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The Lame Fox, a Serbian 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 Lame Fox collage illustratiion

The Lame Fox collage illustratiion

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 twelfth letter in the new book for the letter L.

“Fear isn't so difficult to understand. After all, weren't we all frightened as children? Nothing has changed since Little Red Riding Hood faced the big bad wolf. What frightens us today is exactly the same sort of thing that frightened us yesterday. It's just a different wolf. This fright complex is rooted in every individual.”

— Alfred Hitchcock

6 rough thumbnails for The Lame Fox

6 rough thumbnails for The Lame Fox

The Lame Fox, a Serbian Fairy Tale

There once was a strange man with one eye weeping and the other smiling. Out of curiosity one day, the man’s three sons asked him why one eye was weeping and the other smiling. He told them that on one hand, he was happy to have three sons but on the other hand, he was very sad because a special fruit vine he used to have in his garden had been stolen. Immediately, the three sons vowed to get it back for him.

At a certain crossroads, the three brothers, went different ways. Each brother met a lame fox along the way. The lame fox begged for bread and the first two brothers chased him off by throwing sticks and rocks at him. When the youngest son came upon the lame fox, he had pity on him and gave him his bread. In gratitude, the fox told the youngest son where to find the lost vine. He told the son to dig it up with a wooden shovel but when the son got to the place he found an iron shovel there and decided it would be stronger to dig up the vine. Unfortunately, the noise the iron shovel made woke the guards and the boy was caught.

His captors told him that they would give him the vine if he brought them a golden apple and then set him free. The boy went back to the lame fox and asked where he could find golden apples. The fox told him where to find it but told him to use a wooden pole to get it. When the boy got to the apple tree, he found a golden pole there and decided it would be better than a wooden one, but the noise it made woke the guards and the boy was caught. They told him they would let him have an apple if he could bring them a horse that could circle the world in one day. When he got back to the fox, he told the boy where to find such a horse but told him to use a hemp halter on the horse instead of a golden one. When the boy found the horse, he discovered that there was a beautiful golden halter there and he decided it would be nicer than the plain hemp halter. Again the golden halter woke the guards and they captured the boy. They told him that if he could bring them a golden maiden who never saw the sun or moon, they would let him have the horse. He persuaded the guards to let him borrow the horse to get the maiden and he set out.

The fox then showed him the cave where the maiden was found. When he brought her out to the horse, the fox said it was a shame he had to give her to the guards, so the fox changed himself into a look-alike of the golden maiden. He gave the fox in exchange for the horse, gave the horse in exchange for the apple, gave the apple in exchange for his father’s stolen vine, and went home with the real golden maiden and they married.

The thumbnail sketch

The thumbnail sketch

Collage Illustrations

I looked through several photo references of boys and foxes. In the end, I used a good stock photo I had found in Pixabay of a fox and a photo I had taken of a boy. Using the close up of the fox meant I didn’t have to force the lame look. 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.

Value Sketch

Value Sketch

Fairy tales help us earth-bound people to be able to soar to the stars on the wings of imagination.

— Denise McGill

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 Lame Fox or the Man with a Weeping Eye. 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 hotdog, a red fire engine, a bottle of ketchup, a bird, a redheaded princess, pumpkins in the boy’s cheeks, Jack Frost, and a black castle.

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

Finished collage

Finished collage

Final Thoughts

Did you like this story’s ending? I thought the boy probably should have taken the fox’s advice more often. He got into trouble several times but I had to cut some of that out of the story or it would be too long.

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 September 23, 2020:

Devika Primić,

Yes, I guess it is right next door to you, almost. I'm glad you like my illustrations. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 23, 2020:

Demas W Jasper,

I had to laugh. Yes, that's my voice. I sound like a little kid, don't I? I always have. In my 30's I worked for a radio station announcing the Saturday children's programming: "Good morning, kids. It's time for Adventures in Odyssey!" You can imagine. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on September 23, 2020:

Denise interesting to know of and Serbia is 8 hours from Croatia. I like the fairytale and illustrations are well formed.

Demas W Jasper from Today's America and The World Beyond on September 23, 2020:

What an adventure I have just enjoyed while reading and watching this piece of your creations here! I must make the time to read your other recent shareings. Is the voice on the video really your own? If so, you are maintaining your youthfulness!.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 22, 2020:

Mary Norton,

Yes, I use all sorts of photos hidden in these illustrations. That's the fun part. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on September 22, 2020:

Beautiful story, and as always, I love your collages. It is interesting what you find when you look closer at them.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 22, 2020:

Linda Crampton,

Yes, I love the coloring of foxes. The thing I have found about collages is that if the "value" is right then the color could be almost anything. That's how it is so easy to "hide" pictures in the image and people actually have trouble finding them unless they are looking specifically for them. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 22, 2020:

Abby Slutsky,

It's hard to pick a favorite, isn't it? I love them all. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 21, 2020:

RoadMonkey,

That is what fairy tales are all about. There is always a lesson and a moral that should help if you take the time to learn it. It isn't just children, as you know. Grown people often miss the wisdom that is right in front of them to go their own way. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 21, 2020:

Nithya Venkat,

Thank you so much for watching my video and reading the story. It is one of my favorite things: to share fairy tales. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 21, 2020:

Marie Flint,

Absolutely, that's what I think too. Fairy tales never grow old or tiresome. Thanks. I'd like to see your lithographs. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 21, 2020:

Peggy Woods,

I'm hoping this is the kind of story where children can see the obvious and learn from the boy's mistakes. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 21, 2020:

James C Moore,

Yes, he should have. It seems to me if the advice was good twice and I didn't take it, the third time I'm a fool if I don't follow it. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on September 19, 2020:

You've shared another interesting fairy tale, Denise. The fox certainly looks crafty in your collage! I like his appearance in the color composition, too.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 19, 2020:

Bill Holland,

I'm thinking it is about being in a different time zone that Lorna beats you or maybe she is just the early bird after the worm. I'm so tickled that you look forward to my series. You can't imagine what it does for my meager ego. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 19, 2020:

Lorna Lamon,

Foxes are such beautiful creatures, aren't they? I love their coloring and long thin nose. How fun of you to be close enough to see them in the woods from time to time. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 19, 2020:

Ankita B,

I'm glad you liked this story. I enjoyed doing the illustration for it. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 19, 2020:

Rosina S Khan,

It has a good moral too. I appreciate that. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 19, 2020:

Eric Dierker,

Do you think it's one of those things where someone with a disability relies on and strengthens his/her mind and other faculties to survive? I think the lame fox was certainly the wisest of all. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Abby Slutsky from America on September 19, 2020:

This might be my favorite one. Thank you for sharing. As always, these are a pleasure to read.

RoadMonkey on September 19, 2020:

This is a strange story, again one I had not heard of previously. You would think that when the boy found out the fox was right, he would start following the fox's instructions! But then of course, he would not have found the golden maiden.I find myself frustrated at the boy deciding to go his own way every time but then, maybe that's the same as being at the pantomime and one of the characters looking for someone else who is behind them but no matter how much the audience shouts, "He is behind you!", the character always turns the wrong way and of course fails to find what he is looking for. I find that frustrating too. Maybe there is a life lesson there in that many of us constantly go "my way", instead of listening to wisdom and then of course, fall down a pit or totally lose our way.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on September 19, 2020:

I loved the story and the collage illustrations are amazing. The boy should have listened to the fox. I enjoyed reading this story and seeing the video, a visual treat! Thank you for sharing.

Marie Flint from Jacksonville, FL USA on September 19, 2020:

I remember this story plot. Symbolically, the poorer things teach us something about humility. Had the boy listened to the fox in the beginning, the story would have been much shorter-- much, much shorter!

I have a rather humongous article I haven't published yet. I decided to share the lithographs from an antique book of Grimm's Fairy Tales. The book stays on the farm in Michigan. Maybe I'll get around to publishing some variation of the article this month. It might give you a little inspiration for illustrations, Denise.

Fairy tales never grow old.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 19, 2020:

I would have thought the boy would have learned his lesson earlier and not keep on making those mistakes. I guess as a fairy tale; people can learn from that also—beautiful artwork from you, as usual.

James C Moore from The Great Midwest on September 19, 2020:

Beautiful story. But, the son really should've listened to the fox after being captured twice. Good creative concept you have here.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 19, 2020:

There are really only a couple series on HP that I look forward to. Yours is one of them. Always excellent work in two mediums, which is remarkable for sure. And how the heck does Lorna manage to comment first on every hub I read this morning? lol

Happy Weekend, my friend!

bill

Lorna Lamon on September 19, 2020:

I enjoyed this tale, even though the boy did not learn from his mistakes, the fox was loyal to the end. I love foxes and often see them in the woodlands when I go walking. An interesting tale with beautiful illustrations.

Ankita B on September 19, 2020:

Beautiful story. Yes the boy should have listened to the fox more often. Thank you for sharing this wonderful tale along with the lovely illustrations.

Rosina S Khan on September 18, 2020:

This is a lovely tale, Denise. I liked the ending too. I do like your collage illustrations as well. Good article.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 18, 2020:

Beautiful. I celebrated this. The Serbians and Kosovo ratified a new peaceful solution today. Praise good people that made it happen. The man that won the award for giving peace a chance was my President. Praise the United States.

Perhaps a lame fox is the wisest of all foxes.