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U3A Writing: Crock Of Gold

…eventually Granny chastised us for being bold and then she quietly told us that the pot was so old, that she believed it might belong to a Leprechaun, and it could be his crock of gold…

And Granny was not too far from the mark, as Dick Nolan’s wonderful story reveals.

It was always in our granny's garden just behind the hen house, a very big old garden pot filled with lovely pansies. It was called a 'stone' pot, but as children we paid it little attention.

The hen house was a small building built of slabs of a shale-type stone which had a thatched roof. At the back of the building was the egg door where we could reach into the laying boxes to collect the eggs, and it was near the egg door that this old pot stood.

One day while playing about, we children knocked over the pot and it was too heavy for us to put it back, so eventually Granny chastised us for being bold and then she quietly told us that the pot was so old, that she believed it might belong to a Leprechaun, and it could be his crock of gold, so we should always keep away from it. She said it was there when she was growing up.

The effect of her story remained with us for many long years.

Our granny died in 1945, and later one of our uncles took over the farm. But still we visited as we grew older and went our own ways. Once, after our grandfather's death, I noticed that Granny's garden was being neglected but the old Pot was still there, even though covered by a gooseberry bush growing wild.

We were all there once more after a family funeral recently – twenty-nine of us - first cousins, and as usual after a meal we all 'walked the land'. We looked at the crops and discussed all the changes that had taken place. Eventually we came back to the old calves field. It had always been used to keep the calves close for feeding and supervision, and it was behind the hay shed, where it was well sheltered.

We sat around on some straw bales, with a few drinks and we told many stories about our school holidays spent on the farm. My cousin, who now runs the farm, broached the subject of the old pot.

"You'll never guess what I found last year," he said. "The old pot from Granny's day. I was clearing up near the old henhouse when I found it, covered in weeds. I didn't like to throw it out after all our granny's stories so I put it here behind some old machinery."

Well, we all walked over to examine the old pot and then the stories came. We all had such wonderful memories of our granny sitting down with her egg basket beside the old pot and we remembered clearly her stories.

As the afternoon faded we decided to have a good look at the old pot, so we emptied it out - no gold - but with the help of a good wash under the hose we discovered it was from Germany and it was dated 1648.

Later that evening it was agreed that one of my city cousins would make some effort to value the old Pot.

I had returned to Australia, some months later, when my cousin phoned me to say what we thought was a ‘stone’ pot was actually a rare porcelain water cooler, and it had been valued at being in excess of 3000 Euros.

A crock of gold indeed.

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