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Trouble When You’re Young, a Portuguese 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.

Trouble When You're Young, A Portuguese Fairy Tale

Trouble When You're Young, A Portuguese 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-fifth letter in the new book for the letter Y.

Thumbnail Roughs

Thumbnail Roughs

Trouble When You’re Young, a Portuguese Fairy Tale

There once was a beautiful maiden betrothed to marry a prince whom she had never seen. Someday when he was old enough to rule his kingdom with him, the prince was coming to claim her as his bride.

The girl lived in a beautiful palace but her favorite thing to do was to walk among the flowers in her fragrant garden. One day a great eagle landed atop the tallest tree in the garden.

“Good morning, fair princess. You have been kind and good, and it is within my power to grant you trouble when you are young or trouble when you are old. You must choose,” the eagle said to her.

The princess was very surprised since she had never spoken to an eagle before and didn’t know which to choose, so she ran into the palace. That night she asked her mother if she were to choose trouble when she was young or trouble when she was old, which would she choose? Her mother thought and finally said, “I would choose trouble when I was young, dear child because when you are young things are easier to bear, but when you are old the tiniest troubles are very hard.”

The next day, while she was walking in her garden, the eagle came again and asked her to choose again. Remembering her mother’s words, she said, “Trouble when I’m young.”

The dear girl had hardly said the words when the eagle swooped down and carried her off by her pretty pink skirt. He flew over mountains and meadows, rivers and seas, all the while the girl feared he would drop her to her death. Finally, the eagle set her down in a strange land where she knew no one. She was hungry and alone and since she had no money, she asked for work at the baker’s shop. All the time, she could see the eagle was watching her from a nearby treetop.

One day the baker left the shop, telling her to bake the bread when it was ready. As soon as he was gone, the eagle flew into the window and upturned the bread trays, spilled all the flour barrels, and broke all the dishes. When the baker returned and saw all the damage he beat the girl and threw her out into the street.

The poor girl walked about the city looking for work and finally found work with the potter at the far end of the city. One day the potter went away leaving her in charge of the shop. This time she closed the door and all the windows so the eagle wouldn’t come in like last time, but the eagle flew down the chimney and broke the cups and saucers, plates and pitchers, and all the beautiful things on the shelves that were for sale. Then the bird flew back up the chimney as the owner returned. “What have you done to my shop,” the potter raged. Without waiting to hear her explanation, he beat the girl and threw her into the street.

The unhappy girl walked the streets looking for more work when at last she came to a royal palace. There she asked if they needed a servant. The porter was about to turn her away when the prince happened by and saw how very sad she looked and told the porter to hire her to look after the ducks.

The next day all the ducks in the duck yard were dead because of the eagle. But the prince didn’t want to see her go without work so he told the servants to hire her as a seamstress. That day the good prince was leaving to see his betrothed in a neighboring land whom he had never met. Before leaving he asked each of his servants what gifts they would like him to bring when he returned. When he asked the princess she only asked for a stone from the palace garden. This seemed an odd request but he promised to bring it.

When the prince arrived at the palace of his betrothed, he found everyone in mourning because the girl had disappeared while walking in her garden. The prince was very sad and stayed only long enough to buy all the gifts he had promised to bring his servants as well and get a stone from the palace garden for the little seamstress.

When the girl received her gift and heard the story of the sadness in the bride’s palace because of her disappearance, she knew she was the prince’s bride. The stone in her hand made her very happy and she knew it wasn’t something the eagle could destroy. For the first time, the prince noticed how lovely she was because she smiled. He thought she was sweet when she was sad but now that she was happy, he thought he had never seen anyone more beautiful.

Because the prince was curious how a simple stone could make the girl so very happy, he followed her to her room and listened at the door as she spoke to the stone.

“Oh, dear stone from my garden path, how are all the flowers in my garden growing?” she asked the stone. Slowly the prince guessed who she must be. He burst into her room and said, “Are you my betrothed who has disappeared from her own land?”

The girl merely smiled. Once she had told her story the prince promised that her troubles were over now and happiness was the blessing of the rest of her life. They soon married.

Thumbnail Refined

Thumbnail Refined

Collage Illustrations

I looked through several photo references of girls, ducks, eagles, and boys. I knew I wanted to focus on the princess so I picked girls looking for just the right pose. In the end, I used a photo pose of a sad girl from Pixabay as well as some ducks and an eagle. 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 the ground.

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 Trouble When One is Young. With only 1 more illustration to do, I just may be finished with the whole book and ready to publish by the end of January.

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 ballerina, two dried leaves, a bottle of sauce, a teddy bear, a woman’s face, and a boy’s face.

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? I’ve heard this one before with a slightly different twist. I believe this is the fairy tale used as the theme for “All This And Heaven Too” the 1940 movie with Bette Davis.

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 now available on Lulu.

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

Finished illustration

Finished illustration

Comments

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 21, 2021:

Linda Crampton,

The ducks were fun to create. I'm glad I included them. I was torn as to whether to choose the design with just the girl's face and no eagle or ducks but in the end, I liked the ducks. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 21, 2021:

RoadMonkey,

I agree that the mother was very wise. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 21, 2021:

Carb Diva,

I do a lot of research, mostly online and following some obscure blogs. It's fun to find them. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 21, 2021:

aesta,

I like this one too. I'll be publishing soon. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 21, 2021:

DDE,

I'll be so happy when I can announce that it is published. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 21, 2021:

billybuc,

Yes, you did choose trouble when you were young. This story reminds me of you. And I'm so glad you have peace and happiness now. I decided to dedicate this book to you and a couple others who are faithful supporters. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 21, 2021:

annart,

Someone was saying that trouble when you are young develops your character and makes a person more sympathetic and kind when they are old. I like that thinking. It makes sense to me. Yes, my work takes a lot of time. I spend about 4 to 8 on each collage after all the planning and designing. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 21, 2021:

surovi99,

Thank you so much for being such a faithful reader.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 21, 2021:

Pamela99,

I love a happy ending. It makes me a child, I guess, but I can't help it. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 21, 2021:

Ericdierker,

Thanks. I spent the day going over the text again and editing. I spent about 8 hours putting all the pages and illustrations together for the book and I'll be ready to publish soon. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 21, 2021:

Peggy W,

I'm glad you like it. I was recently trying to choose which illustration to use for the book cover. I thought about this one but decided against it only because she is so sad. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 21, 2021:

Eurofile,

I'm happy you think so. I think I like this story a lot too. It's one of my favorites. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on January 20, 2021:

I liked the ending of the story very much. I love the ducks in your illustration.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 19, 2021:

Eurofile,

I thought it was sad about the ducks but liked the happy ending too. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

RoadMonkey on January 19, 2021:

Another great story. The princess's mother was wise. Better trouble when you are young and able to overcome it.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on January 19, 2021:

An enchanted princess and enchanting illustration. If she had made the other choice, I wonder how her life would have been? I hate to think of it, perhaps losing her prince, or losing a child?

Where do you find these tales? Each week you present a story I've never heard. Thank you (BTW I love the ducks).

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on January 19, 2021:

What a beautiful story and illustration. I enjoyed the message very much.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on January 19, 2021:

Hi Denise I enjoy that you share your wonderful illustrations and so many different fairy tales. Your talent is amazing!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 19, 2021:

I chose young over old, and I'm happy for it. There were important lessons I had to learn so I could be happy in my senior years. Like the fairy tale, it all worked out for me. As always, your work inspires me and fills me with awe.

Blessings always

bill

Ann Carr from SW England on January 19, 2021:

Fairy Tales usually seem to require some unhappiness and test of character before they pan out to a happy ending (though not always). I was glad she finally met her betrothed who thankfully turned out to be a good man. Can't help but wonder why she had to go through all that though! Maybe to find out that he was indeed good, before she married him.

Your illustrations never cease to delight and I always think about the time they must take you, not just to construct but to plan.

Lovely!

Ann

Rosina S Khan on January 18, 2021:

The happy ending of the fairy tale boosted my spirits. As always, I loved the collage illustration. It is beautiful. I loved your quotes as well. Thank you for the wonderful share, Denise.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on January 18, 2021:

I like the happy ending of this story. I thik the illustrations are good as well.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on January 18, 2021:

Wonderful, I was enchanted. Your art is a beautiful as ever. Thank you.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on January 18, 2021:

I enjoyed the ending of this fairy tale, and as always, your collage art is superb.

Liz Westwood from UK on January 18, 2021:

This is a lovely tale with a real happy ever after ending. You have paired it with a great illustration.