The weather was warm for that time of year. Loria was sweating even in her light wool sweater. Her shoes were muddy and her red hair was caked to her face from her trek through the woods. But the dirt and sweat were a small price to pay for the view as she gazed upon the lake, shimmering in the rising sun.
Loria was halfway around the lake when the sun glinted off an object, nearly blinding her. It was a big, black kettle, filled to the brim with small pieces of pure gold. Her mouth gaped. She picked up a piece and examined it.
“Hey! Don't touch my breakfast!”
Loria dropped the piece on the ground and looked around frantically; she'd thought she was alone. A goat sauntered up to her and, picking up the dropped piece of gold with its mouth, began eating the precious metal. Loria just stared. The goat picked up another piece and held it out to her.
“Uh, no. I thought gold was supposed to be guarded by leprechauns.”
“Meh. That's a horrid myth put forth by short, greedy Irishmen trying to steal our gold. Goats are the true keepers. In payment, we get to eat a couple pieces a day. Want one? They're tasty.”
The goat shrugged his shoulders, then, gripping the handle of the kettle, disappeared with his loot. Loria shook her head in disbelief and went home to take a nap.
**Won third for this in a SF&F flash fiction (under 250 words) contest in SL.**