I wrote the following a few years back, but thought it worth repeating.
Everyone has heard of the Irish Leprechaun – the short little, mischievous, greedy dudes who look for gold at the end of the rainbow. So how did this story begin?
Back about 1500 years ago, there was an Irishman by the name of Dougal O’Connell. Dougal was rather short and stocky compared to most men in Ireland at the time, but that wasn’t his most serious problem. His biggest problem was his greed. Dougal O’Connell was a prospector by trade. He seemed to be able to sniff gold out, wherever it might be found. While other prospectors might find a nugget here or there, O’Connel seemed to bring gold home by the bucket full. Whenever another prospector inquired as to Dougal’s success, he would give an evasive answer such as “look at the end of the rainbow…maybe you’ll find a pot o’ gold there!”
He also had a rather annoying habit of jumping into the air and kicking his heels together everytime he came upon an especially large lode. This habit gained him the nickname of “Leaping O’Connell”. Eventually, his townsfolk started referring to his entire family as “The Leaping O’Connell’s”
Over time, language tends to change. This was true of “The Leaping O’Connell’s” name as well. “The Leaping O’Connell’s” eventually mutated to “The Leaper O’Connell’s”, and then the “ell” was dropped from the end, making them “The Leaper O’Conn’s” and then just “The Leprechauns”
This story is just as reliable as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!