Sidey’s Weekend Theme is “rainbow”…
I emerged from the wood, stared into the meadow ahead of me, and drew in my breath, not daring to believe that a lifetime’s work had reached fruition. A quest that had lasted for years, so many years of ridicule from my peers, divorce from my wife and a nose-running cold from the rain had finally come to an end.
Professor Jones could keep his Ark of the Covenant, his Temple of Doom and his collection of Ozymandias’s trunkless legs of stone (Collection? He only had two of them, I snorted to myself), this topped them all.
There in front of me was the End of the Rainbow.
Not many people know that there is only one Rainbow, eternally crossing the world following the sun and staying just ahead of the rain. Since I was always just behind it I had spent all of the time in the rain, hence my cold.
Over the years finding the End of it had become my Holy Grail, though obviously I would have preferred to have found the Holy Grail.
The End was so elusive. I would almost get there and then it would stretch away again. It was the meteorological equivalent of reading the Game of Thrones books, every time you think you’ve finished you find that there’s yet another book to wade through.
I crept toward it, staring in awe at the colours that I’d known by heart since childhood – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and strawberry.
When the teacher had taught us the nmemonic at school I hadn’t been paying attention, and had heard it as Richard Of York Gave Battle In Spain.
Just where the rainbow touched – no, sank gently into – the earth sat a small man. He was dressed all in green, a miniature Robin Hood, and had teardrop-shaped ears, a miniature Bambi. He was clearly the fabled leprechaun who guards the End of the Rainbow. I approached him and addressed him in his native tongue.
“Top o’ the morning’ to ye,” I said.
“Don’t patronise me,” snapped the leprechaun. “Darby O’Gill and the Little People was not a documentary. Here in Ireland we do not say “Begorrah”, we do not have pigs in our parlour and when Irish eyes are smiling it’s not simply because we’re pissed.” He thought for a second. “Well, maybe the last one.”
“You really are a leprechaun,” I said in astonishment.
“And you really are a human,” he replied. “Is this some sort of game where we tell the other person things they already know? Because if so, you’ve a drip hanging off the end of your nose.”
I wiped at it with my sleeve.
“Yuck,” said the leprechaun.
I stared at him. “An actual leprechaun,” I said. “So all of the legend is true – the End Of The Rainbow, the leprechaun, the -”
“Not all of the legend is true,” said the leprechaun quickly. Too quickly.
“So you’re saying,” I said slowly, watching his embarrassment mount, “that the bit about the crock of gold -”
“Is a crock of -”
“You spent it all, didn’t you?” I said.
He look horrified. “I most certainly did not,” he said. “That would be a breach of honour.”
“Then where is it?”
He looked down and mumbled. “I dumped it,” he said.
“Have you ever tried carrying a cauldron full of metal all around the world for all eternity? I’m surprised my arms don’t drag along the ground as I walk. And one day I figured, well, no-one’s ever going to find the Rainbow’s End so why am I bothering? So I just left it down and kept walking.”
“When was this?” I asked.
He shrugged. “Centuries ago,” he said.
I stood up. “Then I have a new quest,” I said determinedly.
“Really?” said the leprechaun. “So you didn’t give a stuff about the End of the Rainbow at all? It’s all about the money, if you’ll forgive the Jessie J impersonation.”
“Er, no,” I said. “It’s um, still scientific research.”
“Yeah, right,” said the leprechaun.
“Shut up,” I riposted brilliantly. “Now, where did you leave it?”
The leprechaun smiled. “Atlantis,” he said.