discussion, but he figured as he was undoubtedly crazy, he'd cross that bridge when he came to it.  Folding himself up behind the arm chair in the corner, he leaned against the wall and waited.

          At some point in the night, as uncomfortable and stiff as he was, he must have fallen asleep. Quite suddenly, he was startled awake by the crashing and breaking of glass. Jumping up from behind the chair, he grabbed the afghan off the end of the bed, and flung it in the direction of the dresser.  From under the blanket, there was much tossing and turning, and the collection of "gifts" were scattered to the floor in every direction.

        "Loc na mhuice!  You let me go right now, lad, if you be knowing what's good for ya!"

         Stunned for an instant, Fr. Kevin hesitated, but then carefully pulled the afghan off the moving bundle.  On top of his dresser, stood the wee man, red faced and sputtering,  screaming what Kevin could only guess were Gaelic obscenities.

        " Pog Mo Thoin!  This is no kind of welcome for a member of the Seelie Court!  How dare you try and trap me in..this...this blaincead!  Not even a proper net of such!"  Seeing the smashed tea cup on the floor, the little man jumped off the dresser, and cradling the broken china, cried, "Ach!  And such a damned shame waste of good Irish whiskey!" Hands on his hips, he marched over to where Kevin was standing shocked in the corner, and gave his thigh a mighty pinch.

          "Ouch!  Hey...that really hurt!"

          Seating himself on the comfiest bed pillow, the yet unnamed sidhe wagged a pointy finger at the priest and said, "  You, my ruafholtach sotaire, have some serious explaining to do...or maybe I shall call a badhb to come and carry you away?"



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