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Leprechaun slips through their fingers - and their trap

If the past two years are any indication, I’m probably going to spend most of Friday putting the house back together.

It was March 17, two years ago, and Steven came home from school with a most fantastic story: "Leprechauns sometimes go into people’s houses on St. Patrick’s Day looking for gold, and if they don’t find any they make a huge mess."

We’ve had box elder bugs, a mouse and dust bunnies the size of cantaloupe, but we’ve never had problems with leprechauns.

"I wouldn’t worry about it," I assured him. "I don’t think we’ve ever had a leprechaun in the house."

As it turns out, I spoke too soon.

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Sometime, after Steven went to bed, the little man paid us a visit for the first time.

We woke up in the morning to discover that the living room had been trashed … the cushions from the couch had been tossed about, newspapers littered the floor, picture frames and knick-knacks had been rearranged or turned upside down and the coats that had been hanging on the hall tree were scattered everywhere.

It was either a leprechaun or Guns ’n’ Roses had spent the night.

I’ll never look at a box of Lucky Charms in the same way.

We put things back where they belonged, and for the next year the leprechaun was forgotten.

Setting the trap

On the morning of St. Patrick’s Day 2010, Steven reminded me of how the leprechaun had messed up our house in the middle of the night the year before, and we knew we had to do something to prevent it from happening again. We came up with an ingenious plan to keep him from mischief: a leprechaun trap.

We balanced one end of a large cardboard box on a plastic ruler; the idea was to get the leprechaun under the box, then have it fall on him.

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A trap just like it always worked on the "Roadrunner" cartoons.

But there was something missing.

"We need some kind of bait," I said to Steven. "Something to get him to go into the trap."

We searched the house and considered several possibilities: an Oreo cookie, a plastic harmonica, the television remote.

Cool things, but nothing that seemed like good leprechaun bait.

Then Steven had an idea: "Leprechauns really like gold."

I have a gold-plated molar as a permanent reminder of why they’re called Jawbreakers, but I wasn’t going to yank it out of my mouth in the hope of catching a leprechaun.

So we settled on the next best thing — a plastic, gold-colored casino chip lettered "Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas."

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We taped one end of a piece of string to the chip and the other end to the ruler, then gingerly set the trap.

Catch and release

The goal wasn’t to hurt him, just to capture him so we could take him out in the country and set him free far from our house.

Leprechaun "catch and release."

Sometime after Steven went to bed, the leprechaun struck again: the cushions, coats, newspapers and knick-knacks littered the floor and there were about half a million Lego bricks scattered around the living room.

The trap had been sprung, but there was no leprechaun.

The gold-colored Las Vegas chip was still there, but the Oreo was missing from the kitchen counter.

I’m going to have Steven double-lock the doors before he goes to bed Thursday night as a precaution, though I suspect that any rascal who can escape such a fool-proof leprechaun trap won’t have a problem with a Yale deadbolt.

I wonder if leprechauns only mess up houses where little boys live.

I’d like to get to the bottom of the leprechaun mystery, but I think I’ll have to wait until December to learn more.

I have a feeling Santa might have some insider information.

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