Monday, March 16, 2015

Shamrocks: The Story of Hancocks the Pig and Basil the Goat

My name is Lilly, and I’m an Irish faerie.

Flutterin’ through the sky where it’s clear and airy. 

Please let me tell you a limerick or two, 

While the grass is green, and the sky is blue.

Long, long ago in a land called Shamrocks

Was a big, pink pig named Mr. Hancocks. 

His closest friend, or so it’s been told, 

Was a goat with a beard who sold fool’s gold. 

His name was Basil after the savory herb.

It tasted good and smelled superb. 

He set up shop near the rainbow’s end,

Where luck and faith had a curious blend. 

Then there were the Elves who ate three-leaf clover.

Four meals a day—over and over. 

The Leprechaun Elves said clover made them lucky.

The pig thought Shamrock would sure taste yucky.

Of course, Irish Elves believed in luck, 

And so did the goat, every time he was stuck.

But Mr. Hancocks insisted on faith.

He said: “A lucky number could be the eighth!

Why do you always insist on seven?

You might as well count up to eleven.”

Then Basil told him: “Why don’t you grow wings?

You say the most outrageous things!

You’re much too fat to ever fly! 

You’ll need luck to reach the sky!”

The pig spoke to the goat wearing one Leprechaun shoe:

“I can fly—so much higher than you!”

So, the Elves kept eating leaf after leaf,

Believing clover was healthy as beef. 

As days went by, the goat and the pig 

Teased the Elves when they danced a jig.

The Elves liked to visit the fool’s gold shop.

They thought the morning was tippity top!

Leprechauns bought gold from the goat, 

Pulling the beard that touched his throat. 

“We’ll sell gold to your highest bidder.

If it’s twenty-four carats, no one will consider!

Let’s put the gold in a big round pot

And tie to it a sign with a very large knot!”

The Elves acted like nothing but hooligans, 

Dancing around and singing like fooligans. 

Then when most of the Elves weren’t listening,

One tiny Leprechaun’s eyes were glistening!

“Basil, let me tell you the secret of the Shamrock.

A faerie told me once while I slept on a hammock.

My name is Dizzy from the family of McDoodles.

I love Ireland oodles and oodles. 

Now the three little leaves on the end of the stem

Are faith, hope, and love—an Irish gem.

The Shamrocks aren’t a lucky charm,

But a blessing that grows on a hillside farm.

The Elves think the Shamrocks are magic!

This attitude is nothing but tragic. 

‘Cause faith gives you ability to believe,

While hope gives you the strength to achieve,

And love covers over a long list of wrong.

The three together make you happy and strong.

Elves in the village thought they’ve found luck.

They forget about love, at times, to make a buck.

But this is why the Shamrocks taste so good. 

Faith, hope, and love—now you’ve understood.”

In the meantime, Hancocks was practicing flight.

He stood on the beams in the barn at night

And imagined himself flying from the rafters,

Full of joy and fun and hearty laughters!

But then Mr. Hancocks faltered on the beams,

Knowing the ground is farther than it seems.

He was afraid that he might soon be bacon, 

Fear overtook him, and he felt forsaken. 

“I really need wings more than I thought!”

The pig curled his tail, a little distraught. 

And when the Elves tried to sell him gold, 

The pig was quick with a scold fourfold.

He rolled in the hay in the farmer’s barn,

“My, my, Elves spin tales just like yarn!”

Just when Hancocks was about to give up,

Basil stopped by with his measuring cup.

He filled his empty green wheelbarrows

With clover like straight, steel arrows.

He said: “Eat two cups of clover a day, 

You’ll be able to fly, fly away!”

The pig said: “I’m telling you in advance.

That I need more than luck and chance.

I thought that faith would be enough,

But dread and doubts are very tough.”

Basil said: “A Leprechaun told me a riddle!

Luck and faith are second fiddle. 

You need hope with love to persevere.

The answer is sparkling, crystal clear.

Eat the Shamrocks each dinner and lunch.

They’ll fill you with love! I have a hunch.

I’ve tried it myself, and it works for sure. 

It’s not just lies or phony Irish lore. 

One leaf has faith—your beloved motto.

Then hope and love with much vibrato!”

The pig said: “Elves are nasty thieves.

Faith, hope, and love are scrumptious leaves!”

Hancocks gobbled up the Shamrocks at once.

No luck—Basil looked a little like a dunce. 

Soon as Hancocks ate the three-leaf plant,

He grew wings and soared with an Irish chant.

“Never think luck or faith is enough!

Love and hope are the truest stuff!”

He flew from the highest rafter to the clouds, 

Looking down at Leprechaun crowds.

So, Basil stopped selling his gold to fools.

Instead, he sold Shamrocks like precious jewels. 

And Hancocks was famous as a pig with wings, 

Who understood love was the wealth of kings.

And I, as a faerie, shared the wisdom of the wise,

Like I did to the Leprechaun with glistening eyes!

May the luck of the Irish be with you every day,

But luck is not enough, as St. Patrick would say.

Faith, hope, and love—be with you ‘till the end. 

May the road rise up to your feet at every bend. 


Copyright 2017 Jennifer Waters

Dedicated to Bono, also known as Paul David Hewson: 
"Luckily, we don't believe in luck."

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