The ancient Irish saw dwarves as evil & left them to die in the desolate parts of the country. Some of them didn't die & formed struggling villages instead. When the Vikings came things turn around for these villages. By trading with Vikings they became rich & began to actively buy dwarf children. This strengthened the notion among the Irish that dwarves are not mere lepers, but cons as well. The term "lepercon" sounds different in Gaelic, but its English sound explains their name. In fairness antipathy existed on both sides. The "lepercons" saw the Irish as cruel & despicable people who abandoned them for death. Occasionally battles between the two occur in the Viking era where before the Irish ignored them as minor peasants. The Vikings though keep the "Lepercons" from losing too bad as they were the most sympathetic to the Vikings. They did fear intermixing with lepercons more then they did with the Irish.
When the English came the "lepercons" again side with the invaders. The English had similar miscegenation taboos as the Vikings, but elevated them still further. They also call them leprechauns, instead of "lepercons" to make them more noble. The Reformation would sadly divide this unique people. The Protestant half begins mixing with the English who, inaccurately, say that the previous prohibitions were "Papist superstitions".
As for the Catholic leprechauns they were initially allowed to keep their wealth, but lost some power & the Irish people still largely despised them. At this point it was more for being constantly on the enemy's side than the traditional superstitions by now. However starting with Cromwell they began to lose land. At first this land is given to the Anglican "Leperchaun Ascendancy" which mollifies them some. They perhaps should hate them more than anyone, but they still had feelings of Leperchaun unity or Pan-Leperchaunism at this point. This weakened as the Protestant Leperchauns increasingly lost their cultural identity, & diminished height. Mixing with the Anglican Ascendancy had advantages and their leaders promoted assimilation.
By the time of the Hanoverians things had gotten much worse for the Catholic leperchauns. The English saw these lepercons (the name has reverted as the Protestant leprechauns are now primarily normal statured Anglican lords) as potential Jacobites. A few were involved in funding Bonny Prince Charlie which justified repression. They became landless and worse yet the land was not even given to their Protestant cousins.
Some found sympathy with the Irish, but most found little. Many went to the colonies with some of them or their descendants fighting in the Revolutionary War on the US side. The ones who left Ireland as children after Culloden are mostly dwarves and sadly they are used as cannon fodder. A smaller amount went to Canada, Australia, & the Continent.
In our day these are mostly normal stature through intermixing, but a fair amount intermarried amongst themselves because they kept the strong sense of separateness the others had lost. So their are "Leprechaun Societies" in towns like Boston, Halifax, & Chicago. These are a kind of cross between "Knights of Columbus" & "Little People of America". You might see them at some St. Patrick's Day celebrations.
As for those who stayed in Ireland, those landless friendless "lepercons" catch a break in the 19th c. By this time they were as poor as their struggling ancestors in pre-Viking days, but they earned respect during the potato famine. Some of them begged from the Leperchaun-descended lords who took pity on them and gave them food which they generously shared with the Irish. This was largely out of self preservation as they know sooner or later they'll need their help, but it still won them friends. A sense begins that they are not "others", but true Irish. The New Nationalist movements like Young Ireland, etc. accept them. Although mostly assmilated some in the "Leperchaun Ascendancy" also joined in this change. The Irish Catholic bishops began to demand they be allowed to go to non-lepercon Churches if they want. Eventually some joined Sinn Fein and later held positions in the Irish government. They divided over the row between Collins and De Valera, but with less destructive results then the Reformation division. They are now a successful, educated element of a rapidly modernizing Ireland. Largely not dwarves anymore, even in Ireland, they have kept a strong sense of "Leperchaun" pride within the larger vein of Irish patriotism.
Copyright © 2003 by Thomas R.