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Qasim, the King of Crocodiles, an Indian 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.

Qasim, King of the Crocodiles illustration

Qasim, King of the Crocodiles illustration

Fairy Tales and Folk 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. I have only been working on the second alphabet book since February. Here is the seventeenth letter in the new book for the letter Q.

Thumbnail Roughs for King of the Crocodiles

Thumbnail Roughs for King of the Crocodiles

Qasim, The King of Crocodiles, An Indian Fairy Tale

Long ago in India, there was a farmer who had some land near the river. He would often go out and find most of his crop destroyed by crocodiles lying on the young green wheat sunning themselves. He tried to shoo them back into the water but they paid no attention to him and only laughed when he waved his arms about in a rage. Day after day this happened until he began throwing rocks at them. This made them awaken and charge at him until he fell to his knees and begged them not to hurt him.

The crocodiles told him that they would not hurt him or lay on his wheat any longer if he agreed to give his beautiful daughter to Qasim, the King of the Crocodiles for a wife. If he refused they promised to eat him. Thinking only of himself, the farmer agreed. When the farmer returned home and told his wife, she was very unhappy. Their daughter was promised to marry into a very rich family and their fortunes would be secure. Now all would be lost. So the farmer’s wife convinced the farmer not to honor his promise to the crocodiles.

As the wedding day drew near the bridegroom died unexpectedly and so the farmer’s daughter was free to marry someone else. Since she was very beautiful, she received many offers of marriage but each future bridegroom either became sick or died. Finally, the girl became very sick and the farmer’s wife agreed that all the bad luck was because of the farmer’s promise to the crocodiles and agreed that she should marry the King of the Crocodiles. As soon as they agreed, a great bridal procession came to escort the girl to the river. They brought beautiful clothes and jewels and henna for staining the bride’s hands. Still, the girl was very sorrowful thinking she would be eaten or drowned.

As the bridal procession played music, marching with trays full of jewels, sweets, and garments, all of the crocodiles dressed in the riches clothes, Qasim, the King of the Crocodiles arrived arrayed in gold and gems to escort his bride. Qasim gave the farmer a red brick and said that if he should ever wish to see his daughter, to throw it into the river. The magnificence should have comforted the bride but she wept all the way to the river. When they arrived, the river parted for them and a path to the bottom of the river appeared. The crocodiles and the girl all proceeded to the bottom of the river and it closed around them, leaving the farmer and his wife on the shore wondering at their daughter’s fate.

The farmer and his wife were doing well now that the crocodiles no longer ruined their crops but they both missed their daughter and wondered what had become of her. The farmer decided to see what would happen if he threw the brick into the river so they went down to the riverbank and as soon as the brick hit the water, it parted for them the way it had for the wedding party. The farmer and his wife gathered their courage and followed the path lined with jewels to the bottom where they came upon a large palace with a golden roof. The sentry guarding the front was not a crocodile so the farmer asked, “Whose palace is this?” The sentry said it belonged to the Qasim, King of the Crocodiles and the farmer smiled.

“Our daughter has this splendid palace to live in! Too bad her husband is not as splendid.”

The farmer’s daughter was sitting beside an open window and happened to see her father and mother below. She called out the window and said that she couldn’t leave the palace until her husband came home and then they could come in. The couple was overjoyed that she was alive but weren’t surprised that their poor daughter was afraid of such a terrible husband. At that moment a handsome young Prince dressed in gold armor along with many footmen rode upon horses. The farmer’s wife fell at the gold horseman’s feet and begged for his help. “I am a poor farmer’s wife and my daughter has been carried off by the terrible King of the Crocodiles. Can you help me?”

“I am the King of the Crocodiles,” the handsome young Prince said. “And your daughter is a good wife. She will be glad to see you.”

There was great joy at the reunion of the parents and their daughter. They feasted together for days. One day the farmer asked if the daughter could come to visit them at their farm when they go back to dry land and Qasim said no. “But I will give you a house and land here if you like. You can stay and live with us.” After discussing it together, the farmer and his wife decided to stay forever.

Thumbnail drawing for Qasim, King of the Crocodiles

Thumbnail drawing for Qasim, King of the Crocodiles

Collage Illustrations

I looked through several photo references of crocodiles and Indian girls. In the end, I used a good stock photo I had found in Pixabay of a crocodile along with bunches of flowers and a crown. I hope you enjoy seeing my progress on the collage. Sometimes after finishing the collage, I need to make a background layer using Photoshop. This one didn’t seem to need one.

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 The King of the Crocodiles. I just may be finished with the whole book and ready to publish by the end of this year.

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 the head of a girl, the head of a boy with a hat, and two birds.

Color Composition

Color Composition

The most important thing is this: to be ready at any moment to sacrifice what you are for what you could become.

— Charles Dickens

Final Thoughts

Did you like this story’s ending? I thought the idea of sacrificing your daughter to a crocodile was a bit gruesome but it turned out to be a magical crocodile so I guess that makes it a true fairy tale.

I hope you like my story and my fairy tale alphabet book idea. If you are interested you can purchase the first one alphabet book on Lulu or Amazon. I’d love to read your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

The finished illustration

The finished illustration

Comments

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 23, 2021:

The book is now available on Lulu for those who are interested. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 01, 2021:

Lora Hollings,

I was surprised by the ending too when I first read this story. I just had to include it in my alphabet book. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 01, 2021:

Devika Primić,

I do hope it is very worth the money for the book. I want the illustrations and the stories to be top-notch and desirable to have on the bookshelf for many years. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Lora Hollings on November 20, 2020:

This is such a good story, Denise. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the ending! Your illustration of the King of Crocodiles is superb. Thanks for sharing.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on November 20, 2020:

DDE,

I'm so glad you like my work. I hope they speak to children and encourage the children to read. That's what illustrations are for, to encourage the audience to read more about it. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on November 19, 2020:

Denise your illustrations are perfect and so clear. Always creative and most fascinating about the ideas you share to us. Tales do require an attractive appraoch to an audience. You deliver the best.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on November 16, 2020:

Eurofile,

I try to make the illustration inspire people to read the story, especially children. If I've accomplished that goal, I am happy. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on November 16, 2020:

Emge,

Your comment did get posted. I appreciate you making the effort. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on November 14, 2020:

MG Singh emge,

I congratulate you on getting this comment posted. It seems a very hard thing to do these days. I glad you like my fairy tale. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

MG Singh emge from Singapore on November 13, 2020:

Nice fairy tale, but I wonder if this comment will get posted

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on November 13, 2020:

Abby Slutsky wrote,

Loved the croc pic in this one. S sorry we can't leave comments now. I look forward to your fairytales.

Abby,

I look forward to sharing them as well. It is one of my greatest joys to get such lovely feedback from my friends.

Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on November 13, 2020:

Marie Flint wrote,

I really liked the florals you created on the crocodile's back. His crown is nice, too.

The story had a nice ending. Who would think there could be such a lush kingdom beneath the water and that any human could live there?

I continue to enjoy these little stories!

Marie,

I'm so happy you are such a faithful follower of my little stories. This was an unusual one, I admit. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on November 11, 2020:

RoadMonkey,

I'm happy you like my little fairy tales. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

RoadMonkey on November 11, 2020:

Another very enjoyable story and great illustrations.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on November 11, 2020:

Lorna Lamon,

When people say my work is so realistic, I am reminded that my professors at the art school said children's books should be less realistic and more simplistic. I so disagree with them. I'm doing it the way I like. Maybe that is why no publisher has picked up my book. I may never know.

Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on November 11, 2020:

Niks,

I'm so happy you liked this story. Have you ever heard it before? Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on November 11, 2020:

Liz Westwood,

I'm happy you think so. I really liked the ending although the thought of walking into a river with a crocodile creeps me out. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Lorna Lamon on November 11, 2020:

I enjoyed this wonderful tale with the perfect ending. Your illustrations are always so realistic and you manage to capture the scene so well. Another wonderful addition - it's hard to pick a favourite.

Niks from India on November 11, 2020:

Amazing illustrations and an intriguing story. Excellent narration with a magical climax.

Liz Westwood from UK on November 10, 2020:

This story really does have a fairy tale ending. Your excellent illustration does the tale justice.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on November 10, 2020:

Ann Carr,

You are so kind. I am proud of all the work I'm putting into this book and also proud to be able to share it with this writing community. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on November 10, 2020:

Rosina S Khan,

Yes. At first, it seems a terrible sacrifice but then it turns out very magical. I think it is a little like the Beauty and the Beast story where it feels like a terrible mistake until you find that the magic behind it makes everything work out in the end. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Ann Carr from SW England on November 10, 2020:

Great story and an unusual one! Love the decorated crocodile; it depicts his prosperous status. I wasn't surprised at the transformation into a prince because that's what fairy tales are often about!

I suppose these kind of stories were designed to teach people to honour their promises, as awful things always happened to them if they didn't. Gruesome but effective!

More lovely artistic work - I hope you're proud of all these wonderful pictures you create as well as the writing that goes with them.

I hope you're keeping safe and well, Denise.

Ann

Rosina S Khan on November 10, 2020:

I like this Indian fairy tale very much. I am glad the King of Crocodiles was magical and turned out to be a handsome prince underneath the river and took good care of the farmer's daughter. It is good that he even offered the girl's parents some land and a place to stay underneath the water, to which they agreed. As always, I loved the collage illustrations, Denise.

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