The Little Dancer
Long ago, in the beautiful green land called Ireland, there was a wee little goat girl. Her name was Brigit. She lived with her mother in a tiny cottage somewhere between the sea and the rolling green hills. They were poor but happy. Brigit’s mother was a weaver. She could weave the finest linen and most beautiful wool plaids ever seen. They had some chickens who ran free in the grass around their cottage and a milk cow. But Brigit’s great delight was her small flock of six goats. Every morning, Brigit got up with the sun, put a little bit of bread and goat cheese in her bag, took her stick, which was taller than herself and said “Good-bye” to her mother.
Brigit went out to the little goat pen and opened the gate. The little goats came skipping and scampering out and pressed around their little goatherd. She kissed each one on its forehead and lead them all on the well-known path to the green meadow.
Brigit was never lonely with her goats. Each one of them was her friend. They always made her laugh when they leapt up high in the warm spring sunshine and butted their little heads with their brothers and sisters. Brigit liked to copy her little goats. She liked to skip and twirl and leap in the warm sunshine, too! Brigit loved to dance!
She had learned lots of sweet Irish songs from her mother and she sang to herself and danced all day long. She was always happily tired when she returned in the evening and put her pretty goats to be. Sometimes, she could hardly keep her eyes open as she ate the warm bread and soup her mother had waiting for her. Brigit lay down in her little bed with its fine white linen sheets and dreamed about dancing all night!
One day, one of Brigit’s little goats scampered off from the little flock. He was a mischievous little goat named Tomkin. Brigit had to scamper off after Tomkin and she chased him into the wood by the meadow. Brigit found the naughty little goat and shooed him back to the flock. As she was walking back to the meadow, she heard a strange noise. It went Tap! Tap! Tap! It sounded a little bit like a woodpecker, but not as fast. Tap! – Tap! – Tap! It went again. Being as curious as any little girl, Brigit walked softly toward the tapping sound.
Behind the trunk of a great ash tree, she saw a funny site. It was a little man dressed all in green. He had a green jacket, a green cap and a long white beard. He had a little pipe between his lips with smoke curling above his head. He was not bigger than Brigit herself and she was still a very little girl.
The little man was sitting on a log making shoes! He looked up at Brigit and Brigit looked back at the little cobbler. She remembered her manners. “Good day to ye, little Father!” she said.
“Top o’ the morning to you also, wee colleen!” answered the little man.
“Oh what lovely shoes you are making” said Brigit. The shoes were made of soft leather and they looked perfect for dancing.
“Aye, colleen”, replied the little man, “Lovely they are to be sure and fit for a little princess.”
“I wish I was a princess,” said Brigit, “So that I could buy those shoes!”
“It matters not” answered the little man, “You could not by them at any price. They are not to be had for gold. Begorrah, I have all the gold I need already.”
“So you are making them for someone special?”
“Aye, that I am!” answered the little man, with a gruff voice, but a twinkle in his eye. “I am making them for you!”
“For me!” exclaimed Brigit. “But you don’t know me. We have just met. Why are you making me such a fine present?”
“Because you have given me great joy, although you didn’t know it. Every day you come to the green meadow and sing and dance. I have sat in the shadows and watched you day after day. Even in the shade, my old leprechaun heart has been warmed by your music. I thought to myself, why not make some dancing shoes for the little colleen to protect her wee feet? And so I have!”
Brigit had no way of knowing that this was the longest speech the leprechaun had ever made in his whole life. But she did know that no one ever had a better friend. “How can I ever thank you?” she asked.
“You thanked me before you knew it. You have paid me with music and joy.”
The shoes were ready and Brigit tried them on. Of course they fit perfectly! Brigit danced a jig for the leprechaun right there and then. She twirled around and the little man was gone.
Brigit hurried back to her flock and took off the shoes and put them in her bag. She showed them to her mother that night and her mother was amazed! “What a special friend and what a special gift!” mother said.
Brigit danced in the meadow for many years after that. She never saw her leprechaun friend again, but she always knew that he was watching and enjoying her music. As Brigit grew, the shoes magically grew with her. They never became soiled or worn out.
And when Brigit grew into a lovely young lady she left her mother’s cottage and became a dancer. She went to many places in the green land of Ireland and gladdened the hearts of all who saw and heard her.
Christine Natale (posted with her permission)
What an adorable story! Enjoy with your little ones and thank you for sharing this with all of us, Christine!!!!