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The Ill-Fated Princess, A Greek 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.

Illustration for The Ill-Fated Princes, A Greek Fairy Tale

Illustration for The Ill-Fated Princes, A Greek Fairy Tale

The FairyTale Alphabet Book

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 ninth letter in the new book for the letter I.

I love fairy tales because I think that behind fairy tales, there is always a meaning.

— Monica Bellucci

Rough thumbnail possibilities for the illustration

Rough thumbnail possibilities for the illustration

The Ill-Fated Princess, A Greek Fairy Tale

Long ago there was a queen with three beautiful daughters. Somehow the queen was not able to get husbands for any of them, no matter the dowry or beauty creams that were used. It happened one day that a beggar woman who had the gift of insight happened by. The queen begged her to tell her what was wrong with her daughters that she wasn’t able to find them husbands. The gifted beggar woman said that one of the daughters must be plagued by an ill Fate that kept the others from marrying also. She told the queen to wait till late at night and tip-toe into their rooms to observe them sleeping. The daughter who slept with her hands in her lap must be the ill-fated one.

That night, the queen did as she was directed and found it was the youngest daughter who was ill-Fated. When the youngest daughter found out that the troubles of all were because of her, she sewed the money from her dowry into the hem of her dress and left the palace. The others pleaded with her not to go but she was determined to bring them no more trouble and she left.

At first, she stayed in the village with a cloth dealer, but it was soon evident that she was ill-Fated when the cloth in the shop began to tear apart. She felt very bad for the cloth dealer and his wife, so she paid them for the damage from her dowry and left them.

The princess traveled a long way to a different village in hopes that she could leave her troubles behind her. She stayed with a glassmaker and his family but her Fate came with her and the glass began to be smashed in the night. She gifted them from the dowry in the hem of her dress and left them too.

By this time she came upon a neighboring kingdom and asked to be of service to the queen. It wasn’t long before the queen discovered an evil Fate came with her but she kept her on. The queen told her that she must change her fate by taking a fresh-made loaf of bread to a nearby mountain to offer the evil Fate. The girl baked the bread with her own hands and took the fresh loaf to the mountain and refused to leave until her ill-Fate took the bread. At first, the Fate resisted, even when the other fates argued with her. In time the ill-Fate gave in, and in exchange gave the girl silk thread. She told her to only sell it for its weight in gold.

The princess was overjoyed that she had appeased the ill-Fate. She went back to the wise queen just in time to hear that a neighboring king was searching the country for a quantity of silk thread that was missing to sew his new bride’s dress. Right away, the princess took the silk given her by the ill-Fate to see if it was what he needed. The princess told the young king she could only accept its weight in gold but no matter how much gold was put on the scale it would not even out until finally the king himself stepped onto the scale and it balanced. The king knew this meant he was fated to marry the princess and so he did.

Refined thumbnail sketch

Refined thumbnail sketch

Collage Illustrations

I looked through several photo references of girls, bread, and a cave for this illustration. In the end, I ended up using a good photo I had taken of a local girl and a loaf of bread. 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 didn’t need anything more added.

Value sketch

Value sketch

Happiness is like those palaces in fairy tales whose gates are guarded by dragons: we must fight in order to conquer it.

— Alexandre Dumas

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 Ill-Fated Princess. I expect to be finished with the whole book and ready to publish by July next 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 a cartoon devil, three ears of corn, a sad puppy with his hat on backward, a picnic basket, a house, children swimming, a hot dog, and in the girl’s hair is a woman holding her child on her hip and a chair.

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 loved how she sacrificed her happiness for the sake of her sisters and later worked with her own hands to change her fate.

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

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 31, 2020:

Mary Norton,

I'm so happy you like it. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 31, 2020:

Prithviraj Shirole,

I agree. It is a good story of self-sacrifice and hope. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 30, 2020:

Devika Primić,

It is fun for me to remember where I started and where I am now. I was originally just going to use fairy tales I was familiar with--my favorites. But I soon ran out of letters of the alphabet and started researching for me and then I ended up seeing fairy tales from around the world, and I was hooked. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 29, 2020:

Linda Crampton,

She was self-sacrificing and I think that helped in the Fate lifting her bad fortune. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 29, 2020:

Abby Slutsky,

Me too, but then I never grew up, so I still love to read stories like this. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 29, 2020:

Jane Adaeze,

Thank you. I'm so pleased you like it. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

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

Peggy Woods,

I admit I have so much fun searching through magazines and things looking for little pictures I can hide in these collages. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

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

Marie Flint,

Our minds must work the same. I thought the same thing as I was first reading this. She must have had a momentary reprieve to have been able to make this bread with her own hands. Or maybe the Fate wanted a good offering even if she acted like she didn't want to accept it at first. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

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

Bill Holland,

I hope it is a rare gem among the sea of flotsam and jetsam or it may never get noticed. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

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

Eric Dierker,

Yes, she turned out to be a good Fate after all. Or maybe it was just that she appeased the Fate so she changed her fortune. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

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

Ankita B,

I'm so happy you liked my work. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

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

Lorna Lamon,

I am blessed with so many gracious fans of my work. It means so much to me. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

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

Umesh Chandra Bhatt,

I hope you DID find it interesting. These stories are new to me, until I researched them and decided they would work for my alphabet book, that is. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

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

John Hansen,

I'm glad you found it delightful. I liked it too. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on August 27, 2020:

I love the story especially the ending. Your collage is so well done and beautiful.

Prithviraj Shirole from India on August 27, 2020:

A very kind story teaching value of sacrifice. It also has a very good message of not to lose hope. Thanks for a wonderful read.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on August 27, 2020:

Denise You share the most entertaining fairy tales. Most of these tales I have not heard of and it is interesting to see how your illustrations fit in so well.. Your talent is unique in illustrations. I enjoyed reading a unique fairy tale.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on August 26, 2020:

I love the fact that you share stories that I've never heard before. It was so kind of the youngest princess to protect her sisters and the people that she met from the evil Fate.

Abby Slutsky from America on August 26, 2020:

This was my favorite one so far. it was a delightful story. I used to love to read stories like this when I was younger.

Jane Adaeze from Aba,Abia State on August 26, 2020:

Beautiful

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 26, 2020:

I enjoyed this story. The self-sacrificing of the princess turned out well at the end of the story. I love seeing the hidden images in your collages.

Marie Flint from Jacksonville, FL USA on August 26, 2020:

I'm glad the bread didn't fall before she got it baked! That would be ill fate indeed.

As always, I love these little stories. You're doing a great job!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 26, 2020:

This really is such a creative idea for a book. Unique I would venture to guess, a rare diamond among a sea of coal. Well done, you, and blessings always!

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 26, 2020:

A happy collage - at least to me. My me think that if not for the ill fate the heroin would never have married a king.

Ankita B on August 26, 2020:

Wonderful story Denise. The illustrations are beautiful too. I loved it.

Lorna Lamon on August 26, 2020:

I love a happy ending and this one did not disappoint. I also enjoyed seeing how the collage came together with all its hidden gems. Always a joy to read Denise, and your artwork is amazing.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on August 25, 2020:

Very interesting. Well presented.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on August 25, 2020:

This was a delightful fairytale, Denise. Your collage Illustration is excellent as always.