Finn Oâ€™Shea ran as if his life depended on it. This time he thought it might. He squelched along at a gallop, soaked through by the pouring rain that had begun suddenly when he was at the greatest possible distance from home. As if that wasnâ€™t bad enough, Finn groaned when he saw the first flash of lightning. â€œOh no!â€ he said to the dark sky above him.
Lightning wasnâ€™t good. It always chased him. The saying about lightning never striking twice in the same place had been proved wrong by Finn countless times. No matter how he zigged and zagged through the village in stormy weather, the black clouds dogged his footsteps and threw their bolts right at him. They were more used to zigging and zagging than he was, so they usually won. He had only been knocked out once, but heâ€™d had so many jolts he sometimes wondered why he didnâ€™t light up at night.
He veered right, narrowly missed by an almighty flash, then leapt over a huge puddle that threw itself into his path. The lightning had another try to the left, but Finnâ€™s nifty dodge and scream still had him pelting for home. He could see the green front door ahead inviting him to safety. The sight gave him the extra strength to pound his feet, leap and dodge and fling himself head first through the unlocked door. It bashed against the wall with an alarming thump as Finn bent double, his hands on his knees, dripping all over the hallway and gasping for breath.
Finnâ€™s mum appeared, a shocked look on her face. She stared at Finn, then at the open door beyond him. â€œOh, lightning again,â€ was all she said. She walked past him and closed the door, then added, â€œGo and get changed, then bring your wet clothes down.â€
As Finn took off his soaked pants and top he thought about his attraction for lightning bolts. They didnâ€™t aim for anyone else in the village, so why him? Once he was dry and his mum had taken his dirty, wet clothes away, he asked, â€œWhy me, Mum? Leprechauns are supposed to be lucky. I thought we were born that way. What happened to me?â€
His mum handed him a warm drink and sighed. â€œWell, weâ€™re not exactly all born lucky,â€ she began, â€œthough Iâ€™m not sure the Fates smiled on you at all when you were born. It was more like they had a good laugh at your expense. Your first view of the world was upside down when Mrs Ahearne, the midwife, dropped you on your head. I donâ€™t think it did you any harm though.â€
Finn rubbed his head, just thinking about it.
His mum continued. â€œContrary to popular belief, leprechauns arenâ€™t born lucky. Fortune is a blessing bestowed by the Good Luck Fairy, providing sheâ€™s in an agreeable mood, and more to the point, as long as sheâ€™s there.â€