Mark's St. Patty's Day Story
by Michelle Palmer
Mark rolled his eyes at Sara Brightwell. “Wherever did you hear of something so ridiculous?” He asked as he walked back into the classroom.
Sara folded her arms at the bottom of the stairs. “McCain,” she whined in that voice that grated on Mark’s nerves. “I’m going to make you a believer yet!” Mark turned to look at her and raise an eyebrow at her. “Four leaf clovers do not bring luck!”
“They do too!” Sara pulled out the four leaf clover from her dress pocket and shoved it under Mark’s nose. “I made an A on my history test today because I had this thing!”
Mark shook his head. ‘You made an A on your history test because you studied!”
“I didn’t study!” Sara shoved out her chin. “Not one second!”
Mark cocked his head to one side. “Are you for real?”
Sara nodded. “I knew I’d have this clover with me, so there was no reason to!”
Mark turned to see Miss Thompson standing in the doorway. “Are you going to join us this afternoon, Mark McCain? Or are you going to keep Sara out here all afternoon?” Mark watched Miss Thompson walk back inside.
His mouth popped open and he pointed at Sara. “Why is it that I got in trouble but you didn’t?”
Sara smiled and waved the clover around. “Four leaf clover!”
Lucas slowly rode his horse through the field. Where was his son? Lucas shook his head. It was the second week in March and he suspected his son had spring fever. But that was no reason to neglect his chores at home! Lucas slowly rode further into the meadow. He sat on his saddle and looked over the field. Finally, he was able to spot the head of his son. He got off the jumped off his horse and quietly walked over to him. “Mark,” Lucas said.
Mark was practically laying on the ground. He saw two feet standing straight in front of him. He looked up. All the way up, bending his head way back. His mouth opened as he tried to think of a logical explanation why he was lying on the ground. Suddenly, he realized where his father was standing. So no longer thinking about an explanation, he started pushing at his pa’s feet. “I haven’t checked those yet!” Mark insisted.
Lucas reached down and grabbed his eight-year-old by the arm and lifted him up. “Just what are you up to, boy?”
“Pa, I…” Mark sighed. “I was looking for a…” he shook his head as he once again struggled for a logical explanation.
“Don’t try to think about it, boy! Just tell me.” Lucas crossed his arms and raised his eyebrows. Then he gave Mark the look.
“I was looking for a four-leaf clover.”
“A what?” Lucas exclaimed as he continued staring at Mark and put his hands on his hips.
Mark swallowed. “A…four leaf clover.”
“I know I’m gonna be sorry I asked this question, but I’ll ask it anyway. Why?”
Mark shrugged. “I just want one.”
“A girl at school told me they bring luck,” Mark answered.
“And you believe her?”
Mark nodded. “I didn’t at first. But then she made an A on her history test without studying!”
“Oh,” Lucas cocked his head to one side. “And um…what did Mark make on it without studying?”
“Oh…uh…not so good, pa.” Mark answered. Lucas again flashed him the look. “A ‘C.’”
A ‘C?’” Lucas raised his eyebrows.
Mark lowered his head. “minus.”
“And you have another test tomorrow, if I’m not mistaken?”
“And yet you are out here looking for four-leaf clovers!” Lucas exclaimed as his voice rose. “Mark, we make our own luck. You’d have more luck in a poker game then holding a four-leaf clover!”
“Pa, may I please try just a little longer?”
“You have chores at home, Mark. And then I want you studying for your test. I came looking for you because you didn’t come home when you were supposed to,” Lucas answered him.
Mark could tell he was annoyed. As they walked back toward the horse, Mark couldn’t stop himself. “If I had a four leaf clover, I wouldn’t have gotten into trouble!”
Lucas stopped and looked down at him. Mark looked up and saw the annoyance lying on his father’s face. “I think I’ll go home now and work on my chores.” Mark raced off as Lucas shook his head.
“How did you find yours?” Mark was asking Sara the next day before school.
“Oh, in our yard. My brother helped me find it,” Sara held the clover in her hand and twirled it around.
“I tried to look for one after school yesterday, but my pa found me and hollered at me,” Mark sighed. “He doesn’t believe in luck!”
“Well,” Sara wrinkled up her nose as she thought. “We can try at lunch.”
Mark smiled excitedly. “Awesome! Let’s do it.” Mark smiled. He sat through class all morning. When lunch came, he and Sara quickly hurried up the road to a field. Mark started looking, but soon grew tired. Sara yawned and stated she was going back to the school. Mark said he’d be back in a few minutes. He wanted to look just a little longer.
Suddenly he was opening his eyes. Oh no! He must have fallen asleep. Now his luck was getting worse instead of better. He started to sit up, but suddenly saw a pair of green shoes. Lifting his head, he gasped. There was a little man standing in front of him. He had on bright green pants with a green belt that had a pure gold buckle on it. His shirt buttoned up all the way and had four-leaf clovers for buttons. On the top of his head was a green hat. A golden strap fastened around the side and flat in the middle was a golden buckle!
Mark quickly wiped his eyes and stared at the little man again. His mouth popped open in amazement. He slowly sat up. Swallowing hard, he stuttered, “Wh-wh-who are you?”
When the man spoke, it was a loud-spoken, high pitched voice. “Name’s Luck!” he stated.
‘L…l…Luck? What kind of name…is…luck?” Mark asked.
The little green man shrugged. “It’s always been.”
“Oh,” Mark stood up. He gasped as he realized that he was taller than this man.
Mark looked around, but saw no one or nothing. “Where’d you come from?”
“I’ve always been, I guess.” He answered.
“Are…are..are you a man?” Mark swallowed as he asked.
“I’m a leprechaun,” he stated.
Suddenly, Mark swallowed. “My…my ma used to read me a story about a leprechaun when I was little! But, they aren’t real…?” Mark held question in his voice.
The little man laughed. “Well, I’m real!” Luck stated. “I’m as well as can be!” Then he grabbed Mark by the hand. “Let’s go!”
Mark gasped. His hand was cold. “Where?”
“To the rainbow!” Luck stated. “Us leprechauns…we don’t work! We like to play.”
Mark’s forehead wrinkled up. “But…but I have to…to…get back to sc…school!”
“Don’t have to go to school in leprechaun world!” Jack exclaimed. “It’s just play all day! Let’s go.”
Mark followed Luck as they ran across the field. They started up a steep hill. When they got to the top, he saw a beautiful rainbow in the sky. The rainbow had yellow, red, green and blue in it brighter then he had ever seen before! The colors were bright – brighter then the sun. Suddenly, Mark looked for the sun. “Where’s the sun?”
Luck laughed. “There’s no sun in Leprechaunville!”
“You…you mean I’m not in Claypool anymore?” Mark gasped.
“Claypool? We don’t have any clay pools here!” Luck started laughing. He laughed so hard he fell over. He rolled on the ground from side to side as he laughed.
“What’s so funny?” Mark suddenly asked loudly.
Luck stood up. “You humans are strange! You have clay pools? All we have here are pools made of gold and silver!”
“Gold and-“ Mark stopped as he suddenly realized what was causing the bright colors in the rainbow. At the bottom was a huge pond full of gold! “Is that…” Mark started.
Luck smiled and nodded his head. “It’s gold!” Suddenly, Luck started running down the hill. “Follow me!” he called as he ran.
Mark had no choice. He ran as fast as he could but couldn’t keep up with this fast-paced leprechaun. He ran so fast that his feet didn’t even touch the ground! Mark watched him climb up big colorful steps. The steps stood about two feet high, but Luck was able to just leap on top of each one without any trouble. He climbed all the way to the top of the rainbow. Then he jumped on the rainbow and slid all the way down, landing in the pool of gold.
Mark smiled. “Go on! It’s fun!” Luck called. Mark looked at the steps. There was no way he could make it up there. “Just leap!”
“I-I can’t leap like you!” Mark stated.
“Just believe in yourself and you can do anything!” Luck shouted.
Mark stared at Luck for just a second. Then he suddenly took a giant leap. His feet left the floor and he felt like he was floating up into the air. He softly landed on the next step. He laughed out loud as he took another leap. The same thing happened. Finally, Mark was at the top of the rainbow. He jumped on and softly glided all the way down.
When he got to the bottom, he softly landed in the pool of gold. “Wow!” Mark gasped as he looked.
“Here,” Luck handed Mark a piece. “Eat it!”
“Eat-“ Mark stopped. “Why, it’s candy!”
They sat quietly as Mark ate the candy. He ate until he was full, then laid back in satisfaction. “I wish I lived here!”
Luck shook his head. “You would not be happy here, little one.”
Mark stared at Luck. “Why not?”
“Your father cannot come here. You still believe in dreaming luck. That’s why you came.”
“Luck? Oh, you mean like four-leaf clovers!” Mark said.
Luck nodded. “That’s dreaming luck. Your pa believes in real luck.”
“But,” Mark sighed. “My pa says we make our own luck!”
“And your pa’s right!” Luck smiled. “It’s easier to believe in dreaming luck when you are small like you. But when you grow up, you learn about real luck. As long as you believe, you will have real luck!”
“You mean, the four-leaf clover won’t help me on my test?”
“Test?” Luck thought for a minute. “Ah, an item of which to check knowledge. No, little one. That knowledge comes from inside you.”
“Inside me?” Mark questioned.
“If you allow the knowledge to come in and allow yourself to draw it out-“
Mark interrupted Luck with a loud sigh. “You mean study!”
“Study. Yes, I believe that is the word. And you believe, luck will be on your side.”
Mark nodded. “Luck’s not as easy as I thought!”
Luck looked up at the rainbow. “Luck is as easy as that rainbow. You were able to climb those stairs because you believed. You slid down the rainbow because you believed. You will succeed because you believe.”
“I see. So if I believe, I will get what I want!” Mark exclaimed.
“No. If you believe, you will get what you need. You just must believe!”
“So, I make my own luck by…by believing!” Mark decided. Suddenly he was feeling very tired. He yawned widely. “Believe is my luck….Believe…believe
“Mark! Son! Wake up, son!” Lucas was shaking him.
Mark opened his eyes and sat up. He rubbed them then looked up. He saw his father standing there. “Pa!” Mark looked around. “Where-where’s Luck?”
Lucas bent down to be more at Mark’s level. “Luck?”
“The leprechaun!” Mark stood up and looked around. He saw the schoolhouse in the distance.
“The what?” Lucas asked, shocked.
“The leper-“ Mark ran over to his father. Lucas picked him up and held him in his arms. “He took me to Leprechaunville! They had a pond of gold at the end of a rainbow. And there was the brightest, most colorful rainbow you ever did see! And I was able to leap on these stairs and-“ Mark stopped. His pa had a strange look on his face. “Well, I guess Luck was right. Grown ups don’t believe in dreaming luck!”
“Oh, sure I do! I believe you were dreaming!” Lucas retorted. “Mark, what’s that in your hand?”
It was then that Mark realized he was holding something in his hand. He opened it and saw a four leaf clover. Mark gasped as his eyes grew big. “Pa…” Mark swallowed. “Am I dreaming now?”
Lucas shook his head. He noticed the clover. “Well, you finally found one!”
Mark smiled. “I found luck all right. I found real luck…believing luck…”
Lucas was looking at Mark strangely. “Son, I told you that we-“ he started.
But Mark stopped him. Opening his hand, he allowed the clover to fall to the ground. “We make our own luck. I believe, pa.” Mark smiled as he laid his head on Lucas’s shoulder, closed his eyes and went to sleep. In his dream, he again met Luck.
Lucas looked down at his sleeping son and saw a wide smile on his face. He wondered what he was smiling about as he carried him home.