Updated date:

Madschun, a Turkish Fairy Tale

As a children's book illustrator, Denise has many things to say about the process, her struggles, and children's books on the market today.

The illustration from Madschun, A Turkish Fairy Tale

The illustration from Madschun, A Turkish Fairy Tale

Fairy Tales From Around The World

Last year, I finished a children’s alphabet book using fairy tales and folk tales from around the world as the theme. It was so much fun for me to illustrate using my collage method that I couldn’t wait to get it published and distributed. So I went to Lulu and got my first alphabet book published: The FairyTale Alphabet Book, Fairy Tales and Folk Tales from Around the World, available only on Lulu.

After I danced the happy dance at my success, I noticed that there were a lot more fairy tales out there that I didn’t use, enough to make a whole series using global fairy tales and folk tales. Thus the conception of my second alphabet book began. I have only been working on it since February and so I haven’t finished very many of the illustrations. Here is the thirteenth letter in the new book for the letter M.

The thumbnail possibilities

The thumbnail possibilities

Madschun, a Turkish Fairy Tale

There once was a young lad who had a strange disorder that kept him from growing any hair. One day this lad happened to see the daughter of the Sultan and decided he was going to marry her. He sent his mother to tell the Sultan that he was in love with his daughter and wanted to marry her. The Sultan then told the mother to have her son come and see him, but when he saw the boy he made up his mind he should not marry his daughter. He devised an impossible task for the boy to do to get rid of him. He told the boy he needed to gather all the birds in the world and bring them to the palace gardens. The boy worked every day and only had gathered a few dozen birds when he became discouraged. He wondered how he could ever gather all the birds for the Sultan when he happened to met a dervish, a holy man, so he asked for his help. The dervish told him to go to a certain tree at almost sundown and wait in the shadow of the tree. At sundown, all the birds in the world would gather there and roost for the night. He was to wait till they were all sitting and say, “madschun” which would cause them to freeze in place. He would then be able to gather them safely and take them to the Sultan’s gardens.

The next day the Sultan could not believe his eyes. The boy had accomplished the impossible. He had to think quickly. When the boy came to him, he said the first thing that popped into him mind. “You may marry my daughter when you have grown a full head of hair.” The boy went away upset and discouraged. When he got home, he heard the news that the Sultan had announced his daughter, the princess, was to marry a wazir’s son. That is when he knew that the Sultan had never intended to let him marry the princess even though he had accomplished the first task. He went back to the palace and hid until the princess, the wazir, and his son, as well as the Sultan’s wife, were all in one room, and he said “madschun.” They froze where they were and could not be moved.

The Sultan was at a loss as to what to do. He sent for all the wise men and magicians in the kingdom but no one could undo the spell. Finally, a wise man told him that he had wronged someone and must make it right before his daughter could be released from the spell. The Sultan then new if was the boy he had wronged, so he sent for him. When the Sultan’s ministers arrived at his home, the boy hid. He had told his mother to tell them that the boy had left and she didn’t know where he had gone. The ministers of the Sultan begged the boy’s mother to help find him but she told them she was poor and didn’t have money for travel. The ministers gave her a bag of gold and left. The boy then went to the palace and told the Sultan he could free everyone if the Sultan promised to let him marry his daughter. When the Sultan finally agreed, the boy freed everyone and married the princess.

“O, to be sure, we laugh less and play less and wear uncomfortable disguises like adults, but beneath the costume is the child we always are, whose needs are simple, whose daily life is still best described by fairy tales.”

— Leo Rosten

I had to remember that the boy had no hair.  Here is the thumbnail I chose.

I had to remember that the boy had no hair. Here is the thumbnail I chose.

Collage Illustrations

I looked through several photo references for boys and birds. In the end, I used a good stock photo I had found in Pixabay of a boy and if the wax-wing birds. I hope you enjoy seeing my progress on the collage. Sometimes after finishing the collage, I need to make a background layer using Photoshop. I decided this one needs a little blue sky color.

Value Sketch

Value Sketch

Will Be Published with Lulu

This fairy tale has been shortened to fit into my book along with all the other letters of the alphabet. If you would like to read the full version, you can Google the title and find the story as Madschun. I expect to be finished with the whole book and ready to publish by early next year.

The most beautiful things in the world must be felt with the heart.

— Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Hidden Pictures

In my collages, I use paper from magazines, old wall calendars, catalogs, and circulars. Often I will add things into a collage you can't see unless you are looking for it like hidden pictures. This collage contains a class photo of children holding their favorite things, a bucking bronco, a Greek temple, bluefish, 3 goldfish, and a little blue fairy with butterfly wings.

Color Composition

Color Composition

“When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.”

— Albert Einstein

Final Thoughts

Did you like this story’s ending? I thought the boy although not really disabled, was certainly visually challenged and many should be able to relate. He was judged on his looks, which isn’t really fair. The Sultan was certainly in the wrong by going back on his word.

I hope you like my story and my fairy tale alphabet book idea. If you are interested you can purchase the first one on Lulu but not on Amazon. I’d love to read your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

Comments

Ann Carr from SW England on October 05, 2020:

Yes that thought did cross my mind too! Fairy tales are full of that, sadly.

Ann

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on October 04, 2020:

Ann Carr,

Yes, the sultan was outwitted but the girl never got a choice in the matter. I thought that was sad. Very American of me to think like that. Oh well. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Ann Carr from SW England on October 03, 2020:

You never disappoint with your beautiful art and magical tales, Denise.

I haven't come across a story like this. I'm glad the boy got his girl and the sultan was outwitted.

Ann

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 28, 2020:

MG Singh emge,

I agree that fairy tales are fun. I like finding fairy tales no one has heard before, or at least, very few people have heard. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 27, 2020:

Anupam Mitu,

It is true, some of the hidden pictures are small and can best be seen in the video. But you should be able to see them in the finished collage if you can enlarge it a bit. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

MG Singh emge from Singapore on September 26, 2020:

Hadn't read this tale before. great to read it. Fairy tales are always fun

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 26, 2020:

Raymond Philippe,

I'm not sure you could say I'm patient but maybe pursistant. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 26, 2020:

Devika Primić,

I know this is the children's corner of your day but it is always nice to have something sweet and non-political to read the first thing. I love that they have morals too. Words of wisdom are always helpful. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 26, 2020:

Linda Crampton,

The world is full of wonderful stories and people with great imagination. I love sharing them. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 26, 2020:

RoadMonkey,

I'm sure I've heard of freezing things before but this is the first time I heard it in a fairy tale myself. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Anupam Mitu from MUMBAI on September 26, 2020:

Denise, you are just wonderful. Loved the story as well as your collage description. You are so creative. I enlarged the pics and tried to find the various things you used for the collage but failed to find that.

Oh got that! It's in the video

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 25, 2020:

Marie Flint,

Yes, I noticed that too. That poor princess may or may not have even liked the boy. But in that culture, her feelings in the matter were not even considered. Maybe I should rewrite the story to mention something about her. I don't know. That would tamper with the cultural norms of that country though. It's a tough decision. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 25, 2020:

Mary Norton,

Me too, Mary. There are so many times I have thought it would be so helpful to have magic words like this. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 25, 2020:

Bill Holland,

Yes, that's it. I simplify the details. You understand so much. Thanks for being my fan and always commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Raymond Philippe from The Netherlands on September 25, 2020:

I never say no to a happy ending. That is why I was happy with the ending of the fairy tale. I really liked your illustrations. I love people who are so creative and I envy your patience ;-)

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on September 25, 2020:

Denise you never stop to amaze me of your beautiful work. Tales that are new to me and so much to grasp from what I see as interesting, and most useful to all.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on September 24, 2020:

I love your depiction of the birds. The fairy tale is unusual. It's also interesting, like all the stories that you share!

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 24, 2020:

Eric Dierker,

He reminded me of that too. My daughter grows her hair long and then donates it to Locks of Love every year or so for children with cancer or other diseases like this boys. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 24, 2020:

Lorna Lamon,

You made me laugh. That's a good word too. Too bad we can't use a magic word to freeze things. I have a few loud dogs and rambunxious people I'd like to freeze. It may be a good thing in the middle of spilling something too. You know how a spill always looks like it happens in slow motion and there is nothing to stop it? Wouldn't it be great to stop it with one word? I always thought so. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 24, 2020:

Ankita B,

I'm glad you like them as much as I do. I could read fairy tales all day long. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 24, 2020:

Rosina S Khan,

I liked that he managed to get a bag of gold for his mother at the same time. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

RoadMonkey on September 24, 2020:

Unusual story. I have never heard of people being frozen in place before. These are great stories and great morals to them as well.

Marie Flint from Jacksonville, FL USA on September 24, 2020:

Idiosyncrasies (in my mind): 1) that the magic word also worked on people, and 2) that the princess' feelings were not considered. What if she had a fetish for bald heads? We'll never know.

I loved the final collage of the waxwing birds! So sweet.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on September 24, 2020:

I wish I have such a magic word. Another work so well done.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 24, 2020:

Such lovely work, my friend. Simplicity with detail, or detailed with simplicity...not sure which, but you make it look so easy even though I am absolutely positive it isn't. Well done!

Blessings always

bill

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 24, 2020:

Most excellent which I have just come to expect in this wonderful series. The color in the end sold me on the collage.

I support St. Jude's for children with cancer. The hairless head reminded me of this. Hmm?

Lorna Lamon on September 24, 2020:

Once again you have captured the essence of this tale in your wonderful collage Denise. I'm glad the boy won his princess in the end and the only word I can think of to freeze someone is 'immobulus', which Hermione used to freeze the pixes.

Ankita B on September 23, 2020:

Lovely story. I always love to read your fairy tales along with the beautiful illustrations.

Rosina S Khan on September 23, 2020:

A nice fairly tale with perfect ending, representing the letter M. Beautiful collage.The boy outwitted the king and won his daughter for marriage. That simply is amazing. Good article, Denise.