[size=12.012011528015137]Posted on October 9, 2012by geoharvey[/size]
[size=16.516515731811523]Leprechauns have their own version of the story:
Perhaps most English-speaking people know the myth that Leprechauns keep pots of gold at the ends of rainbows. Some versions of this myth say that Leprechauns find buried coins at the sites of old battles, and store them in the pots. The coins, of course, had been buried by soldiers who intended to come back after the battle to retrieve them, but did not survive to do so.
[size=12.012011528015137]Leprechaun, Jean-noël Lafargue, 2005. This image is free under terms of the Free Art Licence.[/size]
I suppose any such story might have someone who really believes it, but it is hard to understand why anyone would. A moderately complete understanding of science makes it clear that a rainbow does not exist in a fixed place and does not have any real end. Instead, it depends on sunlight being refracted to a viewer, with whom it moves, and it is shaped in a circle, with ends that only exist at the edge of a shadow.
Interestingly, Leprechauns have their own, very similar, version of the same story. The way they tell it is that gold can actually be created. Sunlight is separated into a spectrum, as happens in a rainbow, and then the yellow light is captured and condensed into gold. That, at any rate, is the story.
Leprechauns are quite aware of the fact that rainbows are not predictable, and that they do not have ends where pots can be placed. They have also long been aware that rainbows are not the only objects that can produce spectral separations. What they try to do, they say, is to separate the sunlight with prisms.
[size=12.012011528015137]Schwarzes und weißes Pferd in Gebirgslandschaft mit Regenbogen, 1911, Franz Marc. Public Domain.[/size]
The history of Leprechauns says that they have been using prisms since the earliest recorded times. Unfortunately, history does not mean the same to Wee Folk as it does for humans. Leprechaun historians are not interested in a story that is necessarily correct factually. For them, history is simply a type of Wee Folk literature, with more view to entertainment than to accuracy. Since that is the case, I cannot say with any hope of accuracy when they actually did begin using prisms for the purpose of making gold. In fact, I cannot even guess at the date, though it was clearly a long time ago. Of course, that assumes they actually use the process, and are not just telling tales.
Clearly, at some point human beings got wind of the idea that Leprechauns were using spectra to produce gold. My guess is that this was at an early enough date that the only spectra known to the human folk were rainbows, and so there might have been a slight misunderstanding as to how the spectrum was formed. In the earliest days, Leprechauns were probably using natural crystals for prisms.
Why a Leprechaun would want gold is another, curious question. They cannot spend it, nor do they use very much of it for jewelry. It is possible that they might use it as a prop, for tricks they play on humans, though they do not need to be in possession of realgold to do that. It is also possible they actually do make it and use it to motivate humans for their own purposes. I might guess one such motive might be to get someone to buy them whisky, but that is only a guess.
As to whether this process works, the answer depends on whom you ask. Some of them tell wonderful tales about mounds of shiny gold. Others scoff at such stories. It is clear that some believe, or at least say they do, and others do not, or at least say they do not. I have heard one say, “That is just a myth.” But then, perhaps he was fibbing.
Thanks to: http://aspcwf.wordpress.com/