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The Story of the Vizir Who Was Punished, An Arab Folk 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 Vizir Who Was Punished, An Arab Fairy Tale

The Vizir Who Was Punished, An Arab Fairy Tale

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. 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 here is the twenty-second letter in the new book for the letter V.

“If you happen to read fairy tales, you will observe that one idea runs from one end of them to the other--the idea that peace and happiness can only exist on some condition. This idea, which is the core of ethics, is the core of the nursery-tales.”

— G.K. Chesterton

Thumbnail Roughs to choose from.

Thumbnail Roughs to choose from.

The Story of the Vizir Who Was Punished, An Arab Folk Tale

In ages past, there was a greedy and heartless king who had a son he loved. The prince loved to go hunting and the king could not refuse him, so he ordered his grand-vizir to always go with the prince and never to lose sight of him.

One day while the prince was hunting, a stag ran out on the path ahead of him, and thinking that the vizir was right behind him, the prince sped his horse on to chase the stag. He rode so long and hard that he found himself in a part of the wood he did not recognize and quite alone. Since he lost the stag he turned to find his way back but was hopelessly lost. While searching for the road home, the prince happened upon a beautiful young lady crying bitterly beside the path. The prince approached and asked who she was and why she was crying so. “I am the daughter of a great Indian king and I fell off my horse and he rode away. I am lost.”

The young prince had pity on the beautiful young princess and vowed to help. He took her on his horse and together they came upon a ruined old palace covered with vines. The princess slid off the horse and went inside. Curious, the prince followed her and heard her say to someone inside, “Rejoice my children; I have brought you a nice fat youth to eat.” Then other voices replied, “Bring him, bring him for we are hungry.”

Immediately the prince knew he was in danger and ran back to his horse and jumped on, for he realized the beautiful princess was really an ogress who lived in desolate places and devoured passers-by. Just and the prince turned his horse to leave the pretended princess appeared. She could see that she had lost her prey, so she said, “Do not be afraid. I will grant you one request.”

The prince said, “I am lost and need to find the road home.”

“Keep on this path,” the ogress said, “You will find it ahead.”

The prince rushed off as if the devil were on his heels, and just as the ogress said, the path did lead to the road and soon he was home at the palace. When he saw his father he told the king of all that had happened to him and his lucky escape.

The king was furious with the vizir for not being more diligent in watching his son and ordered him to appear. When the vizir presented himself he knew his life was hanging by a thread. “What do you have to say for yourself before I order your execution,” the king asked. Thinking quickly the vizir remembered that the king had recently been cured of stomach troubles by the physician, Douban. “My king, as my final act, I will warn you about your enemy who will soon kill you. You think the physician, Douban, has cured you but he is in reality slowly killing you with his potions.”

“This is not possible,” the king bellowed. Then as he got to thinking of how easy it would be to slowly poison him with the potions he had been taking, he thought better of it. “What should I do about this, grand-vizir?”

“You should have his head cut from his shoulders before another day passes so that he cannot fulfill his plan.”

“I think you are right,” the king said thoughtfully, and he called for the physician, Douban.

As the king executed the innocent physician, the vizir was happy because the king’s anger had turned on another and he had forgotten to be angry with the vizir.

Later when the king died and the prince became king, he did not forget the vizir and how he neglected to keep him safe. The new king had the vizir executed that same day.

Refined Thumbnail sketch

Refined Thumbnail sketch

Collage Illustrations

I looked through several photo references of boys, girls, castles, children on horses, and forest photos. In the end, I used a photo I had taken of a neighbor girl looking up. 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 felt this one needed only a slight green tint for grass.

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 Vizir Who Was Punished or The Story of the Vizir Who Was Punished. With only 3 more illustrations to do, I just may be finished with the whole book and ready to publish early in the new 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 two birds, a vizir in a robe, a hotdog, a man’s face lit by a lamp, and an avocado.

Color Composition

Color Composition

Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.

— David Frost

Final Thoughts

Did you like this story’s ending? There is much more to the story but this is the only part I thought would work for this book. Would you have ended it differently?

I hope you like my story and my fairy tale alphabet book idea. If you are interested you can purchase the first alphabet book on Lulu or Amazon.

UPDATE:

The FairyTale Alphabet Book 2 is not available on Lulu.

I’d love to read your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

The finished illustratiion

The finished illustratiion

Comments

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 04, 2021:

Bill Holland,

I shall carry on and do my best always. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 04, 2021:

Ankita B,

I agree. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 04, 2021:

RoadMonkey,

I felt the same way. I would have liked the Vizir to be punished right away and the doctor to be saved somehow. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 04, 2021:

Lora Hollings,

That little girl was such a good model. I told her to look up sideways and tilt her head and she did. Sometimes models (especially children) don't know how to pose for the camera. They are too wooden and stiff somehow. This girl was a joy to work with. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 04, 2021:

MG Singh emge,

I think there should be more literature for children that include more than just the culture they are growing up with. They need to see that there is a bigger world out there and they have fairy tales just like everyone else. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 04, 2021:

Linda Lum,

You make a good point. This one didn't portray as much of a moral as most fairy tales unless the moral is that your sins will find you out eventually. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 04, 2021:

Peggy Woods,

I don't know much about the youth who became king as much as all the other things the vizir did to deserve punishment. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 04, 2021:

Bill Holland,

It is an unexpected ending. I think I like the ones I don't expect best. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 04, 2021:

Nithya Venkat,

These stories are so much fun for me to illustrate. I enjoy fairy tales so much. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 04, 2021:

Rosina S Khan,

It seemed to me that the vizir had many warnings. The story is really very long but I only retold one small part of it. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 04, 2021:

Pamela Oglesby,

The original story is so very long and has many more twists and turns but the end is the same. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 04, 2021:

Eric Dierker,

I always hope to be entertaining so I'm happy you think it is pleasurable to read. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 07, 2021:

Always a pleasure, no matter the subject matter. This is such a wonderful series of stories and sketches. Carry on, my friend, and blessings always.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 06, 2021:

Linda Crampton,

I didn't think this one was too bad but the next one is really gruesome. It's a native folk tale from Australia but I didn't change it because it is what it is. A Native folk tale. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on January 06, 2021:

I love reading your folk tales from different parts of the world and looking at your illustrations. This story is quite gruesome, but like all the other stories that you share, it’s also interesting. Thank you for continuing the series.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 03, 2021:

Ankita B,

I think so too. Justice comes late sometimes, but eventually, it comes. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 03, 2021:

RoadMonkey,

I pity that poor doctor too. He didn't deserve the king's wrath as far as I could see, although I didn't read all the back story about that doctor. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 03, 2021:

Lora Hollings,

I added the bird just to fill the space but the girl should be looking up beyond the bird to the Prince on a horse. At least that is what I was thinking. I liked her pose though, so I used it. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 03, 2021:

emge,

I have loved finding folk tales and fairy tales from all over the world. Many I didn't know came from one country or another even though I had heard them before. It has been fun sharing them with you. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Ankita B on January 03, 2021:

I loved this story. Yes, the Vizir rightly deserved the punishment for what he did to the innocent physician. Beautiful and creative illustrations as always.

RoadMonkey on January 03, 2021:

That's an interesting story. The Vizir's punishment was delayed for a long time but it eventually arrived. Pity for the poor doctor though!

Lora Hollings on January 02, 2021:

I think the Vizir got what he deserved after what he did to the innocent physician. I really love the image of the girl looking at the bird. Beautifully done!

MG Singh emge from Singapore on January 02, 2021:

It's a nice story that is engrossing. Nice you pick up folk tails from all over the world.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 02, 2021:

Carb Diva,

You could be right. After 26 illustrations, I think I am putting more detail in than I was in the first 10. Oh, I hope that won't make the whole look inconsistent. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 02, 2021:

Peggy W,

That's a good question. The rest of the story I read involved more about the vizir and the doctor and the king. I don't know if the youth ever regretted his actions. That would be a good follow-up story. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 02, 2021:

billybuc,

I'm tickled you want to come along for the journey. Thanks for your inexhaustible encouragement and comments.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 02, 2021:

Vellur,

Thank you very much for reading and for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 02, 2021:

surovi99,

I'm glad you like my collage. I do have fun with them. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 02, 2021:

Pamela99,

Well, I think maybe the vizir deserved his demise but I hated that the doctor was executed too, especially since he was innocent. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 02, 2021:

Ericdierker,

Thank you, my friend. You are a true encourager. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on January 02, 2021:

I love the artwork (and the blue jay is the perfect pop of color in all the negative space), but can't say I'm enamored of the story. One would hope that a story would be written to convey a moral (like Aesop's Fables). Oh well, the artwork is wonderful. I think these more recent works of yours are more detailed. Simply amazing work.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on January 02, 2021:

Your artwork is beautiful as usual, and you possess real talent. I do not like the ending of this particular folktale. You indicated there was more to this story. Did the youth who became king ever regret his decisions?

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 02, 2021:

I always love your stories and artwork, and this time was no different. I'm not sure I liked the ending, but it's not terribly important for me to do so. I just enjoy the journey with you, and wish you a brilliantly Happy New Year!

Blessings always

bill

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on January 02, 2021:

Loved the story and the illustrations are wonderful! I enjoyed reading this.

Rosina S Khan on January 01, 2021:

The Vizir rightly deserved punishment but if his execution was right, it's hard to tell. He may have had a second chance with a warning. But I loved the story. The collage illustration is beautiful as always. Thank you for sharing, Denise.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on January 01, 2021:

This aricle is a plwasure to read, as Eric said. I am not sure about the ending, but I think it is probably good just the way it is written.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on January 01, 2021:

Just delightful as always Denise. Your articles are really pleasurable to read.

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