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Shane and the Crock of Gold
Claire Atherton

The summer holidays had all but come to an end. With two weeks left, Shane had no idea of what to do to fill his time. Molly, his sister, had been invited to spend the upcoming weekend at her best friends house. Shane wished that he had some friends close by that he could play with. Harry, his best friend, was in America until the beginning of term time so he was all on his own.

            Sitting at the breakfast table eating a bowl of Weetabix, Shane considered his limited options for the day. Should he stay inside and play on his Playstation? Maybe not. With his dad already at work, his mum was on a cleaning mission around the house. If he were to stay around, she would probably trick him into helping her and he didn’t want that - Shane hated cleaning, the smell of polish tickled his nose and made him sneeze.

            At half past nine on a Thursday summer holiday morning, his mum was already banging the hoover into every wall as she cleaned. Why she couldn’t do it calmly and quietly was beyond him. The hoover roared closer. Unable to think because of the bang, bang, bang of the hungry machine into the skirting boards, Shane somehow managed to swallow the thick remains of his cereal without really tasting it before diving up the stairs to the peace of his bedroom.

            Lying on his back, facing the ceiling, Shane tried to think of an adventure he could have on his own but, adventures were supposed to be shared. What was the fun of adventures if you have no-one to share them with?

            “MUM!” Shane yelled from his bed as the banging got louder and closer. Mum couldn’t hear him and so the hoover continued it’s way around the house eating any stray scraps it found.

            “Shane?” Molly’s sugar sweet voice came from around his door. “You want to play with me?”

            “Not really sis,” he answered, as kindly as he could muster.

            “But I’m really bored Shane and mum is busy cleaning. You can choose the game.”

            “Not today Molly. Maybe tomorrow.”

            Molly quietly closed the bedroom door behind her and disappeared into her own room of dolls and fluffy pillows. She loved anything pink and cute. Although Shane wanted an adventure, he didn't want to share it with a girl!

            The hoover finally stopped and a heavy silence hung in the air.

            “At last!” Shane whispered to himself, pleased that the noise had stopped.

            Bang. Bang-Bang!

            Sitting up with a start, Shane tried to figure out where the knocking sounds were coming from, if not from the hoover.

            Bang. Bang-Bang! There it was again. Straining to listen, Shane thought that the knocking was not coming from downstairs but from above his head in the Attic. Was that even possible? No-one ever went up there except for dad and he wasn’t at home today.

            Bang. Bang-Bang! Gradually, the rapping was getting louder. Running down the stairs, Shane was met by his rather angry looking mother.

            “Shane, slow down!” she scolded. “You know you shouldn’t run on the stairs. It is dangerous. What would you do if you fell?”

            “Sorry mum,” he panted, out of breath. “Mum, I think someone is in our attic.”

            “Don’t be silly Shane. No-one can get into our attic except us.”

            “But I can hear someone banging up there.”

            “Well, I haven’t heard anything. Are you sure that it is coming from there and not from next door?” Mum always had a way of calming everyone down by thinking of things others may not think of for themselves.

            “No!” Pulling his mother up the stairs and into his bedroom, Shane begged for his mum to listen.

            “I can’t hear anything Shane. I think maybe you are imagining things.”

            Bang. Bang-Bang.

            “See. Did you hear that just then? I told you,” Shane blurted out.

            “I’m sorry son, I didn’t hear anything except a car going down the street.” With that, mum left, but not before telling him to clean up his bedroom.

            Why couldn’t mum hear the noises coming from above his head? It didn’t make sense. Sure that he wasn’t imagining the sounds, Shane made his way to the wooden staircase leading into the attic located at the back of the house. It was time to be brave and investigate.


            The attic door screeched and whined as he pushed it open. Swirls of dust rose into the air as new air circled into the old room from downstairs. Everywhere looked so dark and gloomy. It was quite scary. Taking his first step into a room which he had never been in before was frightening. Not knowing what to expect behind all the boxes or underneath all the dust sheets hanging over objects just made the creepy feeling going up his spine worse.

            Taking his time, Shane opened a moth eaten blanket that was covering the only window in the small space. Coughing on all the dirt flying off the blanket, he covered his eyes as a stream of sunlight blazed through from outside. The room, now brighter, didn't seem so frightening, so Shane decided to explore. However, before he could take one step, he heard it.

            Bang. Bang-Bang.

            Spinning around on the spot Shane tried to judge where the knocking was coming from. Was it coming from the pile of boxes in the far left corner? Taking a deep breath he removed the sheet covering the boxes and investigated the contents for anything that could make such a noise. Nothing.

            Bang. Bang-Bang.

            The banging sounded much closer this time. Turning on his heels he glanced at everything in sight. A sofa. Suitcases. A keyboard. An old chest and a door that was leaning against the wall. Going around them one by one, Shane waited for the knocking to start again to see if it was coming from them before moving onto the next object. No surprise that the knocking was not from the sofa or suitcases.

Standing over the keyboard, feeling more than a little stupid, Shane whirled around to face the small door leaning against the far wall when the banging began its usual rhythm.

            “It can’t be possible!” he reasoned. “It isn’t attached to anything.”

            Pressing his ear to the door, Shane jumped as the banging began again. The noise was indeed somehow coming from this old door. Walking around the door from one side to the other and crawling behind in the small space between the wood and the wall Shane couldn‘t find anything to explain what was happening. The brass door knob slowly turned. Suddenly, the door sprang open, complete with a burst of blinding light. How was that possible without a door frame? Frightened, if Shane's feet were not glued to the spot he would have run away.

            “Finally!” laughed the voice of someone Shane could not see yet because his eyes needed time to adjust to the light. “I was beginning to think that you couldn’t hear me.”

            Using his hand to shade his eyes, Shane used his fingers to cast a shadow in front of his face so that he could see who was talking. The light vanished as the door closed of its own accord. Shane was speechless. Standing before him was a short man dressed in top hat, brown three-quarter length trousers and a green blouse and waistcoat. In his hand was a gnarly wooden walking stick and a small leather pouch which he placed carefully into his pocket. He had a funny accent. Irish, Shane thought.

            “Well young man? Has the cat got your tongue?” The man was like any other, just on the smaller side and dressed differently. Despite this, Shane found himself unable to speak due to the shock of seeing him come out of a door that led nowhere. 'It must be some sort of magic,' Shane reasoned.  'How else could he have done it?'

            “I am Verne. Nice to meet you, Shane.”

            “How…How do you know my name?” he stammered.

            “Magic!” The little man laughed heartily.

            “Who? What are you?”

            “I am Verne and as you can see I am a Leprechaun. I have come to ask for your help.” Dusting off a small box with the back of his hand, Verne sat on it.

            “Help? How could I possibly help you?” asked Shane.

            “We, the Leprechauns need help to get back our pots of gold and restore the natural balance to our world, and yours.”

            “I don’t understand.”

            “Did your mother ever tell you that if you follow a rainbow to it’s end that you will receive a crock of gold?”

            “Yes, but everyone knows that isn’t true.”

            “Sadly, the parents of today have it wrong. The truth is that our crocks of gold create the rainbows and not the other way around. We use the rainbows to travel to where we are needed. They are the magic we use to make sure everything remains as it is supposed to be.” Verne explained.

            “I don’t see how I can help though,” said Shane, a little confused.

            “As children are the only ones who can see us, I found you. You were looking for an adventure. Am I right?”

            “How do you know that?”

            “As I said before - Magic! So, will you help us find our gold?”

            “I can try. What do you need me to do?”

Click the arrow for part two:click

Claire Atherton©2009

Category: children's stories


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