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Stories by Laura Lagana
Hamish McWallace and the Leprechaun Treasure - Chapter 8

Alpin slowly unzipped the bag and crawled out of the interior. He stepped on the bagpipe, filling the luggage hold of the airplane with faint groaning sounds.

“What do you think you are doing?” Gobban slipped from the bag next to Alpin and joined his friend. “You don’t know who’s down here. We could get caught.”

“But I’m starving and since you’ve taken my cabbages from me, I have nothing left to eat now.” Alpin rubbed his belly. “I think I’ve lost a pound or two.”

With an edge to his voice, Gobban nudged Alpin in the ribs. “Does it look like there is any food down here? All I see is luggage.”

Alpin rubbed his hands together. “When someone goes on a trip to visit someone else, what do they bring?”

Gobban shrugged his shoulders. “How would I know?”

“And that my good man,” said Alpin, slapping Gobban on the back, “is why I’m here. Now step aside while I’ll follow my natural survival instincts and locate a meal for us both.”

“Well…” Gobban’s voice trailed off for a moment. “I could use a spot of something to fill me up.”

“Then follow me.” Alpin led the way as they rummaged through the suitcases, pulling out chocolate bars, cakes, candy, breads and whatever else they found among the luggage. After awhile, Alpin leaned against one of the bags, licking each of his sticky fingers. “I was near starved to death. This is a rather long flight.”

“You better hope the human doesn’t decide to search this bag and find us.”

“You worry too much,” said Alpin, waiving aside Gobban’s threats. Just then, the pilot lowered the wheels of the plane, making the gears grind against each other. “Och, that is a horrible noise,” said Alpin. “We’ve just landed. Didn’t you feel the bumpiness?”

Gobban shook his head.

“Once we’re in America, what will we do?” Alpin crumpled the wrapper into a ball and tossed it over his shoulder.

“We will need to find a way to Charleston.” Gobban paused while he thought for a moment. “We should probably travel by night. You never know about these Americans.”

“What about ‘em?”

Gobban sneered before saying, “What’re you talking about?”

Alpin tweaked the end of Gobban’s nose. “What’re you talking about? You speak as if American’s are to be feared.”

Gobban lowered his voice as his eyes grew rounder by the second. “I hear they’re giants and can crush us under the weight of their boots.”

“That doesn’t sound right. I’m too big to fit under anyone’s shoe.” Alpin arched his brows. “How many American’s have you seen before?”

“Counting today?”


“Uh, let me think…none.” Gobban rolled his eyes. “Just keep quiet and let me think of a plan.” He paused a moment before continuing, “We both know that we can’t let King Rogan come up with a plan.”

“That is very true,” said Alpin, nodding his head.

Gobban leapt to his feet and shoved Alpin. “Quick. Back in the bagpipe. I hear someone coming.”

“But I’ve only just finished eating,” wailed Alpin. “I really need a nap.”

“You can take a nap once we’re back in the bagpipe.” Gobban pulled Alpin by the ear toward the suitcase that Gobban hid within.

After much grumbling, Alpin said, “Why can’t I go back to my own suitcase?”

“No time.” Gobban shoved Alpin in the bag and joined his friend. He sighed when he heard the cargo door open and the luggage handlers exclaim about the mess of opened suitcases that must have come loose from the air turbulence. Gobban shook his head when one of the men yelled to his boss about finding a three-leaf clover. “I’m going to hurt you,” mumbled Gobban as the bags were loaded onto a cart. A moment later, the sound of a car trunk closing and a taxi driver yelling out obscenities to on-coming traffic, stopped Gobban from mumbling anything else.

An hour passed, and then another. Alpin and Gobban listened to cars, buses, the sounds of a busy city, the jostling of the bags being moved from one location to another and then, silence.

“Do you think it’s safe to come out of our hiding place yet?” Alpin’s stomach rumbled.

“Shush,” said Gobban.

After several more minutes passed, Alpin said, “Now do you think it’s safe?”

“Probably,” whispered Gobban. “Just be careful when we open the luggage bag.” He slowly opened the zipper and with his right eye, peeked through the crack. “I don’t see any humans. Follow me.” Helping Alpin from the bag, Gobban said, “And make sure you keep quiet.” The room was bathed in darkness.

“Where are we?” Alpin grabbed Gobban’s shirt to keep from falling over another suitcase, but pulled them both to the ground.

“Get off me,” shouted King Rogan, who grunted when Alpin landed on the pile of luggage.        

“Most sorry, Your Majesty.” Alpin fumbled in the dark before unzipping a duffle bag and grabbing a shirt, yanking King Rogan from the bag.

Gobban flipped the light switch, flooding the room with florescent light.

“We’re in a hotel room. Fancy stuff this is.” Alpin let loose with a low whistle upon eyeing the fluffy bedding, plush carpet, overstuffed chairs and mini refrigerator nestled under the counter. “I now know what heaven looks like.” He rifled through the refrigerator, stuffing chips and candy into his coat pockets. A moment later, he guzzled water, soda and several small bottles of scotch. “I’ll keep these for later,” he said, with small whiskey bottles poking out from his pants pockets and socks. He ignored Gobban’s raised brow, who stood next to King Rogan.

Gobban quietly opened the door before peering into the hallway. “I don’t see any humans. Let’s find the others.”

King Rogan led the way down the hall, followed by Gobban, but Alpin had other ideas. The king let out a shrill whistle, undetectable by humans, but several dogs began to bark outside of the hotel. Doors up and down the hallway opened and closed as the other leprechauns joined King Rogan and Gobban. “Good. We’re all here.” The king tapped his foot while chewing the end of a pipe. He eyed his subjects. A tug on the end of his jacket drew the king’s attention and he said, “What now Gobban?”

“Your Majesty?” Gobban wrung his hands together. “We are missing a leprechaun.”

“And who might that be?”

Gobban avoided the king’s probing gaze by holding his hands behind his back and shuffling back and forth on his feet. “Well…Your Majesty, it’s uh…”

“Quit your stalling. Who is it?” King Rogan’s upper lip stiffened against his teeth.

“It’s Alpin, Your Majesty,” said Gobban.

King Rogan’s face grew beet red, a low growl erupted from deep within his throat. “I should have him flogged for his flagrant disobedience.”

Gobban threw himself at the king’s feet, crying for mercy on behalf of his friend. “Have pity Your Highness. He can’t help being the way he is. Mum left him out in the cold one time too many when he was a small child. She…she…dropped him on his head…she forgot him at the market…she…”

“Compose yourself Gobban. I won’t flog him, but he’s getting a box on the ears for my troubles.”

“Oh Your Highness. Thank you. Thank you,” cried Gobban before falling to his knees.

“Rise Gobban,” said King Rogan. “Lead the search for Alpin.”

Gobban wiped his tear stained cheeks with the sleeve of his coat and mumbled while opening the door to another room. “Once I get my hands on him, I’ll be sure to box his ears if the king forgets to do so.” When Gobban opened the locked door to another room without any trouble, since it was a little known fact that leprechauns could slip in and out of places that no one else could, he choked back a shout when he caught sight of Alpin yanking the covers over his head. Gobban scurried to the edge of the mattress, yanking the down filled comforter from the bed.

“Will you quit getting me into trouble?” Gobban grabbed Alpin by the ear and led him to the middle of the room. “I’m so tired of covering for you.”

“Stop! Stop! I’ve got room service coming in the next several minutes.” He jerked away from Gobban’s grasp and rubbed at his sore ear. “I thought we could use a spot of refreshment after the long journey.” Alpin waved the menu under Gobban’s nose. “See? They guarantee delivery within ten minutes.”

Gobban rolled his eyes. “Would you quit thinking of your stomach? King Rogan is spitting mad and looking to punish you.”

Alpin stopped in his tracks. “But what have I done?”

Gobban sighed before patting Alpin’s shoulder. “Nothing. You did nothing wrong. Now hurry before your “nothing” further angers our king.” Together they joined the other leprechauns who waited in the hallway.

“Thank you for deciding to join us,” said King Rogan.

Alpin bowed. “You are most welcome Your Majesty.”

As Gobban led the leprechauns down the hall, the sound of creaking cart wheels over muffled carpet drew Alpin’s attention. He crept back down the hall and peeked around the corner, spotting the waiter heading toward the room he’d ordered the room service from. Once the waiter stopped to knock at the door, Alpin scurried down the hall like a rat and grabbed the pastries from the plate, shoving them in his jacket. The smell of fresh brewed coffee followed Alpin as he joined the other leprechauns.

“Couldn’t help yourself, could you?” Gobban tapped his foot on the carpet.

“Here,” said Alpin, handing a raspberry filled danish to Gobban. “Don’t be upset. I brought you this gift.”

Reluctantly, Gobban accepted the danish and sank his little teeth into the flaky pastry. He sighed at the sweet berry taste.

“Here, you have a few crumbs on your cheek. Let me get those for you.” Alpin leaned over to flick the flakes onto the ground.

“Thanks,” whispered Gobban. “I must’ve been hungrier than I thought.”

“No problem.” Alpin finished the rest of the pilfered pastries before licking his fingers clean. Once all the food was gone, he whispered to Gobban, “Why are we so focused on stealing Finnegan’s treasure? I mean, really, it’s just a pot of gold, and it’s been missing for…” He paused for a moment, thinking back on the night that Finnegan rushed to their village and told the leprechauns about his stolen gold. “Uh, almost three hundred years?”

“Give or take a few decades, but that sounds close enough.” Gobban nudged Alpin in the ribs. “No more talk of Finnegan’s treasure. The king is looking for a reason to punish you, so don’t be giving him any excuses to do it.”

 “I suppose your right.” Alpin kept his mouth shut while King Rogan led them through the hotel, out the back entrance and down an alley.

“I think we’re near a train station,” said King Rogan. A whistle blew, proving the king correct. “Come. I think it’s this way.”

They snuck down the alley, hid behind trucks, jumping inside dumpsters if they couldn’t find a place to hide. After several minutes of dodging humans and hiding with the trash, the train station came into view. The leprechauns crept along the outside wall of the station while keeping an eye out for any people.

As Gobban and King Rogan hid under a bench, Alpin strolled down the platform without a care in the world, eating an ice cream cone. Gobban gasped while King Rogan pounded the pavement with his fist.

“Psst!” Gobban growled under his breath.

Alpin looked left and then right, but when he didn’t see anyone, he shrugged and continued eating his dessert.


“Who’s there?” Alpin drew up short, coming to a standstill. He cocked his head to the side to listen for more sounds.

“Down here, you dolt.” From underneath the bench, King Rogan tugged Alpin’s pant leg.


“Down here,” said Gobban.

Alpin knelt onto his knees. “What’re you both doing down there?”

“Hiding, you idiot,” said the king.

“From whom?”

Gobban rolled his eyes, quickly loosing patience with his friend. “From the humans.”

Alpin ate the last of his treat before saying, “Oh, don’t worry about them. I’ve already talked to several of the humans. They think we’re here for the Saint Paddy’s Day parade. Apparently the Americans know about leprechauns, but believe us to be a myth. One of the human children asked if I was going to be in the parade.”

“So what did you say?” Gobban scratched his head while waiting for Alpin to answer.

“I told him aye, aye I am.” Alpin held out his hand and pulled the king from under the bench. “It seemed like a good idea at the time. The boy’s mum even believed me.”

“She did? I mean, of course she did,” said the king, while straightening his jacket and hat. “Alpin learned how to lie with the best of them…me.”

“Very good Your Majesty. If you hadn’t taught Alpin how to stretch the truth with your incredible skills, we’d be forced to hide like common criminals, but instead, we can walk among the humans,” said Gobban.

Alpin rolled his eyes, shaking his head behind the king’s back, while Gobban continued to praise the king and ignore Alpin. A moment later, a group of rowdy young men joined the leprechauns on the train platform.

“Hey, look at this,” said one of the young men. “We got us a leprechaun convention going on here.”

King Rogan stepped forward and said in his most commanding voice, “We are the leprechauns from Ireland and we are here to celebrate Saint Paddy’s Day. Now bow down to me like proper royal subjects.”

Laughter rang out from several of the men as one of them stepped forward and bowed. “Your Highness, we thank you for blessing us with your presence. Will you be joining us on the train? Me and my friends would like to buy you leprechauns a round of drinks.” He nudged his friends. “It’s not often I can say I bought a leprechaun a drink.”

Alpin, who held his hands behind his back while rocking back and forth on his heels, said, “Would you be buying us whiskey, now? No self respecting leprechaun drinks anything but whiskey.”

“You betcha,” said the main as he nudged his friend. A moment later, the train pulled into the station. “Follow us.”

The group of men and now rowdy leprechauns boarded the train and celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day all the way to Charleston. They arrived late the following evening, hot from the heat and stinking drunk from the whiskey.

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