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The Basket of Eggs

THERE was a woman who was on her way to the market, counting the price of her basket of eggs.

"If eggs are up," she said, "I'll be gaining a handful of silver, and evenly if prices be down I'll not do too badly at all for I have a weighty supply."

With that she remarked a little wee boy sitting down by the hedge and stitching away at a brogue. "If I had a hold of that lad over there," she said, "I'd make him discover a treasure - for the like of him knows where gold does be hid."

She sneaked up behind him, like a cat after a bird, and caught a strong grip of his neck. He yelled in surprise. "I have got you," she said.

"Surely," he answered.

"Will you show me a treasure?" she said, for lepracauns should be made to do that, she had been taught from she was little.

"Hm – surely, but the pot of gold I could carry you in sight of is guarded by a very strange frog."

"What do I care for frogs?" she said. "A frog wouldn't scare me at all."

The boy was allowed to sit on the handle of the basket while she kept a hold of his ear and walked along to get the treasure, following his directions. "You're a terribly steady and resolute woman," he said to her. "I've never met your equal."

"Go on with that chatting," said she. Then, as the hours went by, he began to bail out the eggs.

"Stop breaking my eggs," she said, and looked back to see if any eggs were lying on the road. But when she turned her head the leprechaun slipped from her grasp. He made one spring from the basket into the hedge, and he vanished from the place.

"The wee lad fooled me," she said, "and all my eggs are destroyed - but he said I am the finest woman he's seen, and that's a really good thing to know!"


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