James Stephens

The Crock of Gold

A philosopher sets out to rescue the beautiful Caitilin Ni Murrachu from the god Pan in an adventure that involves leprechauns, Celtic gods, policemen, and philosophical disquisitions both profound and absurd.

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When the ancient god Pan appears in Ireland and the beautiful Caitilin Ni Murrachu decides to follow him, her father asks an old philosopher to deliver her back. In his quest, the philosopher requests the help of the Celtic god of love, experiences catharsis, and is apprehended by policemen tipped off by leprechauns, provoking a second rescue mission—for himself.

It is through this humorous mixture of philosophy and Irish folklore that James Stephens presents deep philosophical questions and social commentary. The novel’s meandering plot sets the stage for contrasts between man and woman, city and countryside, and virtue and vice.

First published in 1912, The Crock of Gold is the book that established James Stephens’ fame.