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By: Kaitlyn Hull

     In the old days, long before Ireland was called Ireland, before history was considered
history, there lived a young man named Smorgan Braniff. His pants were too short for his skinny
legs, his shoes were a bit too small for his blistered feet, and his sandy hair was always tangled in
knots. He was an only child, but the shack his family called home was still too small for them.
There were a lot of things he wished were different in their life. He wished that their crops would
stop failing, and he wished that his mother would get better. He wished he had something more
to eat than cabbage soup, and he wished that he could have some new clothes. Most of all, he
wished he could do something to help his family.

     Much of Smorgan’s time was spent in the small field his family owned, and there he
tended to the meager crops alongside his aging father. Each day was harder and harder for his
father, and Smorgan’s responsibilities grew more and more arduous. While the farm struggled for
many reasons, the birds that constantly flew around were perhaps the most burdensome. They
were always flocking in great numbers, and they would attempt to steal whatever crops grew
through the rocky soil. In order to scare them off, Smorgan would toss small rocks in their
direction. His aim quickly improved, but the birds still came back.

     A small dirt road ran alongside the farm, winding its way through the hills until it reached
the town where the queen lived. Occasionally, various travelers would pass by, from messengers
heading to the castle to caravans of merchants hoping to sell their goods at the market.

     One day, while Smorgan was laboring in his field, he heard a big clatter coming from the
little road. He rushed over to find that a passing traveler had lost control of her wagon and had
crashed, losing a wheel in the process. A single horse stood nearby, now grazing on some golden
grass, as if trying to ignore what had just happened.

     The woman stood stooped over, and had a dark cloak obscuring much of her details.
Long ash-gray hair spilled like a couple of waterfalls from her hood, and her cold eyes
practically glowed silver. She smiled when she saw Smorgan approaching. “Boy, would you help
an old merchant fix her wagon?”

     “Of course, ma’am,” replied Smorgan, hardly waiting for a reply before he ran to grab
some of his father’s rusty tools. It was not long before he had the wheel back on the wagon, and
once he was done, he took a step back to admire his work. “There,” he said. “All fixed.”

     “Thank you, boy,” the woman said. “You have a pure heart, and for that, I want to give
you something.” She immediately reached into her tattered cloak with a bony hand and pulled
out a rolled piece of parchment, handing it carefully to Smorgan as if it were the most precious
thing in the world.

     Smorgan accepted the gift and gingerly unrolled the paper. He was surprised to see a
beautifully rendered map drawn onto it, but he didn’t know what it had to do with anything. His
eyes quickly scanned over the inkwork, passing over unfamiliar locations. There were strange
symbols drawn beside many of the places, and he quickly realized they must have been words.
He had never been taught to read. Smorgan was just about to look up when he discovered
something he had missed before. There, at the bottom left corner was a rainbow, and underneath,
a pot of gold.



     A way to help his family.

     He had heard the stories before, of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but they had
always been just that. Stories. Besides, there were rainbows all over the land, and no one knew
which one housed the famous golden treasure. Now he had a map, a way to get there, and a way
to help his desperate family. When Smorgan looked up, he was surprised to see that the old
merchant had completely disappeared, as if she had never been there in the first place. The only
thing that suggested she had even passed by was the map now nestled safely in Smorgan’s hands.

     The next morning, Smorgan left his home. He told his parents that he was going on a
quest, and that he would be back as soon as possible. Part of him felt awful for leaving them
behind, but if he was successful, their troubles would be over. With him, he brought a couple
loaves of bread, his old hatchet, and a pouch that would be used to store the gold.

     Days passed, and storms came and went. Smorgan trekked through fields of purple
heather and over rocky hills. He waded through vibrant rivers and walked through lush forests.
He feasted on berries and small game as he went, and he was never in want, for the land
provided for him. It wasn’t much longer before he found a wide valley, practically empty except
for a couple of tall trees. They stood strong and straight, like a couple of lonely sentinels.
Between the two trees was a wide rainbow, a band of color and beauty arching across the sky and
landing carefully between the two trees.

     Smorgan had found it. The end of the rainbow.