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Almondseed, A Greek Fairy Tale

Updated on June 19, 2020
PAINTDRIPS profile image

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.

A is for Almondseed, a Greek Fairy Tale
A is for Almondseed, a Greek Fairy Tale | Source

The Alphabet Book

As many of you know by now, I wrote 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. Unfortunately, Amazon refused to carry a book with the illustrations stretching across two pages. Many children’s books have illustrations that stretch across the double-page spread, right? I’ve seen them, you’ve seen them and probably even have a few on your bookshelf, if not now, at one time or another.

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

— Neil Gaiman, Coraline
My Thumbnail possibilities for this illustration.  Oops, did you see I labeled these Appleseed instead of Almondseed?  My bad.
My Thumbnail possibilities for this illustration. Oops, did you see I labeled these Appleseed instead of Almondseed? My bad. | Source

Self-Publishing

My solution was to realize that Amazon isn’t the only self-publishing company available 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.

After I got it published I decided that there were a lot more fairy tales out there and I could make a whole series using global fairy tales and folk tales. Thus the birth 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 first in the new book for the letter A.

The chosen thumbnail drawing with the collaged A.
The chosen thumbnail drawing with the collaged A. | Source

Almondseed, A Greek Fairy Tale

A very poor boy named Almondseed, was walking through the market one day. He happened to walk past the weaver’s booth and saw a black hen tied there. As he walked on he heard a woman calling for her lost black hen. Almondseed was very hungry and thought that if he pretended to be a seer and told the woman where her hen could be found she may feed him. So he told her he could see things far and near and pretending to read an invisible book, he told her that her hen was tied to the weaver’s booth. The grateful woman gave him two meat pies.

After this he was often paid to pretend to see the future and tell people where missing things could be found. Servants of the king heard about the boy’s unusual skill and came to him to ask if the queen was to have a girl or a boy child. Almondseed opened his invisible book and muttered, “boy, girl, boy, girl…” until finally the king’s servants got tired and left. Later the queen had twins, a boy and a girl. The servants told the king what the young seer had said and the king sent for him.

Earlier the king’s treasure box had been stolen and he wanted the seer to tell him where the box may be found. The king put Almondseed in a room made up special for him. He told the king it may take several days to see the treasure and so the king left him. “This is the first,” Almondseed said, meaning it was the first night. However, one of the three thieves was listening at the door and thought Almondseed could see him through the door. Startled the thief ran back to his fellow thieves and told them what he heard. On the second night, the second thief listened at the door of Almondseed and heard him say, “The second has come.” Almondseed meant it was the second night but the thief was sure he meant him and ran back to the others. The third thief now was sure the seer had found them out and convinced the others to go to him and confess, begging for mercy. They showed Almondseed where the treasure was hidden and he then presented it to the king.

The king was happy to have his treasure back but was still not sure Almondseed was a real seer so he asked him to walk with him in the garden. As they walked, the king reached up and picked an almond from a tree without letting the seer see him. He then asked what he had in his hand. Instead of answering, Almondseed opened his invisible book and said, “I am Almondseed…” The king was amazed and thought he answered correctly, so the king rewarded him with bags of gold.

The value sketch
The value sketch | Source

The most beautiful things in the world must be felt with the heart.

— Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Collage Illustrations

I looked through several photo references of boys for this illustration. I hope you enjoy seeing my progress on the collage. I felt like the branch filled with ripe almonds was essential to the story even though he didn’t do any “reading” next to the almond branches.

Will Be Published with Lulu

I was especially drawn to this one as I had a great uncle by the name of Almond. I always thought it was unusual but now I think maybe he was the hero of his own fairy tale.

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 Almondseed and Almondella.

The Color Composition for Almondseed
The Color Composition for Almondseed | Source

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

— Charles Dickens

Did You Notice

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. In Almondseed’s hair is a beaver and bird in flight. On his face, you can see an angel with trumpet if you look hard. On his shirt, you will find the face of a black girl, and a cowboy with cows.

The finished illustration for the book
The finished illustration for the book | Source

Final Thoughts

Did you like this story’s ending? I found it to be different from the usual “married and live happily ever after” endings.

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

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    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      12 months ago from Fresno CA

      Peggy Woods,

      He certainly was very clever to come up with the reading the future bit to get food. And lucky it came true. This one made me laugh when I first read it. I'm glad you like it too. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      12 months ago from Houston, Texas

      I am enjoying reading these fairy tales. This tale is another of which I was unfamiliar. I would have to say that Almondseed was a lucky boy.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      13 months ago from Fresno CA

      Inspiredbro,

      I'm glad you thought so. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Inspiredbro profile image

      Inspiredbro 

      13 months ago

      Very nice story.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      13 months ago from Fresno CA

      Devika Primić,

      I'm glad you find these enjoyable. I always loved reading fairy tales to my little sisters and brother when I was a kid and even know I'm keeping up the tradition with my grandkids. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      13 months ago from Fresno CA

      William Kovacic,

      You think so? I loved it myself. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      13 months ago from Fresno CA

      Nithya Venkat,

      I'm very happy you think so. I try not to be boring with my collage videos but I find it fascinating and was hoping everyone did too. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      13 months ago from Fresno CA

      Linda Crampton,

      Oh good. I'm building anticipation. That's a good thing. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      13 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Denise you have created another creative hub! This is amazing! The illustrations and tales complied are interesting, entertaining and most welcomed for any age. I find it enjoyable.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      13 months ago from Fresno CA

      Mary Norton,

      Thank you so much. It makes some pretty nice gifts for my grandchildren, even if I never sell a book. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      13 months ago from Fresno CA

      Marie Flint,

      Very cool, Marie. I never would have thought of looking up the translation. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      13 months ago from Fresno CA

      DreamerMeg,

      Awesome! I just learned a new slang word. I'll have to remember that. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      13 months ago from Fresno CA

      peachy,

      I actually have 28 craft books already published and 7 coloring books, but this is the first fully illustrated children's book and now I'm working on number two. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      13 months ago from Fresno CA

      Bill Holland,

      Yes, indeed. Does the publishing world have a sunset? I'm riding anyway. I'm having too much fun not to. Thanks for commenting as always.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      13 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      What a fun story for book 2. Congratulations, Denise!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      13 months ago from Dubai

      I love the story and the fairy tale alphabet book idea, kids will love this book. I enjoyed watching the collage video; it is amazing how you make the picture come alive with your collage.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      13 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a lovely story that I've never heard before. Of course, your illustrations are lovely, too. I'm glad you are sharing some more fairy tales. I'm going to enjoy reading them and looking at your pictures.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      13 months ago from Fresno CA

      Eric Dierker,

      I'm very happy that you enjoy these. Did you like the end? I did. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      13 months ago from Fresno CA

      Lorna Lamon,

      I had to draw a lot of hands to get those just right. I'm glad you like them. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      13 months ago from Fresno CA

      Liz Westwood,

      I sure try to represent the whole world. Sometimes it's hard to find the right fairy tale for each country. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      13 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      It is great that you are combining so well your art and writing and this children's book is a great idea. It is a beautiful story. I wish you all the success.

    • Marie Flint profile image

      Marie Flint 

      13 months ago from Jacksonville, FL USA

      I checked the translation app for Almond seed. In Greek it's Σπόρος αμυγδάλου, pronounced Spóros amygdálou.

      I'm pleased as always, Denise. Beautiful, imaginative work.

    • DreamerMeg profile image

      DreamerMeg 

      13 months ago from Northern Ireland

      Some people are also very lucky. Almondseed was what in this part of the world is called "jammy", meaning very lucky.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 

      13 months ago from Home Sweet Home

      wow, that was an amazing way to publish your first book.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      13 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I love that you've started another book. Well done! Back on that horse and rise into the publishing sunset, my friend.

      Blessings always

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Another wonderful tale and article. I just really enjoy these.

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      13 months ago

      A slightly different tale which was equally as enchanting. The pose of the child with hands open almost looks as if he is giving thanks to the branch of almonds. The images just add to the beauty of the picture. Lovely.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      13 months ago from UK

      This is a lovely tale. Your collage is great. I like the images you have incorporated in it. You really are travelling around the world with your tales.

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