Bawang Merah and Bawang Putih, An Indonesian Fairy Tale
The FairyTale 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.
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, available only on Lulu.
After I danced in my success, 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 second in the new book for the letter B.
You’re entirely bonkers, but I’ll tell you a secret, all the best people are.— -Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Bawang Merah and Bawang Putih, An Indonesian Fairy Tale
Bawang Merah and her widowed mother lived in a village with Bawang Putih, the stepsister. Bawang Merah means red onion and Bawang Putih means white garlic. The girls were of opposite character. Bawang Merah was lazy and proud while Bawang Putih was kind and honest and hardworking. Her mother gave Bawang Merah everything she wanted while Bawang Putih did all the chores and housework but she never complained.
One day while cleaning the clothes by the river, one of Bawang Putih’s stepmother’s best clothes was swept away by the fast-moving water. Knowing she would be punished if she went home without the cloth, Bawang Putih followed the river asking everyone she met if they had seen the cloth. On and on she walked until finally the river disappeared inside a cave and there at the entrance was an old woman. Bawang Putih asked the old woman if she had seen her stepmother’s cloth and the old woman said she had. The old woman said she would give her the cloth if the girl would do her chores for her. Bawang Putih was used to hard work by now and so she fetched water and cleaned the cave for the old woman. By the time she had finished, it was getting late in the afternoon. The old woman gave her the missing cloth and then asked her to choose which pumpkin she would like to have as payment for the chores. There was a big pumpkin and a small pumpkin, and not being greedy, Bawang Putih chose the small pumpkin and headed home.
When she arrived home, her stepmother and stepsister were very angry that she has been gone so long and their dinner had not been prepared. Bawang Putih told them the whole story and how the old woman gave her a pumpkin for the chores she did. Her stepmother was so angry she took the pumpkin smashed it on the floor. But inside, the pumpkin was filled with gold and jewels. They are very surprised but thought right away how stupid Bawang Putih was for taking the small pumpkin. The larger one would have had twice as many jewels.
The next day, the greedy Bawang Merah did what her stepsister had done. She let her mother’s cloth drift away in the river and followed it downstream until she found the old woman by the cave. However, when the old woman asked Bawang Merah to do chores, she angrily refused and demanded the large pumpkin. The old woman gave it and Bawang Merah happily brought it home to her mother. When they smashed it, they found it was not filled with gold and jewels. The pumpkin was filled with snakes.
Good character is rewarded and bad character is not.
I looked through several photo references of girls for this illustration. In the end, I ended up using a good photo of a boy balancing on a tree limb to get the angle I wanted for the girl in the stream. I hope you enjoy seeing my progress on the collage. I felt like the stream played an important role in the story so I included it and collaged it separate from the girl.
“When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.”— Albert Einstein
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 Bawang Merah and Bawang Putih. I expect to be finished and ready to publish by July next year.
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. You should find a Saxophone player and a toddler playing in the rocks, and a Chat Noir poster in the basket of clothes.
“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
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.