By Tina R. McSwain
Happy St. Patrick’s Day
In honor of this Irish holiday, let’s talk about the most popular Celtic legends. The most prominent are the will-o-the-wisp, the leprechaun, and the banshee. The most terrifying by far is the banshee, a female entity whose wailing is a warning of something bad to come. Customarily, the foretelling of a death.
The will o’ the wisp are mysterious lights that were said to lead travellers from the well-travelled paths into treacherous marshes or bogs where they met their deaths. They are thought to be malevolent spirits either of the dead or non-human intelligence. They have a mischievous and often malevolent nature, luring unwary travellers into dangerous situations, by enticing them with their light.
And, finally, the leprechaun who hoards and hides gold from man. He is a type of faery in Irish folklore, and is usually seen as an old man, wearing a red or green coat, who enjoys partaking in mischief. Like other fae, leprechauns have been linked to the Tuatha De Danann (the people of the goddess Dana/Danu) of Irish mythology. Leprechauns spend their time making shoes, and store all their coins in a hidden pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow. If ever captured by a human, the leprechaun has the magical power to grant three wishes in exchange for their release.
Therefore, may Irish eyes smile upon you, may you find your pot of gold, do not follow the will o’ the wisp, and beware the banshee!