St. Pats Day is a day set aside to enjoy your/our Irish culture. For those not of Irish descent, it is also a day to enjoy being Irish! Whichever and however St Pats is celebrated in your world, always remember that to be truly Irish, humor cannot be be separated from all aspects of the Irish culture! And this includes using all kinds of idioms to describe the luck of the Irish! In the story that follows there are 46 examples of the idiom “luck of the Irish”!. How many can you find? There is only one that may be tricky so have some fun.
(An idiom is defined as a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words (e.g., raining cats and...dogs) and is natural to a language, person, or group of people.
St. Patrick (The other story) (author unknown)
Most people know all the stories about St. Patrick's Day, but Patrick Delaney had been told by his Pa that the real story was a lot different. One St. Patrick's Day his Pa told this story:
Once upon a time in Ireland lived a man who was always dressed in green. Green hat, green shirt and tie, green pants and belt and green shoes and socks. (to be quite honest his skin was a little green too, but some said that was because he only bathed in Irish bogs so his skin was a moss color.) Some people said that once he was a lucky man when he had a lucky streak. His string of good luck started when he bought a sack of potatoes and when he opened the sack he found a small pot of gold. When he sold the gold he had enough money to buy a small house. After he bought his house he became good friends with his neighbors and thought himself to be a lucky dog to have lucked out. One night there was a terrible storm that knocked down everyone's house in the village except his. He seemed to be having a lucky streak. His neighbors asked him how he had been so lucky. He said to them, "When I heard the wind starting to blow I wished upon a lucky star, and it worked!" They thought that his luck was more about the gold that he found, but he replied with the Yiddish Proverb, "Better an ounce o f luck than a pound of gold." They didn't understand what he meant by that and he had to explain to them that even though he had found a pot of gold, if his house had blown down he wouldn't have anything left. It was only string of good luck that saved his house and his good fortune! They said to him, "Well you can thank your lucky stars that you found the pot of gold in the first place." He felt sorry for his neighbors because they had had tough luck. He knew that it was only the luck of the draw that had saved his house. Sometimes it is just pure luck when good things happen to you. His next door neighbor called him a lucky dog but the little green man said, "You have to be good to be lucky" His neighbor said it was only the the luck of the Irish that had saved only his house. He agreed with his neighbor, his good luck was just that. Good luck. He felt guilty that he had been so lucky, but what could he do about it? He didn't want to give his house away just because he had been lucky. He was a good man though, and he decided that he would leave it up to luck, whether he would get to keep his house. He called his neighbor over and said to him that he would give his house away to his neighbor if he could do one simple thing. His neighbor thought that he might have a stroke of good luck. His neighbor knew that he had lucked out. No one gives away their house based upon a "simple thing"! What a lucky break! (he thought!) His neighbor had been really down on his luck. He had just lost his job the week before the wind knocked his house down. "What do I have to do?" asked the neighbor. The man in green said, "I've written down a famous Irish saying that talks about luck. All you have to do is tell me what the famous expression is." His neighbor said, "Wow that's easy, it has to be: It’s wishing you joy, I’ll be havin’ you know, and wherever you go." "Wrong, check the paper, it says : If you’re lucky enough to be Irish……you’re lucky enough." said the little man in green. "Well darn my luck," said his neighbor. At this point in the story all the neighbors wanted to get in on the contest. They all wanted to win the little green man's house for themselves. One of his nicer neighbors didn't think it was a very smart for the little green man to give away his house in such a risky way urged the little green man to quit this silliness and said, "Don't push your luck, you don't want to lose your house just because you are so generous and your neighbors are so greedy." The little green man said to him, "I appreciate you looking out for me, but I'm going to do this, why don't you try your luck ?" This neighbor said, "OK if you want to push your luck, I'll give it a try. You probably said: May good fortune be yours, may your joys never end." He was wrong, the paper said, "Like the warmth of the sun and the light of the day, may the luck of the Irish shine bright on your way." One more thighbone wanted to try his luck but the little green man said to him, "You should be so lucky, I'm not going to push my luck again!"
By this time the little green man was feeling pretty good about himself and his string of good luck.
He was also in a mood to make a few jokes and said, "I look like a million dollars -- green and wrinkled." His friends and neighbors all agreed with him about looking green and wrinkled and wished he could buy some new clothes and take a bath in a bathtub, because besides looking green he also smelled green. (if you know what I mean) He then said, "I know how to confuse an Irishman -- lean three shovels against a wall and then say "Take your pick.""
His neighbors were angry that he would tell a racist joke. They didn't think it was funny making fun of being Irish. He had pushed his luck too far this time. His neighbors decided that they didn't like him any more, the luck of the Irish seemed to be leaving him. Had his lucky break in finding the pot of gold finally ended? Had his lucky streak ended? It had! The next week there was a fire and his house burned down. He was ruined. He didn't have any money or a house and all of his former neighbors (he thought they were friends) hated him for making stupid jokes about Irishmen and were sick of looking at and smelling his greenness. He felt in disgrace and went back to living in the bogs and got even greener over the years. But the story of his string of good luck and how it had turned into bad luck became a legend in Ireland.
When Patrick's dad finished this story Patrick looked up to his dad and asked him, "Pa, what was the little green man's name, you never said." Pa's dad looked at him and quietly said, "His name was Patrick, just like yours, he was your great, great, great, great grandpa and you are named after him." Patrick thought about this for a while and then asked his dad if he would ever have a string of good luck. His Pa thought for a while and said, "There's a famous saying that goes like this:I am a great believer in luck and the harder I work the more of it I have. A famous man called Stephen B. Leacock said that."
"But Pa, I don't understand, what does that mean?", said Patrick. His Pa looked at Patrick and said, "Here's another way of saying it: Nothing brings you good luck so much as not relying on it." Patrick was getting a little frustrated, his dad was being too smart for him. Patrick wished his dad would just give him a simple explanation so he asked him again, "But Pa...." His dad made one more attempt and said, "Well son, a famous movie actress Shirley Temple Black once said, "Good luck needs no explanation." Patrick groaned and said, "the luck of the Irish isn't with me right now, can I go out and play?"
"Sure," said his Pa, "You're a lucky dog that you can go out and play, I have work to do. " Patrick replied with a grin on his face, "You have to be good to be lucky Pa." His Pa thought, "I hope that boy's got the luck of the Irish but I really lucked out with that son of mine. I can thank my lucky stars for that lad what a lucky break that he's such a good boy. I never got to tell him that the little green Patrick in the story came to be known as St. Patrick."
May the sound of happy music, And the lilt of Irish laughter, fill your heart with gladness, that stays forever after.