A story in progress…
In Ireland, there were big cats that were thought to be hunted to extinction. There remained a few charmed ones that slept in the mountains and hillsides and prowled during the night in the grassy fields.
One particular lion named Lucky enjoyed celebrating holidays. His favorite holiday of all was St. Patrick’s Day. Lucky knew that Saint Patrick was a popular saint among the people that lived in the village nearby. Like the folk, Lucky also enjoyed the lack of snakes. He didn’t need to worry about accidentally trotting on the snakes since St. Patrick banished them from Ireland many years ago.
The night of St. Patrick’s day brought a festival to the village near Lucky’s home on the hill. Once he was old enough he would creep down the hill and peer at the people and see them singing and laughing and carrying on. It looked like such a grand old time. His mother always warned him not to join in. Village folk won’t take to lions too well.
On this particular St. Patrick’s Day Lucky was feeling rather lucky. “I will go down to join in the fun,” he said. So he pranced down the hill. When he arrived at the edge of the village he could see the people celebrating but they could not see him yet. Many were wearing colors of green and gold.
“That’s it!” Lucky said out loud. “I need to get festival accessories.” He slowly crept into the village and found the nearest street vendor selling green hats.
“Please sir, one hat there,” Lucky said to the man behind the cart.
The man shrieked “A lion!”
“I said please,” Lucky insisted, “now could you be so kind as to let me have one of your hats.”
Unfortunately for Lucky, all the street vendor heard was a series of moans and growls.
The man screamed “Lion! Lion!”
Utterly confused by the man’s manners, Lucky decided to try one more time.
“Sir, would you be so kind as to spare me a hat?” Lucky growled at the man getting a little impatient.
The street vendor threw a whole collection of green hats at the lion and ran off yelling in the other direction.
“Well, that was odd,” Lucky said to himself. He shuffled through the hats until he found his favorite one. “Yes, this will fit nicely.” He nudged the hat with his nose and slid it onto his head. Then he went to join the festivities.
Many of the village folk were shocked to see him and didn’t greet him. The music stopped abruptly as word of a lion in the square traveled to the musicians. Some folk ran away as the street vendor did. There was only one man that was brave enough to approach him.
“Nice hat,” the man complimented as he slowly approached Lucky.
Lucky was so excited to receive a compliment and make an acquaintance he chuffed with delight. This sent the man back a couple of steps.
“Oh no, I mean no harm,” Lucky told the people. “See I just came to join in the fun.” Lucky stood up on his hind two legs and started swaying from left to right like he was dancing.
The brave man laughed and did the same. Then he slowly began to cross his feet in a type of step dancing. Lucky tried mimicking the man’s footwork but he lost his balance and caught himself on his front paws.
Lucky wasn’t about to give up that easily. He got back up on his hind legs and again tried to copy the brave man’s steps.
The man took a couple of steps in dance and Lucky followed suit. He crossed this way slowly than that way slowly and Lucky found himself keeping up. Next, the man broke out into an Irish jig.
The music started back up and Lucky kicked out his own version of the Irish jig the man had shown him. Then more people came back out onto the square. At first, they watched in further awe but as the man and the lion kept on dancing they couldn’t resist their own feet. They all began dancing too! The celebration was back on.
“You are one lucky lion,” the man shouted in Lucky’s direction.
Lucky nodded enthusiastically as he continued to dance. “I”m Declan, I come from the clan of Lions. You must be Lucky,” the man guessed at the lion’s name.
Declan taught Lucky more dance moves and more people came to dance alongside Lucky. On many occasions, the hat fell off the lion’s head and a kind maiden or child would pick it up and Lucky would bend low so they could replace it on top of his head.
Pretty soon it was time for the festivities to simmer down. The family’s left with their young. Maidens retired to their homes for the evening. It was just the men left with Lucky the lion.
“Declan,” one man called to the brave man. “What are we going to do about this lion?”
“Yeah came another one. Now that he’s comfortable with us he’ll be back for our sheep.”
Lucky stopped dancing to listen to what the men were saying. He couldn’t believe it. He had lived atop this hill above this village his whole life and never bothered a soul even in the form of a plump sheep.
Declan winked at Lucky. “Fellows, we needn’t worry about this lion lad. He is a good luck charm. He came to celebrate with us and now he will return where he lives, hunts, and protects this kingdom.”
Lucky knew not to overstay his welcome so he bowed low to Declan and chuffed at the others in salutation and he took his leave. A good thing that Lucky was the lucky sort, no one followed him and he got home safely.
The village people spoke of it for months. The night the lion came down from the hills to dance an Irish jig on St. Patrick’s Day. A few young men tried to find him up in the hill country but he was well concealed with his luck. Soon after, the folk stopped talking about the mysterious lion and nearly forgot.
Until the following St. Patrick’s Day, Lucky the lion returned to dance a jig and have a jolly time again!
Stock image photo from Dreamstime
Irish Leprechaun Lion. stock photo. Image of holiday – 50083874 (dreamstime.com)