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Rated: E · Short Story · Fantasy · #2316713
A (somewhat late) fable for the month of March
"I hate all my clothes!" said Patricia. "I don't understand why I am the only girl in this kingdom who has to wear old rags."

"You must have more clothes than I do," said Brigid looking up from her book.

"Big deal!" said Patricia. "Nobody cares what a nun like you looks like."

"I'm sorry," said Brigid, "but did you just call me a 'nun'? Not that you haven't called me much worse things, but what exactly do you mean by it?"

"I mean, when you grow up that's the only place that'll want you--a convent. Between the horrid way you dress, your ugly face, and your boring personality that's all you'll be good for. But then, you probably won't mind that. You only care about your stupid books anyway. It's not like you want to get married, is it?"

There were tears forming in Brigid's eyes. She didn't like hearing this from her sister, but she stifled a sob. "So, anyway I assume the problem is that Mum and Dad won't give you money for a new dress."

"Brilliant! Did you figure that out by yourself or did you read it in your book."

"No, but this book might--just might mind you--have a solution to your problem."

Patricia's eyes narrowed with suspicion. "Does it involve working or volunteering to do extra chores?"

"Of course not. I'd have to be crazy to suggest an idea like that to you. You see, this is a book about Leprechauns."

"Leprechauns? Should a nun like you be reading that? Isn't it like witchcraft?"

Now Brigid felt a little embarrassed because the priest in their village did like to discourage such things. "Well, Mum says it's allowed as long as I don't take it too seriously. But this book says that if you go to the Coast of Garney at midnight on the Ides of March, a leprechaun will come out of the sea and maybe grant your wishes. The Ides of March are tomorrow and the Coast of Garney is just a little ways from here. Maybe if we went there tomorrow, the leprechaun would give you a pot of gold to buy new dresses with."

Patricia was skeptical and not just because she didn't believe in Leprechauns "Did you say, 'we'? You realize we would have to sneak out at night. My nun sister would never do something like that."

"Says who?" said Brigid. "I can be brave if it means a chance to meet a leprechaun."

There was a long silence while the two girls stared at each other. At last, Patricia spoke, "I'll go if you'll go."

"Then, I'll go," said Brigid without so much as a flinch.

* * *

On the night of the Ides of March, the girls waited until their parents were in bed and quietly left the house. It was a bright moonlit night, and the girls found their way to the shore.

And then, they saw it. There was definitely something coming out of the ocean. As it came closer, they saw that it was a dragon and riding on the dragon's back was a lovely lady dressed in a green suit and a green hat. As the dragon came out of the water and landed on the shore, the lady got off the dragon's back and looked at them. "Well," she said.

For a moment the girls were speechless. Then Patricia spoke, "Are you the leprechaun?"

"What else would I be?"

"Well," said Brigid, "I don't think I was expecting. . ."

"a female?" finished the leprechaun. "Don't you think it's time people stopped with that old-fashioned stuff? Well, let's get on with business. I suppose you both want wishes."

"Do you really grant wishes?"

"Absolutely, and I usually give you a choice of wishes. Choice one is the standard pot of gold. Choice two is. . .well it's a little harder to talk about, but it's probably better than the gold."

The girls were unsure what to say to that, but Brigid spoke first. "If it's better than the gold, than I'll take that."

"Excellent choice," said the leprechaun. She turned to the dragon, "Timmy, boy give this girl the choice two."

Then, before anyone knew what happened, the dragon grabbed Brigid, put her in his mouth, and swallowed her before letting out a loud burp.

Patricia was stunned. "What did you do to my sister?"

"Trust me, she'll be happier in the end. Would you like to try it too?"

"No! I mean. . . can I still have the pot of gold?"

"Even, at a time like this, you're still thinking of gold, Eh? Well, I guess if you want it that much. . ." She turned back to the dragon. "Timmy, you know what to do."

This time the dragon seemed to wrinkle his nose. Then, he let out a loud sneeze. Gold coins streamed out of his nostrils and piled into a huge mound on the beach.

"Your welcome," said the leprechaun. "But I must be going now. Timmy, Boy!"

* * *

The next day Patricia had some explaining to do. Everyone wanted to know where she had gotten the gold and what happened to her sister.

"I just found it," she said, "and I don't know what happened to Brigid."

Patricia used the gold to buy herself a very expensive dress, but when she wore it to school, her classmatees ponted at her and gossiped. They talked about how she was probably a witch and that she had sacrificed her sister to some dark god. The grownups were a little bit more skeptical about this story, but some of them seemed to believe it. The worst part was when Father Leary started asking her about it. "I'm sure you would never do such a thing Brigid, but we really have to know. . ."

"I don't know anything about it!"

Then, one day, there was a knock on the door. It was Father Leary and he had the sheriff with him.

"I'm afraid Patricia will have to come with me," said the Sheriff. "There is something we want to ask her about."

So they led Patricia out to the beach and Patricia was astonished by what she saw. It looked like a giant egg right in the middle of the beach.

"It's witchcraft!" cried one of the onlookers. "And that girl who sacrificed her sister probably caused it!"

"Aye!" cried someone else. "We should burn her!"

Now, Brigid was really scared. "I don't know anything about this!" she insisted.

"You keep saying that," said Father Leary. "I'm afraid you must be burned." He turned to the sheriff. Can you do it quickly as soon as possible?"

"We can do it right now," said the sheriff. He called to the crowd. "Get us a stake and build a fire!"

Brigid was in tears, but the sheriff held her in place as a group of villagers put up a stake and gathered a pile of kindling.

They then tied her to the stake and Father Leary quietly said a prayer over her before saying, "May God have mercy on your soul!"

Just then there was a loud crack.

Everyone turned as they realized the "egg" was opening.

It cracked into two pieces and out came the most beautiful woman Patricia had ever seen. She had long red hair and there were wings sprouting out of her back. Moreover, she was holding a large sword which she waved at the crowd. "This will stop, now!" she cried. She ran up to the stake and used her sword to cut Patricia free.

Everyone was silent including Patricia. But then the lady smiled at her. "What's the matter, sister? Can I have a hug at least?"

Sister? And then Patricia realized that this lady was Brigid. Her hair was much nicer plus her outfit was a lot less frumpy, but it was definitely her. "I don't understand," she said. "What happened to you?"

"What I thought I would happen," said Brigid with a laugh. Then she added, "You see , I read about this sort of thing in a book."

And she flew away.

1,347 words

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